2018 Critiques: Book Critique - Deadly Heat (Nikki Heat #5)

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.

Deadly Heat is the fifth 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 2013. The book released right before Season VI 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 V and VI. The plot also kind of forms a sequel to the fourth book Frozen Heat (My review of the book here) as the background story plot continues although Nikki Heat is pulled into a new very complicated case.

The plot in this book begins where it ended for Nikki Heat and Jameson Rook in Frozen Heat. She solves her mother Cynthia “Cindy” Heat’s murder and gets some of the key players identified. However before she could even make an arrest everything blows up in her face and her trail goes cold. Not one to give up, Nikki Heat along with her romantic partner two-time Pulitzer Prize journalist Jameson Rook, pursues on the remaining threads she has on the case fully trusting her journalist partner. However, before she could go any further she is pulled into a murder investigation that leads to a serial killer. Struggling to bring closure to the people who had killed her mother, she is faced with a serial killer who is fixated on her and even has named her as his next victim. How Nikki and Jameson ride through the clues and trails in solving both cases is what the rest of the plot follows.

As always with Nikki Heat books, Richard Castle puts rigors on Nikki and Jameson’s relationship as the plot moves along. Sometimes it drives me crazy to see so much going on with these two. Yet Jameson Rook’s clowny attitude with a rough edge as always  forms a perfect complement to Nikki Heat’s tough demeanor with a soft inside. This time around though Castle also adds politics that come down at Nikki from all directions including other domestic and foreign law enforcement organizations that go by big letters.

The chemistry is there, yet the romance part of the plot between Jameson and Nikki sometimes comes out as very basic. With other romance writers I always felt the romance part between the characters as a natural segue. However with Nikki and Jameson it always felt staged and basic. Perhaps it is because these characters are based in the TV show Castle characters or perhaps it is because reader knows that they are acting a scene. Whatever the reason the romance part always threw me off in Nikki Heat books. Again in this book too 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. However Richard Castle brings in some elements from Castle TV show that inadvertently takes the reader to the TV show too -  referring to have Nathan cast the part of Jameson Rook’s book certainly ties in the original TV show at the same time it turns everything into a crazy spin by connecting them, at least for a second as a reader I felt so.

Jameson Rook seems to be interested in Janet Evanovich novels. However for me she never clicked. I read Sizzling Sixteen in her Stephanie Plum series but somehow could not latch on to it. May be I should give it a try again. Perhaps she might click now. There is off-hand mention of John le Carré books too. Nikki Heat also uses the famous Lewis Carroll phrase “Curiouser and curiouser!” from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. These references clearly show that Richard Castle has a penchant for fiction that he translates into his characters.

Compared to the previous plot, I could guess a few parts but most part it had been tightly written. 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, even though the author left hope and scope of connecting to this plot again sometime in future.

Spoiler Alerts:

1) 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.

2) A brief mention of the Japanese game Kendama reminded me of my childhood when I used to own such a toy and play with it. More about the toy here.

3) One of the antagonist in the plot, Carey Maggs, owns a brewery called Brewery Boz that manufactured Charles Dickens themed beer. I googled to see if there is any such beer out there but couldn’t find any real reference to it.

4) Another parlor game is mentioned – Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon – which essentially is based on Six Degrees of Separation concept. I have always wanted to play this themed game. May be next time for a girls night I should do this. More about the game here.

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

a. On Pg. 207, para 2, line #1 the forensic specialist is mentioned as “he” while in the immediate next line the “he” becomes “she”.

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