2018 Critiques: Book Critique – Frozen Heat (Nikki Heat #4)

For review of all books in this series: Go here

Stars: 3 / 5

Recommendation: If you like crime plots and follow closely how day-in and day-out law enforcement personnel solve a case along with tinge of romance and a boat load of twists that spin the plot like a top, then this is a perfect series to read through.

Frozen Heat is the fourth book in the series of Castle Books written by fictional author Richard Castle from the TV series Castle (portrayed by Nathan Fillion) published in September of 2012. The book released right before Season V of the TV show Castle (My review of the TV series here) aired for the first time. Naturally there are elements in this book that overlap between both Season IV and V.

The plot is set two months after the previous book Heat Rises (My review of the book here) concluded. NYPD homicide detective Nikki Heat is working with her love interest and journalist ride-along Jameson Rook who is recuperating from the bullet wound he had taken to protect Nikki two months ago. Romance going on sweet, cases being solved swiftly and all seems well in her world until she is called into a case one morning. The case of a dead woman inside a suitcase found in the freezer of a food truck that ties directly to the unsolved murder of her mother, Cynthia “Cindy” Heat – a case that had remained unsolved since past 11 years. And all hell breaks loose for Nikki Heat. Not only had she has to face hurdles from within her squad especially her commander Wallace “Wally” Irons, she had to go back in time to retrace the steps of her mother that lead up to her murder which wrenches her emotionally. Just as Jameson says Nikki knows that the best way to solve the case to start at the beginning of the cold case leading up to the current freezing one. And thus her journey goes to visiting her mother’s past inadvertently putting her in the path of a dangerous criminal who won’t hesitate to even kill her if it means stopping her to look into the old case.

What secrets does Nikki unearth that shatter her cozy little world? Where do all the clues lead Nikki and Jameson to is something the reader will have to find out as the plot proceeds. The quest to solver her mother’s case takes Nikki and Jameson from the heart of Manhattan to the romantic world in Paris, although the romance part gets overshadowed by the dangerous sides the clues take them. In the end will Nikki Heat solve her mother’s murder? What kind of closure does she get?

Richard Castle has spun a very strong plot that brings the most crucial cases of all for Nikki to solve. The story line is centered on the past more than the present bringing out hidden emotions from Nikki Heat as well as how it reflects on her relationship with Jameson Rook. Castle portrays her as a very strong person with walls that she puts up to protect her from any emotional damage. But her role amplifies further more when Castle throws in some of her past in the mix. It is very interesting to see how Nikki Heat balances it well and at the same time keeping her walls up. That is what makes her character more virile. Jameson Rook’s clowny attitude with a rough edge again forms a perfect complement to her tough demeanor with a soft inside – one can almost hear the gears clicking in whenever Jameson and Nikki meet. The chemistry is there, yet the romance part of the plot between Jameson and Nikki sometimes comes out as very basic. As a reader it made me feel the sweat and saliva that flows between them in such scenes – not sure if I should cringe at getting that feeling or applaud the author to make the reader feel those basic raw elements.

For the first time in this series of books, I stopped comparing the characters and scenes to the TV episode. I was pulled into the plot like a moth to a flame without needing any -added flim-flam. That in itself attests to how well the author has elevated in his writing. Keeping the reader engrossed to the plot at hand rather than taking them back to TV is a high note for me that this book achieved. However, there are still scenes that may remind us of the TV episode, but that is expected considering where the basis for this series came from.

Another successful book in the plot with intense elements, secret lives, hidden pasts and complicated clues. Definitely not an easy read as others so far, yet thoroughly entertaining.

Spoiler Alerts:

1) There is still no mention of any child or ex-wives for Jameson Rook yet unlike Richard Castle in the TV Show. Perhaps future books might have some reference.

2) It’s still a mystery as to who wrote truly wrote these books. Obviously not the fictional character Richard Castle or Nathan Fillion the actor who portrayed the role. Unlike Murder, She Wrote books (Check my reviews of this series here), the actual author of these books is really hidden deep.

3) Grammatical / Historical / Geographical / Character / Mythological Errors:

a. On Pg. 32, third para line 6, it should be “..forcing open the door…”. The “in” is not required between “the” and “door”.

4) Interesting places in NYC that Det4ective Nikki Heat and her ride-along Jameson Rook go to during their journey in this plot – places that I would like to visit too:

a. P. J. Clark’s on Lincoln Center – although a branch of the original P.J.’s, this one they go to is on Lincoln Center. More about the restaurant and it’s locations here. The original P.J. Clarke’s is famed to have been opened a hundred years ago as a saloon. More about its history here.

b. Indeed there are many variations of Ray’s Pizza locations in NYC, all independently owned but have similar logos, signs and menus. I am sure it drives the New Yorkers crazy in many ways. After reading about this so much in this Castle Books series, my mouth wants to try at least one of these locations. Perhaps next time when I am in NYC. More about this joint here.

c. Waffle and Dinges – a food truck that has physical locations too famed for its Belgian waffles. I had the opportunity to have these during one of my trips to NYC. More about them here. And true to what Castle mentions in the plot they had beat the famed chef Bobby Flay in a waffle throwdown. 


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