Don’t you love a good mystery?
I know I do, whether it comes in book, movie or…author form? If any of you have tuned in to ABC’s hit show CASTLE, you’re familiar with the handsome, charming bestselling author Richard Castle (played by Nathan Fillion.) The premise of the show revolves around Castle’s partnership with the beautiful and tough Kate Beckett – who becomes the inspiration for his Castle’s new book series Nikki Heat.
As both a writer and a marketing professional, I’ve loved the fact that the books mentioned on the show – the Nikki Heat books – have been written. The first book, NY Times bestseller HEAT WAVE, came out on the heels of the show’s first season (which began in March 2009.) The next book, NAKED HEAT, releases in September (which coincides nicely with the premiere of the show’s third season.)
However, the biggest mystery isn’t in the plotlines of the books or the episodes. It’s in who is actually writing the books.
In all accounts, from the book jacket itself to the Amazon listing to the placement on the New York Times bestseller list, Richard Castle is listed as the author. But Castle is fictional. He’s a character. So who is behind these books?
Disclaimer: No, I don’t have the absolute answer. Truth be told, I like the bit of mystery that goes along with this. I do love researching online and trying to figure things out, so it was fun to see what I could find based on articles and other people’s attempts to discover the true author. And from what I’ve found, it seems a large percentage believe it’s been solved. But has it?
Let’s take a look at the facts as they presented themselves:
1. No one is ‘fessing to writing the books.
2. Nathan Fillion does book signings, but he said to Parade Magazine, “I don’t show up and pretend to be Richard Castle.” So he isn’t claiming or even acting as if he has penned the bestsellers.
3. The publisher, Hyperion, has given only one clue: The real author has appeared on Castle. (1)
4. As we know there are a number of well-known authors who have appeared in Castle’s poker games – including James Patterson, Stephen Cannell, and Michael Connelly.
5. The about-the-author blurb on the Heat Wave cover offers: Richard Castle is the author of numerous bestsellers, including the critically acclaimed Derrick Storm series. His first novel, In a Hail of Bullets, published while he was still in college, received the Nom DePlume Society’s prestigious Tom Straw Award for Mystery Literature. Castle currently lives in Manhattan with his daughter and mother, both of whom infuse his life with humor and inspiration.
6. The “Nom DePlume Society.” If it exists, it’s a secret society, because I couldn’t find an actual record of anywhere. (Not that I do believe it is real, but I had to be thorough.)
7. Tom Straw – the “award bearing name”– however does exist. He is an actual person, who is –shocker – a writer. He’s written a mystery novel THE TRIGGER EPISODE, as well as maintained a successful career as an award-nominated writer for shows such as Mary Tyler Moore, Night Court, COSBY and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. Not surprisingly, on the Amazon page for his book, the most common books people who purchased his book also bought were the Richard Castle books.
8. Tom Straw is also referenced in the Author’s Note in the book.
Which means for Tom Straw to be a “suspect” in this mystery, we have to prove he’s appeared on the show. According to Nathan Fillion (and Parade Magazine), he has. But when? What episode?
This required a little more digging, but ultimately I found the answer. He did appear on the show, in a non-speaking, cameo role. And the proof is in the pudding, or in this case, the video.
Here is a screen shot taken from CASTLE’S Season 2, Episode 5 — during the launch party of HEAT WAVE (which is ironic). The man sitting at the table with Nathan Fillion is Tom Straw (or an identical twin.)
Comparing the gentleman shaking NF’s hand to the picture of Tom Straw on his website:
Absolutely seems to be the same man. A transcript of this episode can be found here. So that verifies the last bit of information.
Does this 100% solve the mystery? I think the only way to know that is if the players involved confessed, but in light of that… how far does this case make it in the court of CASTLE fans? If you are the jury on this case, do you say “Guilty?”
But truth be told, I hope we never know for sure. As a fan of the TV series and as a marketing professional, I’m fascinated by the marketing strategy here. But most of all, it’s just fun. I like a little mystery in life.