Book Critique - Storm Front (Derrick Storm #4)

For review of other books by Richard Castle: Go here

Stars: 3.5 / 5

Recommendation: Easy breezy mystery plots with heavy political and international crimes being solved by the most capable person of all in CIA; naturally there is lot of intrigue, suspense, a bit gory and edged with light romance.

Storm Front is the fourth Derrick Storm novel published in April of 2013 by fictional author Richard Castle from the TV series Castle (portrayed by Nathan Fillion) (My review of the TV series here). In this plot Derrick Storm is pulled into a web of his nemesis, Gregor Volkov's treachery and his idea to destroy global economy; and Derrick Storm is the only one who can stop Volkov.

In the eighth Nikki Heat book, High Heat , Richard Castle leaves a cliff-hanger when he re-introduces Derrick Storm, having both Heat and Storm cross paths. Nikki Heat ponders that she had met Storm as a suspect in a case she had caught a few years earlier, a brutal murder of a currency trader. I had wondered what the case was since I hadn't come across any such case in all of her eight books.

Then on Wikipedia, in the character bios of Detective Nikki Heat and her husband and Pulitzer prize winning journalist Jameson Rook, it is mentioned that they had made cameo appearances in the Derrick Storm novel Storm Front. I had to read Storm Front novel to see how that scenario played out. Hence my review here. And they do indeed make cameo appearances in the novel.

Derrick Storm is called in by Jedidiah Jones when Gregor Volkov - Storm's nemesis and one of the cruelest ex-KGB - goes a rampage on torturing in his signature style and killing financial bankers. Storm is tied to a foreign agent to investigate the murders and understand what is Volkov's ultimate goal and who he was working for. Despite his initial apprehensions, he becomes tangled with this foreign agent in more ways than needed.

How will Storm and his agent work together to get to the crux of Volkov's goal, destroy him and his employer is what the rest of the plot is - a very dangerous and thrilling journey that these two agents take on starting in Paris to London to Iowa in US and finally to New York.

And we get to see sights around the places that the plot takes, with some of we get a history or architectural lesson too - Marlowe Towers in Manhattan, George Washington Memorial Parkway in Washington, D.C., George Bush Center for Intelligence (which is often mocked per Storm and Castle), Hotel de la Dame in Paris, Champs Elysees in Paris, The Shard in London (whose construction had been halted at the time this book was being written. It has since been completed and open for business), Saw Mill River Parkway in New York, Henry Hudson Parkway, West Side Highway (renamed after Joe DiMaggio in 1999), W in Union Square in NYC.

Apart from getting architectural and historical tour, we get educated briefly in the international financial business of trading currency. Oh it blew my brains off and took a second read for me to really understand what all that blah blah blah was. :P

In the previous novella trilogy, Ultimate Storm, when Derrick Storm starts a relationship with the FBI Agent April Showers, I assumed in his next dig also Castle would retain his love interest the same. Instead Castle has him paired with a foreign agent - both professionally and personally. Wonder what happened to April Showers?

However, we do meet with the elusive Clara Strike who was frequently mentioned in the novella trilogy, who had first found Derrick Storm and introduced him to Jedidiah Jones at the National Clandestine Services (NCS), the clandestine branch if CIA, with whom he seemed to have a romantic relationship, and who also faked her death and disappeared just like Storm.

Richard Castle shows a comedy side to Derrick Storm which was not so visible in the previous novella, although some his jokes are really lame - just like the ones Castle used to do on the TV Show.

It is so funny that Richard Castle had written Derrick Storm's choice of vehicle is anything made by Ford. I have a rather large affinity towards Ford Mustang, and within it a Thunderbird for sure, but not any of the other Ford vehicles. The fight and chase scenes in the plot are very impressive although cause a lot of vehicle and property damage, and perhaps people damage too, which surprisingly is not shown to be alerted to the local cops. Other than that fact, they have been super impressive - Derrick even uses a Novak Djokovic racket to thwart his pursuers.

As I am progressing in reading the Derrick Storm novels by Richard Castle, I am liking him more and more. Not that I didn’t like Nikki Heat and Jameson Rook. But there is something about Derrick Storm's character that reaches to your heart and yearns for him.

On a side note, Nathan Fillion the one who portrayed the role of Richard Castle in the TV Show Castle and the so-called author of these books will be seen this fall (October 2018) in a new TV Show The Rookie. I can't wait to watch Nathan again on TV.

All in all another entertaining thriller filled with espionage and financial scams involving Derrick Storm and his chase in solving the mystery. I only wish he had a little less heart break. Hopefully next time we will see a happier ending for Derrick Storm.

Spoiler Alerts:

1. Plot Reveals:

a. Derrick Storm returns to the Orphanage of the Holy Name in Bacau, Romania frequently. This time he meets a little girl, Katya Beckesku, when he meets with Sister Rose McAvoy. Will Castle tie this tidbit somewhere in the next book?

b. We get introduced to Derrick Storm's father, Carl Storm, in this book. He is a retired FBI agent. He likes to read and we see him reading the collected works of Stephen J. Cannell - who as we all know was famous for his creations on TV such as Rockford Files, 21 Jump Street, etc.

c. There is still unfinished business between Derrick Storm and Clara Strike. Will Richard explore it in the next episode?

d. It is very shocking to see the demise of a key character that is personally and professionally close to Derrick Storm. I was hoping he would get a happy ending for once. Perhaps the next book will bring it to him.

2. Interesting Tidbits:

a. Jedediah Jones installs "The Clapper" (a wireless light switch) in his conference room in the area where his offices reside in the CIA. So funny that as seen on TV product is also used by the CIA.

b. The Seventies were called as Ugly is something that I learned after reading this book. Then a google search indeed showed quite a few things made or built in the 70s take on a flair leaning towards ugly.

c. Incidentally Derrick Storm and Jedediah Jones love the classic Road Runner cartoon series. Just like me. :P

d. Chinese Agent Ling Xi Bang gifts Derrick Storm with a SuperSpy Espio-Talk Wristwatch Communicator manufactured by Cloak and Dagger Enterprises. I didn’t find such an enterprise that is legitimate, but I know that the Marvel comics based on the characters Cloak and Dagger have been reprised into a TV show this past summer with Season I concluding on August 2 2018. I havent read their comics, but the TV show is very intriguing. More about that show here.

e. The FBI field office in East Rutherford, New Jersey, is aptly named as "The Poison Pill" building by many just for it's structure that looks like a rounded pill. Some compare it to a tic-tac too.

3. Sub Plots:

a. 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. And yes indeed the last book in the Nikki Heat series was titled Heat Storm, which I am yet to read it and I am guessing that the plot surrounds around the reappearance of Cynthia Heat, Nikki's mother who was thought to be dead. 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.

b. The plot in the final book in the trilogy, A Bloody Storm, ends with Jedidiah Jones and Derrick Storm (without the knowledge of Jones) have the actual location of the Russian Gold. Or so he thought. Will Richard Castle set the next plot for Derrick Storm on hunting this gold? One has to wait and see.

c. Finally I found out who was the actual author of Richard Castle books. It is written by Tom Straw who is an Emmy-nominated TV writer and producer. More about the truth here and here.

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

a. On Pg. 271, line 14, it should be "…I know you're not…."


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