My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I’m still greatly, greatly amused that the Richard Castle books even exist–it remains an excellent marketing ploy for an enjoyable TV show. That said, I didn’t quite enjoy Naked Heat, the second of the Nikki Heat series, as much as the first one.
Most of this I attribute to the overall style of the writing seeming less focused somehow, enough that I genuinely wondered if books 1 and 2 had different ghostwriters. In this installment, mind you, the writing was still competent; this was more of a matter of certain stylistic quirks popping up here that I didn’t see in the first one, just little nuances of phrase and such that gave the prose a slightly different flavor this time around, and one I wasn’t entirely sure I liked.
I still roll my eyes at a character name like “Nikki Heat”, as well the convention of referring to detectives
Ryan Raley and Esposito Ochoa collectively as “Roach”. That’s a cute enough nickname if used in dialogue, but it was used a bit too much in the narrative this time. (See previous comment re: certain stylistic quirks.) Also, we’re far enough into the show at this point that I kept spotting plot points from various episodes, which made it a bit too obvious that yes, this book really is just a thinly disguised episode of the show.
That said, I did quite also like the progression of Nikki’s and Jameson’s relationship, as it’s going down a track that we haven’t seen in the show. We also get some backstory on Jameson and get to meet his mother (so far, in the Nikki Heat version of the universe, there’s no analog for Alexis from the show).
So all in all, very fluffy reading–and if you’re a Castle fan, you’ll probably keep having the urge to swap in the “real” character names if you read this. The mystery to solve is fun, though, and there are worse ways to spend your time. Three stars.