Raging Heat by Richard Castle (5 out of 5)

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The newest novel in the “Nikki Heat” series by Richard Castle finds our heroine, Detective Nikki Heat, in a maelstrom of whirling emotions. She’s been separated from Jameson Rook, her tagalong journalist partner and romantic partner, for a couple of months. He returns a week early and the reunion is spectacular, until Heat does some snooping in Rook’s travel bags and accidentally finds a jeweler’s bag and what appears to be an engagement ring. Her usual defensive walls slide right back into place, as she tries to cover up her mixed emotions at the reality of this relationship being something more serious. Of course, there’s a case going on that’s got her all tied up in knots as well, and that only adds to the angst. An illegal alien has fallen from the sky into the plate glass windows at the local planetarium, and there are all sorts of odd angles emanating. At first, Heat is thrilled to have her flame and cohort with her as she tries to unravel the mystery and arrest whomever is responsible for the death of this Haitian victim, one Fabian Beauvias. She pins someone she believes is the culprit, only to have Rook question her choice of assailant. The inevitable clash of Heat’s ego and Rook’s journalistic curiosity starts to build tension between them, and Rook begins to quietly investigate on his own, angering Heat when he uses her detective force to help him sort out some angles. The bodies start to pile up when Fabian’s fiancée Jeanne is found tortured (the lengths they went through to torture her will send chills down your spine. Try reading it at 2am and then try to sleep. Not advisable!) and deader than a doornail. The bodies and suspects start piling up the more that Heat presses to get Gilbert nailed for the murders. Rook attempts to spend a romantic evening with her on a rooftop, but the egos and simmering resentment on Heat’s part ruin not only the dinner and what likely was a proposal, but the relationship for the time being- and possibly, for good. She’s offered a promotion and hides it from Rook, who finds out about it from the testy and often unsympathetic Captain Wally Irons, and that doesn’t help matters any. Heat’s detectives keep at it, as does she, and they attempt to not only solve the crime and put our bad guys away, but manage to stay alive as well. (Throughout much of the novel, you seriously wonder how Nikki can successfully dodge so many attempts at her life. She must be a cat with nine lives, especially after the attempts in this novel. Geesh). Rook disappears entirely for a decent portion of the novel, trying to investigate and to work through his hurt feelings at Heat’s accusations. Meanwhile, Nikki recovers some irrefutable evidence, hunts down some solid evidence and witnesses, and moves forward with her case, as Hurricane Sandy moves toward the East Coast and New York City. As these things usually happen with Heat and Rook, their combined forces as well as her tight-knit detective squad, uncover some real good proof and go to execute the warrant and get some answers, only to meet with the brute force of Sandy’s landfall and the military forces of the murderers, all at the same time. There is, no shit, an entire chapter where you are feverishly turning the pages to see how this plays out. Incredibly written. Mother’s Natures force and the force of criminal sociopaths? Nothing like it, written like this, at least. Things continue to progress to a stunning climax, where our favorite duo face the facts that they very well may die. Will they get out of this alive? Will they reunite? Will Rook get to propose? Will the slimy politician get his due? How high will the body count go? What the hell is all of this hiding? Let me tell you, there are about fifteen different questions to be answered, and they are. Satisfactorily and in a spectacular fashion. And that, my friends, is why it’s my favorite book in the entire “Nikki Heat” series. Of course, yes, it does mirror Season 5 of Castle, but it’s supposed to. If you don’t watch Castle or haven’t read the other books in this series, don’t start here. Quit your bitching, and go rent Season 1 of Castle. You won’t regret it. And when you’re done being possessed by the show, start with the first Nikki Heat book. I don’t think you’ll look back. Nor should you.

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~ by generationgbooks on October 4, 2014.

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