Castle Book Club: Heat Rises Chapters 1-5

Welcome back to the Castle Summer Book Club! This week, we’re starting Heat Rises, the third Nikki Heat book, with chapters one through five.

This novel’s main mystery has all the sensational aspects a Richard Castle fan could hope for – a priest! Strippers! Sex clubs! I’m genuinely eager to find out what the connection ends up being between these elements, because the “priest living a scandalous secret life” idea seems so obvious that it must not be true. I thought the book did a good job of acknowledging sexual abuse by priests – it would be ridiculous not to have that come up as a possibility, in contemporary New York – but not implying or assuming that all priests are evil. The plots seem to be becoming a bit more nuanced as the series progresses, so we’ll see how this winds up.

One thing I really noticed in this book so far, even more than in the earlier ones, is that we see other detectives a lot more often than we do in the show. On Castle, we rarely spend much time with any members of the force other than our main three and the Captain. Of course, this is partially for practical reasons – actors are expensive, and book characters don’t demand individual salaries. It’s a nice touch in the novels, though, as it both expands the world of the characters and hints at things Castle observed at the precinct that weren’t necessarily shown on the show.

And of course, there’s the whole subplot with Captain Montrose and the various factions and politics within the police department. I’m not positive exactly when Castle was supposed to be writing this book, but it’s obviously colored by his experiences with Captain Montgomery and the mystery of Beckett’s mother’s death. Captain Montrose, like Captain Montgomery, is obviously hiding a secret, but I’m not sure if it has to do with Nikki’s mother or is unrelated. Any theories? (It’s also worth noting that while the first two books were dedicated to Beckett, this one is in memory of Montgomery.)

Last week, I’d wondered if and how Castle would manage to tie Rook to yet another murder investigation, and we have an answer: So far, at least, they’re not, and that’s fine with me. It makes sense for Rook to be naturally involved in Nikki’s life without shoehorning him into the cases at this point. And at the beginning of the book, he isn’t around at all – he’s off on a research trip, and Nikki is left to confront her insecurities about their undefined relationship. It’s almost like the author was working out some frustrations about an undefined relationship! And then there’s all the talk about Nikki’s potential promotion. Was Castle thinking that Beckett will – or should – be promoted soon? Was he trying to encourage this? Subtle, Rick.

Next week we’ll discuss the middle of the book! See you then! (You can see the schedule for the whole summer here. Happy reading!)

(Photo courtesy of ABC.)

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