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Friday, August 17, 2012

A Bloody Storm by Richard Castle

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Cynthia Chow

In the third and final installment (of this storyline, anyway) of the serialized novellas featuring Derrick Storm and “authored” by the television show’s Castle character Richard Castle, A Bloody Storm picks up seconds after A Raging Storm, which had Storm crashing the car he was in to escape a beautiful but homicidal double agent, Antonija Nad. Meanwhile, FBI Agent and Storm’s latest partner and love interest April Showers has been in a deadly shootout of her own against two Russians in another car. While the two agents may have survived, the hunt for nearly sixty billion dollars’ worth of Russian gold is still on, sending Storm off to Uzbekistan with a ragtag group of “Dead or Disappeared” agents who are as untrustworthy as they are deadly. Meanwhile, April Showers is immersed in her own problems as she is easily whisked away deadly rivals in the race for the gold, with her fate and Storm’s all colliding inside hidden caves that may be as full of gold as they are bloodthirsty assassins.

Image source: Hyperion

The majority of readers who have come to these novellas are in all probability fans of the television show Castle, and as a result they may be expecting the witty dialogue and humor that is so vital and inherent in the character Richard Castle, played by actor Nathan Fillion. As a result, they may be disappointed that the humor is much less present in the Derrick Storm series than it is in the Nikki Heat mysteries, another real series “written” by Richard Castle. The Derrick Storm novellas are more the traditional espionage thrillers akin to James Bond, full of technical gizmos and weapons, improbable action scenes, and deadly traitors. However, there is a definite wink to the clichés and tropes of the spy genre:

Jones removed a man‘s wristwatch from his desk drawer and tossed it to Storm. “A present.”
“Let me guess,” Storm said. “It‘s a gold detector.”
“A laser beam that can cut through locks on the containers when we find the gold.”
“A secret gun that-”
“It‘s a wristwatch,” said Jones.
Storm raised an eyebrow.
“Okay,” said Jones. “It‘s also a worldwide tracker. I can find you no matter where you are.”

Every time the dialogue seems over the top or the plot becomes a little too cliché, a twist is thrown in that somehow compels the reader to continue reading just to see if the author is going to throw in another surprise. At a little over a hundred pages, these fast-moving, action-packed novellas can be read in a few hours and probably last in the reader’s memory for a few more. However, the writing is crisp and the plots intriguing enough to entertain readers who are fans of this genre and perhaps lure in those who enjoy more traditional mysteries. The Derrick Storm series is perfect for a summer afternoon or a quick trip to any American-friendly country.

Check out the first two parts of this story: A Brewing Storm and A Raging Storm.

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).

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