For those of you just coming in, an explanation: there is a fantastic TV show on ABC called Castle in which Nathan Fillion (squee!!) plays a crime novelist named Richard Castle who gets inspiration for his books by working with the homicide detectives of NYC's 14th precinct. In the show, Castle gets the bulk of his inspiration from his muse Kate Becektt (Stana Katic) and creates his new MC Nikki Heat in her image. Like his previous MC Derek Storm Nikki is to be featured in a series of books, the first titled Heat Wave (check out my review of that here) with this being the second in the series. If you're still confused, go here.
At any rate, as I said Naked Heat is the second in the series so the novelty has sort-of worn off by now. While the first book had me giddy with references to the show every other page now it's just par for the course. Which isn't to say that it isn't still immensely fun for any fan of the show to catch so many familiar characteristics of the beloved characters, their quips and their mannerisms but simply to say that there's going to have to be something else to keep you invested.
Naked Heat uses the same tools in that endeavor as the show uses. The plot is never as straight forward as you expect and even the twists aren't really predictable. By season five my friends and I have taken to guessing who the killer will be "I still say it's the bellhop" or "I bet you anything it'll end up being the chef" but the show still manages to throw us. The book does an even better job of that because it has a lot more time and text with which to play with you.
This story is made more interesting by the fact that one of the main sources of clues- the body- is stolen armed robbery style on route to the medical examiner so the characters have to spend the first quarter of the book retrieving it before they can really get down to the investigation. Once they do the reader gets thrown head-first into the world of shady gossip intrigue and the dark side of fame with a super creepy contract killer thrown in for fun.
What I loved about this book is the same as what I love about the series. They're ghost written by one of the staff writers of the show so it's no surprise that it feels so familiar (and therefore loveable) in book format. My only real complaint last time was that in the book they actually show the sex scenes (whereas in the show it all happens off screen) and the language is straight out of a harlequin romance novel. I'm happy to report that the sex in this novel is less overt and subsequently didn't bother me as much. Plus they reveal something about Rook that sort-of pokes fun at the whole genre and makes it just another characteristic to love about the character rather than an "ick" inducing departure from crime and cop banter.
All in all I'm left with the same conclusion that I made about the first book: if you love the series, you'll love the books. They're not going to change your life and they're not what I would consider great literature. But just because they're fun doesn't mean they're dumb- all the wit that makes one loves the series is clear on each page so you can enjoy it without feeling guilty.
Needless to say, I'll be reading the next one, Heat Rises, soon.