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Heat Wave vs Deja Dead

aka, going all postmodern/meta on your heine

I just finished Middlemarch by George Eliot, which I loved, but by the end of it I needed something that wouldn't take me a month to read, however enjoyable a month it might be. So I extracted two novels from one of the bookcases in the back room, both of which are murder mysteries connected to two of the televisions shows I am currently watching. This is where it gets a little weird.

Castle is a television show starring the ruggedly handsome(TM) Nathan Fillion of Firefly fame as a murder mystery writer, Richard Castle, who starts riding along with Detective Kate Beckett as firsthand research into the day-to-day operations of NYPD homicide investigation. On the show, he creates a new series of books whose protagonist, Nikki Heat, is based on Beckett. And in a shrewd marketing ploy, at least two murder mystery novels have been published, in the real world, by "Richard Castle," featuring Detective Nikki Heat as well as Jameson Rook, the mystery writer who shadows her.

And I thought, lol, what a brilliant idea, but surely the books will be terrible. They're not. At least, I thoroughly enjoyed the first one, Heat Wave, as exactly the kind of thing one might expect the character Richard Castle to write about thinly veiled versions of himself and Beckett's NYPD team. In many ways, it's even better than a straight Castle novel would be because the characters (under different names) are very much recognizable (although distorted in the way one would expect Castle to distort them, particularly Beckett/Heat) and yet significant interpersonal plot twists can occur without disrupting the flow of actual show canon.

Second up: Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs. My understanding going in was that this series of novels provided the inspiration for the show Bones. That show does, after all, feature a forensic anthropologist named Temperance Brennan who not only solves crimes in collaboration with law enforcement agents but also writes bestselling mystery novels about a character named... Kathy Reichs.

But that was where the similarities ended. Deja Dead was probably a perfectly decent example of the genre, but I was very disappointed to find that, as far as I could tell, the only concept Hart Hanson had borrowed for his show was that of a female forensic anthropologist named Temperance Brennan (an ironic name in the novels given that Tempe is a recovering alcoholic, but why anyone would want to use it for another, completely different, character, I have no idea). I couldn't even tell which of the many male law enforcement characters were meant to have inspired Seeley Booth, and equivalents of the rest of the beloved characters on the show were nowhere in evidence.

One of my friends has suggested that maybe the TV version of Brennan is based more on Reichs herself than on the character that she created - anyone know whether that is actually the case?

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
cuddyclothes
May. 30th, 2011 11:09 pm (UTC)
1) That is the meta of meta

2) I don't know either of the shows. Sorry, ruggedly handsome (TM) Nathan Fillion.
flywoman
May. 30th, 2011 11:41 pm (UTC)
1) Hilarious, isn't it?
2) LOL. It's okay. I know the male leads from both shows from Joss Whedon's work (Buffy, Angel, Firefly).
srsly_yes
May. 31st, 2011 02:54 am (UTC)
Interesting to know that Heat Wave was indeed good. I too was leery.

As to Reichs' books, I considered purchasing one when I first watched the series. Reading the reviews on Amazon tipped me off that the show was very different. You might check out the site to find out who Booth's counterpart is. I vaguely recall something was mentioned. Some policeman in Canada? lol. Don't hold me to it.
flywoman
May. 31st, 2011 03:48 am (UTC)
Some policeman in Canada? lol. Don't hold me to it.

LOL. Yes, I'm sure it is... but it could be any one of at least three of them at this point!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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