Jeannie Ruesch

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.

Jeannie Ruesch writes historical romantic suspense. Her upcoming novel comes out November 17, 2014 - A Rogue's Deadly Redemption. Check out her books at


  1. marilyn aitken
    marilyn aitkenReply
    May 15, 2013 at 9:37 am

    I had never watched the tv series, but I picked up the first season dvd at the library and enjoyed it. Since then, I have been finding episodes used as filler on TNT and this season’s ever more outlandish spoofs on ABC. I liked the first season best.
    The library held another surprise this week when I discovered the “Frozen Heat” book. The photo of Nathan Fillian on the back cover was a shocker. I looked for an acknowledgement of the real writer, but only the fictional Castle’s background was provided. This is not a Nom DePlume. It is an advertising ploy. The checkout librarian glanced admiringly at the Fillian photo assuming that it was the author. The Tom Straw award should be given to Tom Straw and company. Fillion’s name is never mentioned even as the back cover poses as an ad for “Castle” on ABC.
    I already know about Richard Castle. Readers who haven’t watched the series are not in on the joke. They are sold a book not ghost written for another person but for a fictional person with a photo not of the author but of the actor who plays a fictional character with a bio staight from the show. Truth may be stranger than fiction, but it plays no part in this strange presentation. Money does.

  2. Carolee
    June 9, 2013 at 9:30 am

    I do not care to know who wrote the books. I just want to say He or She is a good mystery writer. I bought all the audible books that Richard Castle wrote. I just finish Storm Front . I could not stop; it was so captivating . I literally sat and had the book read to me for 8 hours. Way to go Richard Castle writer or writers.Keep on writing I will promote you books.Have a great time reading

  3. Margi Harp
    Margi HarpReply
    July 6, 2013 at 10:25 am

    The books have similiar humor to the tv show, so I’m wondering if the writers of ‘Castle’ are involved in writing the books as well.

  4. Mary
    July 7, 2013 at 2:18 am

    Wow! Great detective work!

    Now if you could just solve the Red John mystery on The Mentalist! :)

  5. Anita
    July 27, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    Castle Books are great, but they’d be much better if Nathan Fillion was the narrator.
    And I’m sure many of us women know why. LOL

  6. Carolee
    July 28, 2013 at 1:57 am

    Anita has an idea .It would be more exciting if Nathan Fillion read the books on Audio.I just ordered the audiobook Deadly Heat. I do not care to know the writer or writers I just started to enjoy books again ; it is more easier for me to have them read to me while I am doing things.I do travel a lot so it is great to have it read to me.

  7. Judy
    July 28, 2013 at 5:47 am

    Yes, it would have been great if Nathan Fillion had read the audiobooks. Like Carolee, I rely on audiobooks, but the voice actor who reads the Heat books is simply dreadful. The first choice should have been a woman as the books are from Det. Heat’s POV. But a good male reader would have been acceptable. Unfortunately, this man’s voice is so grating and irritating that I didn’t even make it through the first chapter of the first book. And he reads them all. So sad.

  8. PitOwner
    September 9, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    I’ve enjoyed watching the Castle television series and am just a wee bit dismayed to learn that all this time I have been watching 1-hour commercials for “Richard Castle Mystery Books.”

    Even more disturbing is that I’ve been brainwashed into wanting to purchase them.

  9. Carolee
    September 10, 2013 at 10:05 am

    Pit. Onwer ! I feel sorry that you feel that way. But good writers are hard to find and who ever writes the Richard Castle ‘ s. books are great writers and it refreshing to have well written books.I hope you do not feel more of being brainwashed to buy the books.

  10. Stephanie
    September 17, 2013 at 11:44 am

    To pit owner – good grief, where is your sense of fun , of whimsy? Castle is an excellent series, the entire cast is first rate. If all you’ve gotten out of watching it is that it ‘s an hour long commercial for Castle’s ‘books ‘, you’ve seriously missed the point! This entire concept is unique and very cool; and with so much dreck shown as ‘entertainment’ ‘ today the “Castle” series gives me hope for the future of television. Whoever thought up this “plot device’ is a visionary!

  11. Bill Stout
    Bill StoutReply
    September 30, 2013 at 11:29 am

    Further evidence of it being Tom Straw. On Tom’s meet the author page he has his picture which is attributed as “Author photo by Jennifer Allen” and on the Acknowledgements page of Naked Heat, Richard Castle says the following: “To the remarkable Jennifer Allen, I can only say it’s such a lovely ride-along.”, and also on that page he says “And Tom was there early morning and late at night, helping me confront the terror of the blank page and inspiring my pen to work whatever magic is found within these pages.”

