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by Richard Castle
Hyperion, March 2014
352 pages
ISBN: 1484711424

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Freelance C.I.A. operative Derrick Storm is tasked find a powerful laser that is apparently being used to bring down a series of flights with powerful political and business leaders aboard; and a young postgraduate on an archeological expedition is battling both bandits trying to steal her discovery of a rare mummy and a lecherous professor who is bankrolling the dig. Again partnered with his once thought-to-be-dead partner and sometime lover, Clara Strike, Storm finds himself battling both a dangerous transnational terrorist organization intent on downing planes and killing specific passengers, all while deciding how much he should tell the equally corrupt bureaucracy for which he works.

The opening chapter features Storm singlehandedly saving a doomed plane with his sheer strength and rarely lets up for the next three hundred pages. Quickly, Storm discovers that a brilliant scientist has gone missing and that his knowledge may be integral to the terrorists' plot. Storm's adventures eventually take him to three continents, where he must save the scientist from his captors and come to the rescue of a stranded archeologist, who quickly becomes Clara's rival for his amorous eye.

WILD STORM is a spin-off of sorts from the more popular Nikki Heat series, which itself is a tie-in with the popular North American police procedural show "Castle" (the books are "written" by that show's fictional protagonist) and is filled with references and winking humor that only viewers of the show are likely to understand. This is the second in the series after 2013's STORM FRONT (and a series of graphic novels published by sister company Marvel), so one presumes that the audience is there for titles that so obviously have a very specific readership in mind.

With character names such as Derrick Storm and Clara Strike readers know from the outset that they are heading into James Bond (with a dash of Indiana Jones) rather than George Smiley territory. Equal part mystery, thriller, adventure; WILD STORM proceeds in a predictable but entertaining way that will surely please any reader willing to buy into the general conceit of the character and the book itself. John le Carré, it is not; but its portrait of political motivations is quite a bit more blunt and stinging than one would expect from what is basically a product of corporate synergy.

While the Richard Castle books are no doubt written with the show's loyal viewers particularly in mind, one suspects that fans of light, but fast-paced, thrillers such as Janet Evanovich's Fox & O'Hare series will also find a way to enjoy WILD STORM, even if they are unfamiliar with the "Castle" mythology. Fans are sure to eat up the book as it serves as an appetizer for the next Nikki Heat book and manages to be an entertaining read on its own.

§ Ben Neal is a librarian who likes to fancy himself an amateur writer, humorist, detective, and coffee connoisseur in his spare time. He can be reached at beneneal@indiana.edu.

Reviewed by Ben Neal, June 2014

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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