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Bookends: The Resurrection of Derrick Storm February 7, 2016

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Bookends: The Resurrection of Derrick StormStorm Front

By Dan Davidson

October 7, 2015

– 852 words –

 

Storm Front

By Richard Castle

Narrated by Robert Petkoff

Unabridged: 10 hrs and 36 mins

Hyperion Audiobooks

320 pages in print editions

 

In the television series Castle, Richard Castle is a successful and very wealthy writer of thrillers and murder mysteries who has based his second successful series of books on the life and cases of the woman who is his wife, NYPD detective Kate Beckett. In the books she is Nikki Heat and he is Jameson Rook.

In the real world the owners of the series, the ABC network, have done what they did for the Murder She Wrote series some years ago and have produced a series of novels, the ones that keep getting mentioned on the TV show, and have released them, to considerable success, as if they were written by Richard Castle. They’ve been releasing one a year and are currently up to book 7 in the series.

Castle’s original success, however, was in James Bondish spy thrillers featuring a character called Derrick Storm, a complete list of whose actually never published adventures can be found on the Richard Castle Wikipedia page.

Castle went all Conan Doyle on Storm and bumped him off after 10 books – or did he?

The premise of this book and the three e-book novellas that came before it, is that he didn’t. Like Holmes at the Reichenbach Falls, CIA operative Storm faked his death and went into hiding for four years, only recently emerging to take on some cases for his mysterious boss in a very Black Ops branch of the CIA.

We meet him in Venice, posing as a gondolier in order to trap a British civil servant about to give up some state secrets. That adventure is wrapped up pretty quickly, and we segue to the first of a series of brutal torture and murder scenes in Tokyo, London, and Johannesburg, during which a thoroughly nasty man with a Russian accent is extracting codes from a number of men who happen to be high level bankers and stock traders. Just what this is all about is something we will learn later.

Storm is tasked to attend a gathering in Paris and determine just what is going on with these deaths. While there he strikes up a relationship with a Chinese agent named (Ian Fleming would love it) Ling Xi Bang (yes – shebang).

On to London, where the pair find themselves on opposing sides in another murder investigation, an encounter which ultimately leads them to travel to the United States and uncover the work of an economist who has developed a theory that could lead to the world’s financial meltdown.

It emerges that there is a way to temporarily collapse the value of the US dollar, make a killing in the markets, and them put it all back together again. A New York hedge-fund manager by the name of G (for Graham – oh, why not?) Whitely Cracker has hired a villain named Gregor Volkov to obtain for him the six codes necessary to set this up. Cracker, meantime, has bribed a US Senator to get a bill passed that will limit the ability of the Federal Reserve system to counteract the plan he has in mind.

Volkov, of course, has his own plans for the windfall – no less than a coup to take over the government of Russia – and has gone completely off the rails.

To further complicate matters, an entirely separate CIA investigation, involving Storm’s old flame, Clara Strike, has been investigating Cracker for other reasons, but has no idea what he has actually been up to.

Further still, Cracker, an arrogant man who doesn’t realize how overbearing he is, has acquired a number of enemies on his climb to financial success, and one of them has been plotting his downfall for years.

There are very Bondish moments in this story: a hand to hand fight on an unfinished skyscraper, a chase through a subway tunnel, a car chase (with bullets and explosions) on a New Jersey turnpike; a stealth assault on a warehouse where hostages are being held, and a battle royal in a passenger jet.

There are a lot of fan service nods to the Castle TV show. Nikki Heat and Jameson Rook turn up at a murder scene in New York. Two of Storm’s boss’s aids share the names of the secondary detectives on Castle, and the now deceased captain of the precinct, Roy Montgomery, is name-checked.

While this feels a lot like the work of the creator behind the Nikki Heat books, it also has an entirely different flavour. The Heat books are like the TV show, police procedurals with a touch of romance. The sex scenes in this book are actually tamer than those between Rook and Heat, but the action is very much of the Bond and Bourne variety, and the book covers a lot more ground.

I don’t know if I would have enjoyed reading this book, but the audio production was well done and saw me there and back again on a recent trip to the city.

 

-30-

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