  12. Steve
    September 30, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    THAT is the best evidence I have seen so far. You have convinced me that I am wrong. I may need to do a follow up blog now. :-)

  13. Sabrina Collins
    Sabrina CollinsReply
    October 23, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    I think it must be different writers– at the end of Storm Front, it says that Castle got the Brad Parks award from the Allonym Society (or Instiitute), and if you look up Brad Parks, you will find he’s an award winnig mystery writer.

  14. Bill Stout
    Bill StoutReply
    October 23, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    Interesting that they said Brad Parks got an award from the Allonym Society (or Institute).

    allonym (noun): the name of another person taken by an author as a pen name
    Example sentence: An allonym is different from a pseudonym in that authors who take a pseudonym do so in order to protect their identities, while authors with allonyms simply want to use a different name for fun.

    How that relates to Brad Parks I don’t know. There is a Brad Parks Award, but it is for wheelchair tennis players. If you look up Brad Parks’ mystery books, they were published in 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2013, which would leave him little time to ghost write a Richard Castle novel.

    So I don’t exactly see how this bit of information helps or hinders our investigation.

  15. Caolee
    October 28, 2013 at 6:50 am

    Well I just started to read Deadly Heat and I do think this book was a different writer for this book .The reason is he or she uses a lot F words on many pages. The other writers kept it clean and interesting. After 4 chapters I surely do not like the writing.It is obviously not the same writer .I do hope other read the book and tell me if they think it is the same writer.

  16. Kristen
    November 1, 2013 at 10:54 am

    I am surprised but very happy to find out the books are real. I will be purchasing them as soon as I finish writing this note: I love the fact that the character in the Castle show is supposedly the one who wrote these books and Kudos to the marketing person who came up with the idea. I hope we never find out who the author is and I hope this person becomes rich if not already. LOVE IT!!!

  17. Anirudh Vasdev
    Anirudh VasdevReply
    November 8, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    We all love a little mystery in life .. thats why were Castle fans to begin with! Haha. A good read – keep writing, you have a nice flair for words and narration.

  18. Pat
    November 29, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    Am I the only one who thinks it’s James Patterson? I think he teasingly told us by naming the writer Jameson, incorporating the beginning and the end of his own name. Patterson appears as one of Castle’s poker buddies, and I am convinced that it’s Patterson. As a fan of Patterson, I think the style is consistent with his writing.

  19. Poorvi
    December 28, 2013 at 8:07 am

    Awesome! Castle would be so proud!

  20. Caolee
    December 28, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    I finish the book Deadly Heat .It was interesting but difenitely not the same writer .The writer made Kate say the “F” words a lot.He did refer to the story lines in the previous books.But what affect me the most was when she went to her mother’s locker at the bar where her mother frequent Kate found a bottle of beer and a note inside.The note said I LOVE YOU.For me it was like a message to me from my mother.I had just finish packing my to boys and they moved them 450 miles from my home town.I finish the book Christmas Eve and was very sad my boys were not home for Christmas for the first time. my mother died 2 years ago and her and I never agree and anything even how I was raising my boys.My mom drank a lot of beer which I disagreed her doing.Therefore when I read the part about her finding the beer in her mother’s locker it was like a message to me that no matter what she did loved me.

  21. Marilyn
    January 1, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    Nathan said the writer was on the show. There was a woman at the poker table on at least one of the shows. She sat holding cards but never said anything. Who was she? Could she be the person who wrote the books?

  22. Brian
    January 11, 2014 at 11:44 am

    As a matter of curiosity, I picked up and have been reading the new Nikki Heat novel, Frozen Heat and I find it to be readable. The situation is a bit different than the show but I am a fan of Faye
    Kellerman and Catherine Coulter whose works I prefer in the Peter Decker – Rina Lazarus Kellerman series and, the FBI series of Coulter. I am kind of going about this backwards but, I will prevail in the end as my wife owns a Bookstore and I WILL read the Nikki Heat novels back to front since the latest is where I started. Maybe I will one day be as enamored of WHOMEVER it is that actually writes these novels as I am of the two mentioned!

  23. Caolee
    January 12, 2014 at 4:31 am

    Brian do read the first books .They are great .The last book Deadly Heat is difenitely very disappointing compared to the first books .Mind you it is captivating it keeps you wanting to know what happens at the end.

