Reviews for Heat 2 : a novel

Publishers Weekly
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Emmy-winning director, screenwriter, and producer Mann has coauthored his first crime novel with Edgar winner Gardiner (The Dark Corners of the Night), which falls short as a sequel to Mann’s 1995 movie, Heat. Heat focused on a battle of wits between Neil McCauley, the head of a Los Angeles robbery crew, and the LAPD Robbery-Homicide Division’s Vincent Hanna, who sacrificed a personal life to his job. Since McCauley was gunned down by Hanna at the movie’s climax, the focus is on the member of the robber’s crew who escaped, Chris Shiherlis. Flashbacks describe Shiherlis’s life before the film, starting in 1988, and sections set in 1996 and 2000 detail his time on the run, during which he commits new crimes, ending up in Paraguay as a result. Hanna also gets a backstory, including his search for a sadistic murderer and rapist during his tenure with the Chicago police, which picks up again, unexpectedly, in 2000. Neither character is meaningfully fleshed out, and the prose is often stilted and baroque (“The cheap porn of Alex’s illogic roars in Hanna’s head”). Even passionate fans of the movie are likely to feel that Mann should have quit while he was ahead. Agent: Shane Salerno, Story Factory. (Aug.)

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

As in The Godfather, Part Two, Mann and Gardiner's riveting thriller functions as both prequel and sequel, in this case to the 1995 film Heat, which was directed by Mann and starred Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. The narrative structure here is considerably more complex than in Coppola's film, however, with the before-and-after sequences intermingled as the time frame jumps between 1995, when the events of Heat took place; 1988, when the gang masterminded by superthief Neil McCauley is sparring with LAPD lieutenant Vincent Hanna; and 2000, after Chris Shiherlis (the gang's only survivor after the film's fiery finale) has escaped to South America and ingratiated himself with the Liu crime family. Meanwhile, in L.A., Hanna is tracking a gang of home invaders who are seemingly more interested in rape and murder than robbery. We sense early on that these new plots—Chris' involvement with the Liu family, Hanna's obsession with stopping the truly evil home invaders—will somehow come together, but we can't begin to anticipate the legerdemain with which the authors manage that feat, employing characters from the pre-Heat period as the connecting tissue. It's no surprise, however, that the novel concludes with a spectacular conflagration that parallels the ending of Heat. Still, the best thing about this innovative tale is the way the fully fleshed human stories support and even transcend the often-breathtaking action.