I think this series has really turned a corner with the publication of this book. I've always been frustrated by the way the books stick so closely to the characters and plot of the TV show (or if you buy into the fiction that "Richard Castle" writes them, so closely to his experiences with Beckett and Co.) Roman a clef just reads as lazy to me. The last book went a long ways towards developing the book characters, so that I was no longer getting my characterization solely from the TV show, but this one really breaks with the formula (I confess that I do still picture all the Heat characters as their Castle counterparts). Yeah, it deals with solving the murder of Beckett's Nikki Heat's mother, but it takes it in a completely different direction than the series did. It was actually a very engaging mystery, not just a fun spoof on a TV show.
* I am SUPER CURIOUS about who the ghost writer is for these books.
* Every time 'Castle' wrote about Detectives 'Malcolm' and 'Reynolds' it was SO INCREDIBLY DISTRACTING.
* My only complaint is that, just like the TV show has done, the books are threatening to make Heat's mother's murder into this vast conspiracy. It's interesting to read about, but I'm worried that, again, like the show, it will get so big that I won't be able to keep track of the details. It's getting to the point on the show when it's a Beckett's mom episode, I groan, because I can't remember shit about what they've solved in the case previously. TOO COMPLICATED BRAIN HURTS.
Anyway, worth the months and months long wait on my library's reserve list.