  24. Susan
    January 16, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    I finished Frozen Heat last night about 2AM…I just couldn’t put it down. Whoever writes it really captures Nathan’s quip deliveries and Stana’s eyebrow-raising ho-hums. I laughed out loud so much that I had to leave the bedroom in order not to wake my sleeping husband. The visual imagery created by the author, and by my being such a big Castle fan, is amazing. Having read all of the above comments on the BIG mystery, I think (having read the first four books) that they are written by different authors. My fav is definitely Frozen Heat, and the characters and story flow were, to my mind, different from the previous books. Not that they weren’t good; they were. This one was just better. But like art, books are a personal preference. Cheers…..

  25. Trey
    January 24, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    There is a scene…i can not remember the episode or season…but a single lone gentleman comes up to the table where Castle is signing books… this guy says something to the effect “i’m your biggest fan” or something to that effect…and Castle’s response after the guy leaves is something like “what a loser”….this scene stands alone from the rest of the episode and show….and i was wondering if that was the real “Rick Castle”

  26. Caolee
    January 25, 2014 at 5:27 am

    Trey, the man that came up yo Castle when he was signing the books was Jonathan Franks .He was number one in Star Trek the next generation

  27. Tracey Bousquet
    Tracey BousquetReply
    February 18, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    Castle is my new obsession and while I havent read the books yet im about to start the first nikki heat book. I feel like it could be James Patterson who writes them but I wont be able to compare until I start the books.

  28. Siomara E Santizo
    Siomara E SantizoReply
    February 23, 2014 at 4:07 am

    Dear Jeannie:

    Thanks ever so much for the intense information provided, since the beginning of this article!! I’m a big fan of Castle’s show & although I haven’t read any of the books, yet, I will ~ soon!!! I love the way both characters work side by side & @ the end they simultaneously come w/ a conclusion…
    Keep on the great work!!!

  29. Kerry Mildon
    Kerry MildonReply
    February 25, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    I love the mystery behind the author of the books. I am leaning toward it being Terri Miller, Andrew Marlowe’s wife and one of the writers/producers of the show. We may never know but that is okay because who doesn’t love a little more mystery in life? Happy reading!

  30. Susan J
    Susan JReply
    February 26, 2014 at 10:31 am

    Dennis: Kathy Reichs wrote the books that “Bones” is based on.

    Trey: I think that was Jonathan Frakes, who plays William Riker on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

    I’ve been watching “Castle” since the beginning and love it. I recently got a Kindle Fire and have been reading “Heat Wave”. I had the same question about the author(s) and found this blog.

  31. Diana Lewis-Barrett
    Diana Lewis-BarrettReply
    March 6, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    I find it interesting that under the heading of “About the Author” there is a picture of Nathan Filion at the end of e-reader copy of Heat Rises. Is he there as a paid “representative” of the author or is it possible that he has this amazing 2nd talent and really is the author of the books? Either way when is the next book coming out? I have read the Derek Storm and Nikki Heat books and have all of enjoyed them.

  32. Caolee
    March 8, 2014 at 4:11 am

    Diana Lewis Barrett. Thought to let you know Deadly a Heat is the next book and it is out. I bought it and read it.I found it very different writing from the first book.Hope you are able yo get a hold of the book and make your own opinion of the writer ways of writing.

  33. janelle tanguma
    janelle tangumaReply
    March 25, 2014 at 6:22 am

    maybe the author is none of his mystery buddies but that author on ghosts season 1, lee wax maybe shes not an actor but none other than a mystery novelist. or maybe even one of martha’s life coaching clients who knows

  34. Jade
    March 27, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    Just listened to an interview where Nathan says about the author: “He starts with a “t”, he’s in the episode where the first book is launched and I talk with him during the launch” and “he’s never been on the NY best seller list before”

    Put all that together and I don’t think there can be any doubt that it is actual Tom Straw.

    The interview was on the Kevin Pollak Chat Show about 1hr44min into the conversation.

    Keep in mind though that interview was in 2011 so maybe some of the later books were written by other authors.

  35. Prolixius5
    April 9, 2014 at 5:47 am

    Hi, great invetigation job done here. In any case, I enjoy so much reading the books.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Have a great day :-) !

  36. Carolee
    April 9, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    I found the book Deadly Heat quite different writing.I assume it was a different writer .The writer made Kate Beckett swore the F word a loth.He write a short recollection of the history of what happened in the first books.At the end of the book he use the TV actors stories to end the book.I did not like that.

  37. Susan R
    Susan RReply
    May 6, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    I didn’t start watching Castle the first season but started watching it on TNT later. Now I’m an avid Castle watcher. I have read some of the Nikki Heat books and can place them with shows and seasons. Love it now.

