In an interview published just before Castle first premiered four seasons ago, creator Andrew Marlowe delightedly told eager fans that the protagonist’s name may have chosen specifically because when it’s shouted loud and fast, it sounds like a choice piece of profanity. Any show that has that level of levity built right into the title was surely meant to be a winner.
Four seasons later, and Castle remains one of Monday’s highest ranking shows. This is in no small part to the leads, the fierce Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) and the endlessly-charming Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion), who have created the best will-they-just-go-make-out-already pairings this side of Boothe and Bones. Add in a stellar supporting cast (I have a special place in my heart of Ryan and Espisito-centric shenanigans), and this lighthearted cop drama is one of the best studies in character development out there.
Castle-lovers, here are our reading picks for you…
*Heat Wave by Richard Castle
This is just about as meta as it gets: While–in show, mind you–Richard Castle is hard at work pimping his first book inspired by his time with Detective Beckett, ABC releases a the actual book into the world. Heat Wave follows Detective Nikki Heat, a street-savvy cop with a jaded past. She is joined by Jameson Rook, an award-winning journalist that follows her around, writing stories about her.
So, basically, it’s Castle in book form. It has just the right amount of cheesiness and just the right amount of heart to capture the feel of the show. Most impressively, ABC has managed to keep the real writer of the books under wraps.
It’s all Richard Castle, baby.
*The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett
Richard Castle loves noir fiction, and there is no bigger name in that genre than Dashiell Hammett. But while most hard-boiled detective stories are steeped in violence and general immorality, The Thin Man offers a lighter, more-Castle-friendly fare. The story follows Nick and Nora Charles, a pair of rich drunks that also solve crimes. No, seriously, that’s the heart of the plot. There is so much alcohol involved and so much humor. It’s one of my favorite books of all time–and one of my favorite movies.
*The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
Earlier this week, emmort sent in this suggestion:
“I’d recommend The Dresden Files for the Castle Review. Though Dresden is in fact a wizard, he has the same charm and impulsivity which makes him and Castle both so loveable.”
The Dresden Files also draws heavily from noir fiction. Dresden is a Private-I who specializes in finding lost things (or people). He helps cops solve murders and kidnappings and all sorts of run-of-the-mill crime thriller stuff. But with one exception: he’s a wizard. And the bad guys are far from run-of-the-mill.
With evil faeries, demonic vampires and mammoth-sized dogs, Dresden’s world is more than a little complicated.
*Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
One of the best (and most frustrating) parts of Castle is the will-they-won’t-they relationship between Beckett and Castle. When I think of a story like this in literary terms, one title came immediately to mind (right after Pride and Prejudice, but that seemed too easy): Leviathan. The trilogy of books follows Derryn and Alek, a pair clearly made for one another.
Only one small problem: Deryn pretends to be a boy during the majority of series, and is constantly plagued by feelings for Alek that she simply cannot act on. Besides the whole pretending to be a boy thing, she’s a commoner and he’s a prince.
It seems like a gap that is much to wide to overcome and it is positive agony for the reader waiting to see whether or not they will finally end up together.
*Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman
Thinking of a female protagonist that fully captured the creature that is Detective Beckett was no easy task. Beckett is smart, fierce, independent, loyal to the law and–most importantly–loyal to her friends and family. My mind kept drifting back to Sally Lockhart, the protagonist in Philip Pullman’s YA Historical Fiction.
Lockhart lives in Victorian London and is a mere 16-year-old girl–not exactly a person who would have any form of control over her own life in that era. Despite the societal pressure and difficulties she faces, however, she becomes a one-woman badass investigator, doing everything in her power to discover the truth behind her father’s death.
Lockhart is girl after Beckett’s own heart.
Love Castle too? Do you have any reading recommendations for me?
- Last week’s TV Tuesday feature: Supernatural
- Editorial: Nathan Fillion is a Greek God
- Book Review: Ghost Story by Jim Butcher