Wild Storm by Richard Castle (2 out of 5)

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That ^ is the smallest image cover available. I blame the popularity of that ABC television show Castle. If you aren’t familiar, well, you may be a bit lost with my review. Castle is on ABC and is going into its seventh season; plot centers around Richard Castle, an author who shadows Detective Kate Beckett and the 12th Precinct in New York City as they solve crimes and fall head over heels for one another. Someone affiliated with the show has novels that are out, directed connected to the show. The first series of books are the Nikki Heat novels (Nikki Heat is the fictional version of Detective Kate Beckett from the show); however, Richard Castle, in the show, made his New York Times Bestseller lists with his first series of books, the Derrick Storm series. The Heat books are out, a new one comes out every September, around the time the new season of the show begins. The Storm novels are out in May, this is the second in the series that has been released. Last year’s book, the first published in novel form, was great. I wish it had been a repeat performance with this one. 

Derrick Storm is on a plane coming back from a rock climbing vacation in the Swiss Alps when the plane he’s on suddenly spirals into a near-miss spiral, throwing everything into the shitter right off the bat. He manages to save the day with his climbing gear and tactics that always seem to benefit him at the most opportune moments. Three other planes are simultaneously heading into death spirals and killing thousands of innocent people aboard. Sounds a little like September 11th? Yes, the book borrows a little bit from that, as far as the occurrence, the number of planes, etc. You could almost, at moments, call Storm Todd Beamer, except he lives and the plane lands safely, due to his heroics. The occupants of the targeted planes? A large number are influential people in politics, government positions, and religious sects.(PS- HUGE points for Castle making Pi, the leader of the “Fruitarian Cult”, one of the victims. And “Congressman” Eric Vaughn. If you watch the show, you’ll get the references. I did, immaturely, laugh my ass off at both of their demises). Enter Jedidiah Jones, leader of the NCS, who phones Storm and asks him to investigate. Jedidiah, for those unfamiliar, is a little bit of a two-sided bad penny. At least, in my book. I do not really trust the mofo. And yet again, that hunch is not unproven. However, like a bad penny that keeps turning up in the register at work, somehow the dude keeps his nose clean and his pockets well lined with political greenbacks. (In case you can’t tell, I really do NOT like Jedidiah). 

Storm finds a number of things out. The rare element promethieum (notice METH is part of that name, just an observation) is at the heart of the whole thing. This extremely rare earth element has made its way into the hands of a radical extremist group that is using it in great quantities to create a laser that is taking down the planes. Storm is also investigating the disappearance of one scientist, Dr. Bill MacRae in the middle of California. The scientist had been investigating and doing papers on the element, and he disappears just as all of this begins to go down. Flash forward to an archaeological dig in Egypt and a group that is unearthing rare Egyptian finds, and the plot gets even thicker- what does this have to do with the planes being shot down? No answers come quickly, as another four planes go down in the Arabian desert before Storm can finalize any of his answers. Jones sends Ms. Clara Strike to help Storm out, and she does, for some amusing scenes with camels, but her cameo is altogether brief. I wish she had stuck around longer, i have the feeling she would have been a bigger help this time around, but her jealousy over Storm flirting with the cute student on the dig, well, puts an end to that. Cross reference that with the mysterious Swiss magnate whose lover was lost in one of the plane crashes, and you have one hell of a whodunit. Except you really don’t.

The action keeps up pretty much through most of the book, but halfway through, it started to sputter. First a little bit, with the disappearance of Clara Strike, then the missed opportunity that was Ahmed, the head of the metal shipping company that Storm believes is behind the terrorism. The ending of that angle and the scene and dialogue that followed had me groaning aloud. Why? Because I somehow knew it wasn’t going to be Ahmed. It wasn’t the other person I thought either. It was the person that my friend and coworker predicted several days ago when he started reading it. The reason for it? You have a number of reasons thrown at you through the pages, and when Storm tries to unravel the bindings of the logic, well, I got horribly confused, and then agitated. Greatly. The final scenes of the book play out in such a manner that you are shaking your head. I was literally reading it going “What the fuck? That makes no sense”. I re-read parts of it trying to make sense out of it. The final scene…the hurricane…is usually pretty fantastic to someone who’s a fan of weather, as I am. The boat is around the Rock of Gibraltar when the hurricane hits. I had to get home and research, but yeah, they don’t have hurricanes, as the climate and air masses are not consistent of those that make up hurricanes. So…it’s not geographically nor climatically possible to have a hurricane there. Yet they do! What a way to end the book after the great reveal of who the terrorist is takes place. I was pretty ticked by the end.

I really did enjoy the characters that you don’t see much of, including Storm’s father, Clara Strike, and Villante, a friend of Storm’s who tries to help him with the infiltration of the group they believe is behind the attacks. Those brief snippets and their roles in the plot I did enjoy. As I stated above, I loved the demise of two characters who were not well liked by the fandom in Seasons 5 & 6 of Castle. I did enjoy the characters of Rodriguez and Ryan, who are clearly based upon Esposito and Ryan from Castle. I enjoyed the different locations they hit this time out; Monaco, the Swiss Alps, Egypt, and memorably, the Rock of Gibraltar. As usual, Storm is a great character, and I enjoyed his cheesy quotes, much as I enjoy Richard Castle’s cheesy quotes on the show. I was glad to see Storm didn’t really dally around with the ladies too much this time; I felt like the first Storm novel he spent so much time being caught up in romantic miasma that it lost a bit for me. Happily, not the case this time. 

But for all that I enjoyed, that ending and the aftertaste of Tang-like proportions and reveals really sucked the joy out of this one for me. The three peeps who reviewed it on Shamazon seem to think it’s the best novel ever, but check out the grammatical and spelling errors, and really, who the hell is going to pay a lot of attention to their thoughts when their attention span doesn’t focus long enough on everyday things like grammar and spelling? Don’t beat the hell out of me, just stating the obvious. The same with the novel. I really, really do enjoy the dichotomy of the Storm novels, versus the Heat novels. Storm feels not as cliched to me, at least not in that first book, but this time out, it feels like too much of the other seeped into the art. Just as Richard Castle suffers for his art, the reader suffered this time around, for Richard Castle’s plot detours and sinkholes. I liked it enough to give it two stars, but I advise to tread carefully with this book in the series. 

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~ by generationgbooks on May 19, 2014.

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