Driving Heat (Nikki Heat #7) by Richard Castle (5 out of 5)

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This is the 7th Nikki Heat novel published by Richard Castle. Yes, yes, it ties in with the ABC television show. Yes, you want to read them in order. If you don’t, you’re going to be VERY confused. Or maybe not, since they do mirror the happenings in the show. But…this one does not. This one starts off with one huge change- and that’s the one that’s been rumored to occur in tonight’s premiere. But once that is established, the timeline gets wonky. Things that happened last season creep up toward the end of the book- so time goes wonky! I love it when that sort of shit happens. Mix up the formula a bit and watch it blow… and it did. Over and over again, but with a happy ending….

This time around, Nikki Heat is feeling the heat- literally. The first murder in the book is that of Lon King, the psychiatrist to the NYPD. Having been in therapy for a while for her PTSD and other issues, Heat is horrified at his murder- not only because he was a respected professional denizen of the NYPD, but because SHE was one of his patients. It goes from bad to worse when his office is ransacked and the files of his patients are stolen. Heat is panic-stricken (quietly) that her file will be revealed- and it would be all too unfortunate given that she’s just gotten a huge promotion and has ten thousand new responsibilities and rules that she not only has to follow, but to be even more of an example than she used to have to be. The reader automatically gets more than one suspect in this killing, and Jameson Rook, Nikki’s fiancé and Pulitzer Price winning journalist, gets more than one ass kicking by Nikki once she realizes that he’s investigating and writing a story on the same case she’s investigating. In the past, sharing had been a huge part of this relationship, but in this latest book, there’s trouble in paradise because Rook is NOT sharing any information, and he’s acting plenty shady on matters that do not pertain to the case. Throw in wedding jitters on Nikki’s part, Rook’s bringing in his ex Yardley Bell to “help” with the investigation, and his insistence that she spend more time on wedding preparations, and you have a couple stretched to the limits. Things deteriorate to the point that Nikki loses her shit and lets Rook have it. She feels bad and tries to make amends, but only in time to see her fiancé kidnapped as a result of the case. Heat faces more opposition in the way of Raley and Ochoa (“Roach” or as Castle fans know them, Ryan and Esposito) fighting it out to be named the lead detective, and that makes for more drama. It begins with one murder, accelerates to a number of fatalities (some by single gunshot wound, and more intriguing yet, drones play a HUGE part in this book. I now know more about drones than I had before), and that plays out all the way through the book. There are some real twists and some real turns, but the best part of this is that ending. On multiple levels, Castle fans will love it. This Castle fan loved it, but as I said, I love the fact that it took the entire book for this one to play out and be solved, and not just solved halfway through and the rest of the book is about Heat’s and Rook’s relationship troubles, and her issues with getting over her mother’s murder. There are whispers of her mom’s murder, but those are a backseat conversation between herself and the murdered psychiatrist, and play a part in the story. The relationship is a background story in connection with the murders, but it’s resolved quickly and it’s a much more happy version this time around. My only complaint with this is that Rook’s family isn’t around as much, and that’s much needed comic relief and humanity in the books. I expect we’ll see more of them in the next Heat book. One year from now. 🙂

~ by generationgbooks on September 21, 2015.

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