Book Critique - A Brewing Storm (Derrick Storm #1)

For review of other books by Richard Castle: Go here

Stars: 3.5 / 5

Recommendation: A quick and easy read for anyone who wants to pick up murder mysteries but want to avoid the gorier and grittier parts.

Brewing Storm is the first book published in May of 2012 by fictional author Richard Castle from the TV series Castle (portrayed by Nathan Fillion) (My review of the TV series here). This forms the first book in a trilogy within the series.

According to the Richard Castle's character bio, after his book Storm Fall in his Derrick Storm series, he had killed the character out of boredom. However his literary friends James Patterson and Stephen J. Cannell suggest that instead of killing Storm he should have retired or crippled so he could bring that character back at a later point of time, in case he had a change of mind.

Keeping in sync with Castle's bio, he resurrects his character Derrick Storm four years after he had finished him off, with this spy thriller Brewing Storm. 

I came across Derrick Storm in the eighth Nikki Heat book High Heat by Richard Castle which was published in October of 2016. (My review of the book here). That book concludes with re-introduction of Derrick Storm who waits for Nikki Heat in her old apartment while she is trying to investigate her mother's fake death. Obviously the ninth book Heat Storm is a crossover between both the series by Richard Castle expanding further on Nikki's murder's fake death.

However that re-appearance of Derrick Storm spurred my interest to read his novels by the fictional author Richard Castle. And thus my reviews.

After successfully faking his death and going under the grid for four years, Derrick Storm's ex-boss, Jedidiah Jones - Director of the National Clandestine Services, calls in a favor that forces Derrick to come out of his so-called retirement. Matthew Dull, the step son of U. S. Senator Thurston Windslow from Texas, is kidnapped and Storm is pulled into solve it. His partner in this high-profile case is FBI Special Agent April Showers. Neither Derrick nor April trust each other but then strive to work together for the case.  More importantly Storm doesn’t trust Jones about the case being as simple as a kidnap. What was behind this kidnap that Jones had to cash in his huge debt from Storm? Where does this lead Storm and Showers?

Castle has spun a very good web around political conspiracy and the lives of government agents. His characters, Derrick Storm and April Showers, both come off pretty strong. Starts off as a simple kidnapping, it spirals down into a very complex plot involving political conspiracy, murder and potential international crime. 

Normally when I imagine a character the author describes I like to know physical features as well as their mental and emotional characteristics. For some reason Richard Castle doesn’t describe Derrick Storm in so much physical detail except that he has dark brown hair and well built.

Castle certainly has a flair of humor when it comes to the names of his characters - Dull, Windslow, Showers, all very interesting and comic last names. But he hides the true nature of his characters behind this comic façade. Matthew Dull seems as dull as anyone can come, April Showers comes as a pleasant shower on Storm's dusty and dead life while Thurston Windslow's wind flows rather slower than needed at times of crisis. 

Castle also provides an architectural tour of Washington D.C. to the readers, especially with regards to buildings that are not normally listed on any tour for a tourist. For instance, readers get a 10,000 foot lesson on Russell Senate Office Building (SOB) and Dirksen SOB; about how the SOBs came to be named; a brief historical tidbit about Willard InterContinental Hotel; reasons as to why J. Edgar Hoover Building was built so; and many more.

Just as Derrick Storm suspects at the beginning of the book, there is more to this political conspiracy plot that keeps the reader at the edge of their seats. Needless to say I continued reading the next part in this trilogy immediately. I am hoping you are as intrigued now to pick this first book immediately. If so, go for it and have an adventurous action-packed ride.

Spoiler Alerts:

1) Plot Reveals:

a. National Clandestine Services is a division of CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) that recruits spies who are sent to clandestine operations across the world working for United States. Richard Castle mentions Derrick Storm belongs to this organization and I wasn’t sure if it even existed. Looks like it does. Check here.

b. Derrick Storm calls the drama that Jedidiah Jones sets up in order to introduce the players - not all of them mind you - as Kabuki play. A Kabuki is a classical Japanese dance drama that has its actors with elaborate makeup and very stylized scenes. True to the nature of the play Castle has Jedidiah Jones create elaborate scenes, hidden behind layers of masks for Derrick Storm to sift through to reach his destination.

c. Mark Twain is supposed to have written two books while staying at Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington D.C.

d. The book ends with Matthew Dull being murdered by the kidnappers, his girlfriend Samantha Toppers is behind the second extortion scheme, a serious connection between Senator Windslow and the Russians, and finally with Senator Windslow being shot by a sniper.

e. We see frequent mention of another agent, Clara Strike, who also worked for Jedidiah Jones at NCS. There definitely seems to be some kind of romantic link between Derrick Storm and Clara Strike; that Clara also faked her death and had retired similar to Storm. Will she be resurrected in a future book by Richard Castle is something one will have to wait and see.

2) Sub Plots: 

a. In the eighth Nikki Heat book, High Heat, Richard Castle shows the reader as having Nikki Heat met Derrick Storm as a suspect in a case she had caught a few years earlier, a brutal murder of a currency trader. I was wondering what case was that since I hadn't come across any such case in all of her eight books. However, on Wikipedia it is mentioned in the character bios of Detective Nikki Heat and her husband and Pulitzer prize winning journalist Jameson Rook that they had made cameo appearances in the Derrick Storm novel Storm Front which was published in May of 2013. I am yet to read that book and come across that scenario.

b. Richard Castle introduces Derrick Storm at the end of the book, High Heat, giving a segue that his next book would be a Heat and Storm combo. Naturally there would be a next book considering the reappearance of Cynthia Heat has to be solved. However bringing in Derrick Storm – even though I distinctly remember that he was killed off by Castle when he was introduced in Season I of the TV Series – adds another layer of strength and power. It would be interesting to see how the two strong alpha characters fare in the next book.

3) It’s still a mystery as to who wrote truly wrote these books, be it Nikki Heat series or Derrick Storm series. Obviously not the fictional character Richard Castle or Nathan Fillion the actor who portrayed the role. Unlike Murder, She Wrote books (Check my reviews of this series here), the actual author of these books is really hidden deep.

4) Grammatical / Historical / Geographical / Character / Mythological / Plot Errors:

a. On Pg. 75, last para, Windslow is spelt as "Winslow".

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