  38. Georgetta Goodman
    Georgetta GoodmanReply
    May 18, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    I have been watching “Castle” now for about two years. I love cop anything! I worked at our local police dept for 25 years and naturally my inquiring mind is still in gear. I love the TV series and Nathan Fillion and Stanza Katic make a GREAT team. Mr. Fillion I discoverd has been filming for quite a while. He is so funny as Castle. I like all the actors/actresses on the show! I am especially glad to see that Molly Quinn has branched out as well. I would like to hear from other “Castle” fans! I just recently ran across the Richard Castle books by the way. I knew “Castle” was a writer on the show, but did not know there were actual books. Yes, it is quite a mystery as to who writes these books and I too hope it remains a mystery. At least until there is no more “Castle” series. I plan on purchasing the books ASAP. If they are as good as the TV series, I know I will really enjoy them. I am an avid reader and have over 1,000 books in my personal library. Thanks for listening!

  39. Caolee
    May 19, 2014 at 3:40 am

    Gerogetta! Castle books are very captivating .The last book Deadly Heat kind off disappointed me.It was differently
    A different writer .Do read all other books they are great.I own all the books.I also heard another book is coming out in the fall.Hope the book has less swearing by Kate Beckett.

  40. Conja
    June 1, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    I believe that whoever rights the Castle books is from the state of Missouri or the Illinois side of St. Louis. There are three references to the area in a short period of time. Lauren Parry’s from East ST. Louis, the cop she gave the Silver Patron to in “Naked Heat” is moving to Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo., and the assistant of the murder vic in the same novel is the J-school at the University of Missouri and he called it “Mizzou.”

    So, we find out which of the writing “suspects” is from there, that’s probably our writer.

  41. Cleo
    June 4, 2014 at 10:24 am

    Haha! Absolutely love it, and have to agree with you that this is a true possibility. I wonder why the author doesn’t want people to know that he has written them though, you would think that he would credit himself to it somehow? I personally don’t understand that even at the back or in fine print or something in the novels though i know there are some people that deliberately do this with people so that they don’t know who actually writes it, i would love to meet the author cause it astounds and facinates me! :D

  42. Sherry Stebbins Matisco
    Sherry Stebbins MatiscoReply
    June 4, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    I believe it’s because it is a collaboration, The Mystery Writers Guild, Castle’s Poker buddies

  43. linda
    June 11, 2014 at 8:11 am

    I have watched the series from the first and have thoroughly enjoyed it. When I discovered the books, I was a little late to the game, but then played catch up and now can’t wait for the next one. I loved all the comments, but personally, would rather keep the mystery! I think that someone came up with a really witty marketing idea and it caught the imagination of the people that watch Castle. I do see how it might be confusing if you try to read the books without knowing about the TV series. I am now going back to continue reading Deadly Heat…

  44. dontpanik
    June 14, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    I see some people are upset or think it’s just for marketing, etc. I do not work for ABC, but I did work for Disney (parent company of ABC) and as any former cast member can tell you, it’s all about ‘synergy’. Theme park > movie > toy >book and so on. It’s about keeping you within the world and characters you have grown to love. It’s about keeping the magic alive. Say whatever you want, but if you ever visit a Disney park and ask them how many Mickey Mouse’s there are at Disney World, the answer will be 1. No matter if there are children present or not, that will be the answer. How can there be more than one Mickey Mouse after all? How could someone else write a Richard Castle book? In the Disney/ABC universe, there is a Richard Castle and he writes best selling mystery novels. On a book stand near you, there are mystery novels on the NYT best seller list written by a Richard Castle. I think it’s wonderful.

    • Jeannie Ruesch
      September 23, 2014 at 10:41 pm

      I think it is, too. I think it’s great marketing and it’s a novel (pun intended) way to “break the third wall” – reach out farther into your audience and impact their lives more.

  45. Michelle
    June 25, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    Peter Stuyvesant was born in 1612. So Old Silverleg would def. have dressed in 17th century garb.

  46. Sarah
    July 5, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    Spoiler alert!! In season 7 castle didn’t die!! He got kidnapped!!!!

    Vote for stana and nathan!!!!

  47. Pat Allen
    August 13, 2014 at 11:35 am

    Perhaps the real writers of Richard Castle books are the poker playing buddies from the show= James Patterson, Michael Connelly and
    Stephen J. Cannell. Perhaps they all got together for this project.

    • Jeannie Ruesch
      September 23, 2014 at 10:40 pm

      Maybe each wrote a book? That would be fun!

  48. Ricardo Castille
    Ricardo CastilleReply
    August 28, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    It was, of course, the butler that did it – she writes everything.

  49. Taurin
    September 22, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    I think Stephen J. Cannell wrote the first 4 books, because the 2 since his death have been of a little different style, and technically [grammar, syntax, and word meanings] inferior. There’s also been some out of character behaviour.

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