I’m not sure whether I just wasn’t in the right mood for this, or whether the gag of having tie-in novels supposedly written by a fictional author in a TV show has just run its course, but either way Deadly Heat was less fun than the last couple of installments. (It was still fun, though.)
This one picks up where the last one left off, with Detective Nikki Heat embroiled in a manhunt for the turncoat spy that ordered her mother’s murder. A new case also falls into her lap as well: a serial killer who leaves colored coils of string next to each of his victims, who are all connected to each other in some mysterious way. The media dubs him the Rainbow Killer. The majority of the book features Nikki juggling both cases, until they both collide with each other towards the end.
It’s fun to read these books because mostly I just picture their Castle counterparts. If I didn’t like the TV show so much, I’m not sure how I would feel about these books. I probably would never have read them — I’m not really a huge thriller reader to begin with, and these seem to be middling ones at best if divorced from their tie-in nature. There were also structural problems with this one. The previous two Heat novels (to my memory) didn’t have this issue, but here, I found that the two cases, instead of enhancing one another, just distracted from each other. It usually takes a while for a mystery to get interesting anyway, until a case hits that breaking point where it becomes urgent, but it took twice as long for that to happen in this book because we had to wait for two cases to hit it instead of just one. To the book’s credit, though, the final sequence was pretty good, and the way the two cases ended up connecting with each other was well done (the serial killer — who ends up going after Heat, who was his main target all along — in keeping such close tabs on her, actually helps her to break the search for her mom’s killer as well).
I think a large part of the problem — besides me not being in the mood to read it, and only doing so because I waited forever on my library hold list — is that because the novels insist on sticking so closely to the plot of the TV series (a search for Nikki/Beckett’s mother’s murderer, foiling terror plots, mix-ups with international spies, etc.), I often have trouble remembering which events happened in the books and which happened on the show. It’s turning into a big blur in my head. The other issue is that a lot of the plot in this one hinged on having read the previous novel. Which I read a year ago. And which wasn’t that memorable in the first place. In the future, I hope these books try to remain at least relatively self-contained.