Murder Mystery weekend

Well, this weekend was an interesting one for me: a surprise visit from my parents, and loads of surprises on the pages of the two books I flew through this week (one of which I devoured in three hours, but I’ll get to that later).

I think the folks at ABC’s Castle should start paying me — I blog about it way too often, and I’m always talking about how fabulous it is. I think I may have convinced at least 3 of my friends to start watching it after Christmas. In the meantime, I’m such a big fan of the show that I decided that I would allow my curiosity to kill the cat (no mystery there) and go out and buy “Heat Wave” (the book that Richard Castle had been writing on the show, which was actually released). As luck would have it, a friend had given me a $30 gift card for Chapters, and so I could get the book for free, which was the final nudge toward it.

When I found the lone copy of it tucked away on a bottom shelf in the nearest Coles store, I was thrilled: I had a new book and the time to read it! As an added bonus, it wasn’t a super long book, which meant I was all the more likely to finish it quickly. I have a serious issue with books that are more than three-fingers wide — they instantly seem insurmountable to me (I know, I know, I need to get over it. I’m trying!). I bought the book and trotted off back to my house both pleased and slightly embarrassed that I’d given in to a guilty pleasure.

I didn’t get to properly dive into the book until the next day, but dive in I did, and that night I managed to make it all the way to the infamous sex scene between the Detective Nikki Heat and her shadow, Journalist Jameson Rook (which is on page 105, exactly where Castle points it out in an episode of the show). It was at that point that I had to put down the book, for two reasons: 1. It was almost 3am, and I had to work that morning; and 2. It seemed like a good spot to break (it being after a climax and all, you know).

My feelings about the book up to that point had been mixed — I knew it wasn’t going to be high literature (and it wasn’t), but I was absolutely enjoying the banter and jokes, and the mystery involved in what essentially was a full episode of the show translated onto the pages of a novel. There are a few jokes made about Bono, and it turns out that Nikki Heat’s aspirations in life were eerily similar to my own, as she started out her university career doing English and was headed toward doing Theatre, until tragedy struck her life. I found this little detail rather amusing, and it has certainly endeared me to whomever it was who actually wrote the book.

Reading on, after the sex scene, I let myself relax a little and just enjoy what I was reading, which made for a better experience all-’round. Anyone who watches the show will be delighted by how the two lead characters in the novel are with one another, and will find that the story is extremely easily read. Like I said, it’s not high literature or anything, but it’s definitely a lot of fun, and I did find that there was a good deal more suspense involved in reading the particular story-line because it’s not revealed as quickly as the show necessitates it must be. In fact, reading the book whet my appetite for mystery literature, and has encouraged me to broaden my reading horizons, which is actually an excellent segue into some talk about the second book I read this weekend: Martin Amis’s “Night Train”.

There’s a bit of a story that goes along with why I ended up reading Martin Amis when I knew nothing about him, save for the fact that he’d written “London Fields” (a book I haven’t read and know nothing about). I’ve told the story to so many people, but I think I would be remiss in not putting it down in words. Last Wednesday night, I settled down in bed and flicked on my webbernet TV to help me sleep. It was late, and I was tired, but it never hurts to have a little encouragement in the sleep department, and TV does the trick. Anyway, I fell asleep and started to dream. I dreamt that I was in a public place (I feel like it was a library, but it wasn’t really clear) and that there was a very large black board hung on a wall in the building. If you picked up a writing utensil of any sort and wrote on this board, the writing would appear in very vivid, multi-coloured script. In the course of the dream, I began to flirt with a man, and he with me, both of us employing quotations from literary masters, writing them on this big board one after the other, but all the time completely unaware of who the other person was. This continued for some time, and I remember feeling that excitement and sense of nervousness in the pit of my stomach that is so perfect when one is flirting.

I woke the next morning and discovered that I could actually remember the dream (which rarely happens for me), and that there was one detail that stuck out in my mind the most: the only novelist that I could remember being quoted during the dream was Martin Amis. Now, let me stress to you that I really didn’t have any idea what Martin Amis was all about at this point, I just knew that his name kept echoing in my head.

That next day, I came into some more good luck and was given some more book bucks to spend. I went off to Chapters to see what I could find, thinking that I would be flooded with choices of books to buy. When I got there, however, I felt as though I couldn’t find anything that I wanted to read. I found this bizarre, and was determined to find something, so I started looking for interesting books in all corners of the store. Happily, I bent down to look at the bottom shelf in the beginnings of the Fiction and Literature section, and what should be staring at me but three books written by none other than Martin Amis. “Oh,” I thought, “this is just a fabulous coincidence. I think I’ll pick one up and see what this guy is all about.” So, I take a look at the books, and the one that most catches my eye is called “Night Train” and has neon orange on the cover. It’s short, which attracts me, and the design is simple. I flip the book over and read the blurb on the back, which informs me that the book is about a female police detective, working with the NYPD.

AHEM.

Sound familiar to anyone?

Seriously. I’d just finished reading “Heat Wave”, I watch re-runs of Castle on webbernet TV all the time, I dream about Martin Amis (about whom I know nothing) and I end up crouched down in the corner of a bookstore, holding a copy of a book he’s written about a female detective with the NYPD. Tell me that’s not just a little bit eerie.  What’s more, of course, is that I buy the book (how could I not? Really.) and start reading it the next day. I finish it in three hours (likely the fastest I’ve ever read any novel) and now I’m dying for more of this stuff: mystery, suspense, and shady characters.

I wonder now if some higher power (be it God or the literati) is trying to get me to read mystery fiction. Either that, or it’s warning me that I’m going to become an NYPD detective. *insert copious giggles here* Either way, I’m glad it all happened as it did. I was the one who figured Castle was going to get people reading, and (while I’m sure my own thoughts were at work, here) it definitely did, in my case.

…I’ll say it again: EERIE!

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