The Meta World and Works of Castle

Castle, the TV show, is a guilty pleasure.

I followed Nathan Fillion from the skies and ‘Verse of Firefly and Serenity to the mean streets of L.A. masquerading as New York in Castle.

And Stana Katic, well, who wouldn’t follow her anywhere? Tough, vulnerable, smart, sexy and a cop? I only know one other person like her, though she’s no longer a police officer, and she thinks “I really am ruggedly handsome.”

When I get into a show, I do like to submerge myself as much into it as I can, I have soundtracks, I have toys, I have a Harry Potter scarf, I have sonic screwdrivers and bow ties, and in the case of Castle, I have books.

Each season has seen Richard Castle working on another Nikki Heat book, that is referenced constantly through promotional art, galleys, movie casting and the like.

Much like the show, the novels, of which there are currently 3, Heat Wave, Naked Heat, and the most recently Heat Rises, are fun, light, and as previously confessed, a guilty pleasure. The lead in the Heat books is Nikki Heat, which is based on Stana Katic’s portrayal of Kate Beckett. In the novel series, she is joined by investigative journalist Jameson Rook (Castle? Rook? Chess?), who was writing an article about the NYPD in general, and in the end specifically about Nikki, throwing her into the limelight, much as Castle has done with Beckett.

In the novels though, Castle gets to realize the relationship he wants with Beckett, Heat and Rook have a passionate affair. Happily if you have the hard cover of Heat Rises, the scene Beckett was looking for while she’s reading a promotional copy of the book, while sequestered in a toilet, is on the exact same page in the actual book. It’s little tie-ins like this that make the show that much more fun for me.

The more you read of them, the more the line blurs between the book and the ‘reality’ of the television series. There are callbacks that work both ways, book to show, show to book, lines of dialogue, situations, and characters.

In the series we have Ryan and Esposito, in the novels we have Raley and Ochoa, and yet, the two groups are almost indistinguishable (in a good way) so while you read them you’ve already cast the actors we know and love in these roles that are based on roles that they play on television.

Also adding to the fun of the books is the fiction that they are actually written by Richard Castle, and include author’s notes and acknowledgments to both real world and fictional characters.

I did skip ahead and read part of the author’s notes for the third book, and liked the nod given to the late Stephen J Cannell. “You had me at Rockford.” – Truer words.

These books aren’t claiming to be anything they’re not, they don’t want to change the world, they are simply there to provide pleasure for Castle fans, help us buy into the ‘reality’ of the show, even when some of the payoffs aren’t so great (I’m looking at you Season 3 finale – although I can already see parallels in Heat Rises).

And it makes total sense, if you have a character who’s a writer on a show that people are growing to love, then of course, those same fans are going to want to read some of the writer’s work, whether he’s fictional or not.

And so it’s with ease of conscience that I can say I am a fan of the show, and love to get that smile from people on the transit to work in the morning who recognize the author of my book and give me a little nod sharing in the inside joke.

 Believe me, I’m not always about the light book reading, yes of recent I’ve talked about the Hunger Games, and Stephen King (admittedly his books aren’t so light – weight -wise), but sometimes they are just a wonderful escape, light entertainment to let your brain get away from the every day.

Then maybe somewhere down the road, I’ll get into something a little heavier, oh, let’s be honest. I’ll probably go get another Jo Nesbo book!

But it doesn’t end there for Castle, oh no.

They’ve also adapted the first book, in a fictional book series by a fictional author, into the first of what will hopefully be a series of graphic novels, based on the adventures of private investigator turned CIA agent Derrick Storm.

Adapted from the original source material (?) by master comic writers Brian Michael Bendis and Kelly Sue DeConnick.

Put together under the Marvel banner they brought Derrick Storm’s adventures to life in Deadly Storm.

 This book actually stands out as completely different from the Heat books, for two reasons, one, it’s a graphic novel, two, it’s supposed to have been written long before Castle met Beckett, so the dynamic, though romantic, between the two leads is completely different from what we have seen between Beckett and Castle, and Heat and Rook.

The other thing I loved about it, if you will indulge yet another geek moment, is the list of all the other Derrick Storm titles, that were contained inside the cover of Deadly Storm.

Andrew Marlowe and his team at Castle, and that includes all the cast and crew, continue to make Castle’s world one I like to visit on a regular basis, and of course when I can’t throw a DVD in, or I’m all caught up on episodes…

Well I can always pull a Castle book down from the shelf and lose myself in a good book, like I said, it’s a guilty pleasure.

So Nathan… Stana… Andrew… Jon… Seamus… and all the rest of you… if you’re ever in Toronto, make sure you look up The Mind Reels… we’d love to go for a pint and a chinwag!

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