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Heat 2: From Screen To Page

Welcome Back, Fellow Readers!

I have found a piece of literary gold in the deep recesses of my local bookstore: a sordid tale and sequel to one of my favorite movies.


Released in 1995, the film directed by Michael Mann was a smash hit. It starred the likes of Robert De Niro and Al Pachino. The two acting heavyweights were on opposite sides of the law, one a police officer spending too much time chasing down criminals and the other the criminal whose motto was “Don’t let yourself get attached to anything you’re not willing to walk out of in 30 seconds flat… If you feel the heat around the corner.”

The film is a tense fight between criminality and law, order and chaos — Two opposing sides which, as the film continues, we see these two men are more alike in their dedication to their craft than they are opposites.

The final moments of the film see Robert De Niro’s characters having a final showdown with Hanna, the character portrayed by Al Pachino.

As most of De Niro’s crew is dead, including Denro himself, we are left to see Val Kilmer’s character safe and sound, returning to his wife. She is surrounded by police, waiting for his return. She signals him, and he leaves into the night.

Heat 2 – Before and After

Described by Michael Mann as both a prequel and sequel to the renowned, critically acclaimed film of the same name, Heat 2 covers the formative years of homicide detective Vincent Hanna (Oscar winner Al Pacino) and elite criminals Neil McCauley (Oscar winner Robert De Niro), Chris Shiherlis (Val Kilmer), and Nate (Oscar winner Jon Voight), and features the same extraordinary ambition, scope, rich characterizations, and attention to detail as the epic film.

Heat 2 is an enthralling novel that bounces between various times of the characters’ lives. The story’s start follows Val Kilmer’s character, wounded and hurt after the robbery in the film, and shows how he winds up safe and sound, heading to his wife, who, as we see in the film, signals to him the police are with her, and he gets away.

The following pages bounce back and forth between the crew’s attempt at an earlier job in Chicago and Al Pachino’s character dealing with a series of break-ins and murders.

In the 90s, Al’s character is trying to catch the last surviving bank heist member, Chirs (Val Kilmer), who is ditching sunny LA for Mexico until he can return for his wife and son.

This new story leads to the film’s events and then moves beyond it, featuring new characters on both sides of the law, new high-line heists, and breathtakingly cinematic action sequences. Ranging from the streets of L.A. to the inner sanctum of a rival Taiwanese crime syndicate in Paraguay to a massive drug cartel money-laundering operation in Mexico.

Heat 2: The Writing Is Excellent

As stated above, this is one excellently written novel. The prose is quick and to the point and explains everything perfectly. It is a great example of how a crime novel should be. How the characters remain interesting all the way throughout. I found I was reading an extra hour longer as I turned the pages in excitement to read the next line or to know what would happen next.

Heat 2: The Exception

It’s not every day that a book based on a film is this good. We have grown accustomed to books based on films or books meant to be sequels or prequels to films being lackluster. We are used to someone other than the main writer of said film penning these books as more of a companion piece to the movie we all know and love.

But here, in the hardcover of Heat 2, we have a story lovingly written by its creator, Michael Mann & Meg Gardiner. Who has given us a taut thriller with exciting action and crime in which we can imagine the characters and actors from the movie in our heads as we read through the pages.

Heat 2 breaks the curse of the film adaptation by not treading the same waters but building upon the world of the film and its characters. The characters’ trajectory from where they start and where they end is a masterpiece of storytelling, and I hope if someone else ever makes a book from a movie, they follow Michael Mann’s footwork.

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