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HEAT WAVE By Richard Castle – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 11, 2014 by stanleyriiks

It’s not often I read tie-in novels, not after that hideously torturous first five pages of Aliens I tried to read back in the nineties (I think I’m scarred for life!). But this one is a bit different.

For those of you who don’t know Richard Castle (the writer of this novel) is the titular character in the light-hearted comedic TV crime-thriller series Castle. Yep, he’s a character in a TV series, and here he is writing a book, because in the series he’s a crime writer following the gorgeous Detective Kate Beckett as she works Homocide, helping her solve the cases with his unique perspectives. The Nikki Heat books are based on some of Castle’s experiences with Kate, and this is the first novel.

So, Nikki Heat and her crew are investigating the murder of a millionaire property developer, followed by journalist Jameson Rook (Castle)… There’s not much more to it than that, Heat and Rook investigate, fight, and build up a case against our suspect/s.

The characters are based on those in the TV series, the tone is similar, with a good amount of humour and bickering between the two main characters, the crime investigation story moves along at a good pace, and it’s entertaining as hell. This is seriously fun, with plenty of in-jokes for the fans, but it’s welcoming enough for the casual reader with a swiftly moving investigation and quickly developed characters. Perfect holiday reading. Like the TV show this is as light-hearted as a crime thriller can be, no need to think, just relax and enjoy.

Those familiar with the show will find a lot to enjoy in the book, and those looking for a crime thriller with some humour and engaging characters will also enjoy it, but this is hardly cutting edge crime.

I particularly enjoyed the acknowledgements, and as a fan of the show, I couldn’t help but be drawn in. I will be looking forward to Naked Heat, the second book in Castle’s series. I feel even more part of the show than ever before!

MARVEL ZOMBIES By Kirkman, Phillips, Suydam – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 5, 2012 by stanleyriiks

I have a decent comic collection, but unlike books or films, they are a kind of take ‘em or leave ‘em thing for me. I’ll get into comic books for a few months, buy a load of graphic novels (stand-alone stories or mini-series are much preferable to the unending arcs of the regular issues), read most of them and then put them away in a box under the bed and not bother going to the comic shop for a few years.

I generally don’t read Marvel comics, I prefer my superheroes darker and more mature, like Batman and the Vertigo line. I like Frank Millar, Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison, Warren Ellis and Garth Ennis. Traditional superheroes, like the Marvel characters, I prefer to watch now that films have surpassed the drawn page.

But Marvel Zombies intrigued me. The very idea is genius. Mix popular superheroes with zombies and see what happens.

This is not your average Marvel superhero story, and Marvel brought in none other than The Walking Dead’s Robert Kirkman to write it. The story seems to have already started when we enter the action, Magneto (normally a villain) is fighting for his life against the rest of the Marvel Universe who have been turned into zombies. They want to eat him. The Fantastic Four have been banished to an alternative dimension, and only The Black Panther (who is being held captive and slowly eaten) is available to stop the ravening hordes.

The Silver Surfer appears briefly, only to become more food.

Like The Walking Dead TV series (I’ve not read the comics), this is mostly about the character interactions and exploring (slightly) the zombie mythos.  It’s all fairly good stuff, nothing massively exciting, but it builds nicely towards a massive zombie battle and then, typical of comic books, leaves a nice cliff-hanger for the story to continue in the next episode (collected together in the appropriately titled Marvel Zombies 2) surprisingly enough.

The gruesome artwork and some quite shocking scenes beat out the weak story to make this book worthwhile. It’s the perfect introduction to horror comic books for those uninitiated and for fans of Marvel’s superheroes it is a stark and brutal reminder of the horror of zombies.

Good, but not great, the idea behind it is sheer genius. The execution is entertaining, and very dark, not what you would normally except from the house of ideas. Zombies rule, in the Marvel Universe too.