The immortal Oscar Wilde said that “Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life.” It’s all I can think about when I read a Castle book.
Castle is a show on ABC about a mystery writer, Richard Castle, who is on a perpetual ride-along with NYPD detective Kate Beckett. Being a fan of the mystery genre and writers in general, this show appeals to me quite a bit. It’s generally a good mix of drama, comedy, and good old-fashioned sleuthing (though I could do with a bit less drama at times). It doesn’t hurt that Nathan Fillion (of Joss Whedon’s short-lived but much beloved Firefly) plays the title character.
But what made me really fall in love with the show is that they have been publishing the books that Castle is supposedly working on each season. And they have become bestsellers, these books written by a fictional author. (I always wonder if real, live mystery authors get upset about that.) With so many shows and movies ripping their stories from books, or series of books, it’s a fun change to see the show itself producing an original series of books as a tie-in.
That series is the Nikki Heat series. Book 3, Heat Rises, was released in September and is on my “currently reading” stack. This year they went even further, however, and released two books. Deadly Storm is a graphic novel interpretation of Richard Castle’s novel of the same title – the first in a series that supposedly shot him to fame and fortune. Except the original novels don’t exist, making this “adaptation” yet another layer of fabrication. Have we gotten stuck in a metacognitive loop yet?
I don’t read many graphic novels, so I can’t comment authoritatively on the artwork or writing in comparison to others in the genre. Was it entertaining? Yes. A work of art? Probably not. The plot seems thin at times, probably because it hadn’t actually been developed as a full-length novel first, but I wasn’t expecting much of it. One of my favorite parts was catching glimpses of the characters from the TV show in the background of some panels. The book also includes several pages at the end that show the how the “adaptation” developed, from creating a script to artwork sketches to final product. If you didn’t get lost in all the layers of fake book writing before, this might still do you in.
SPOILER ALERT! I don’t usually post spoilers, but can’t get around it this time. So don’t read the last paragraph if that kind of thing upsets you. You’ve been warned.
Overall, this book is a fun new way to experience Richard Castle in print form. I hope they continue the Storm series as graphic novels, though they seem to have killed off a key character. From the synopses of the remaining books (and they have actually taken the time to write detailed synopses for each of his supposedly-published books), it would appear that the person who dies in this book, giving him a reason to keep fighting the bad guys, is supposed to be his partner in future books. Granted, dead people often have a way of getting better in such cases, but it seemed as though they were closing the door on that character pretty definitively. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.