Richard Castle – Naked Heat (2010)
In Heat Wave, New York City was in the grips of a blistering hot spell; in Naked Heat, it’s a garbage strike. The book opens with the gruesome death of Cassidy Towne, a famed and particularly unloved celebrity gossip columnist, and becomes ever more complicated with the seemingly unrelated murders of two men. In pursuit of their killers and navigating the piles of rubbish (both literal and figurative) with characteristic grit and smarts is detective Nikki Heat and her partners Raley and Ochoa. They are joined by journalist Jameson Rook, whose involvement with the case means reopening the book on his past involvement with Nikki…much to her dismay. The sexual tension and humourous banter between these two are easily lapped up by the reader (even if you don’t watch the TV show “Castle”) and are effortlessly interjected within a fast-paced plot with multiple turns. While the ending wasn’t a particular surprise, it wasn’t so tidy as to seem cliched. Although I preferred the plotline of Heat Wave, Naked Heat is nevertheless a highly entertaining breeze of a read…and it’s a rather good commentary on the whole celebrity cachet: the stalkers, the paparazzi, the personal price of money and fame.