Frozen Heat: Review

Today together with Castle coffee and the season 4 DVD, Frozen Heat was released. The Examiner already reviewed the book.

Read their article here:

‘Frozen Heat’ offers an international conspiracy parallel to ‘Castle’s own story

“Frozen Heat,” the fourth Richard Castlenovel comes at a time when the series itself is much further ahead than the writer within the series’ own works. This makes sense: the time it takes to write a book and actually publish it means there is always going to be a twinge of hindsight in the written words. But in“Frozen Heat,” we realize just how far Castle itself has come by the steps the book revisits. Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion) may be creative, intelligent, and certainly ballsy, but does he have the gall to solve Cynthia Heat’s murder before Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) can solve her mother’s?
“Frozen Heat” starts off with a tongue-in-cheek nod to the fans who just want to see their beloved partners hook up. While the fourth season finale of Castle finally delivered that visual, on-screen, the Nikki Heat novels offered descriptive versions of their nights together much earlier. So when the book opens with Nikki having what would sound like a “sexy time” moment with Jameson Rook, only to reveal they are just spotting each other in the gym, it feels a bit like an unnecessary (and unfair!) tease.
Don’t worry, though, there is plenty of relationship goodness to come in subsequent pages, despite the dark turn (and high body count) the novel takes. What is great about Nikki Heat as a character is that she so closely mirrors Kate Beckett but is presented on the page, where description equals insight, not exposition. Much more can, and is, explored about her psyche in“Frozen Heat” because the story is told with the keen observational skills of Richard Castle. The things she may not want to acknowledge or admit to herself, he picks up on and reveals them to strengthen her character, as well as make her more sympathetic.
It may be unfair to compare “Frozen Heat” to Castle itself, though. After all, the Nikki Heat books are basically just Castle in an alternate universe. They can exist side-by-side, as a “What if?” scenario so bizarre, it is New York that experiences earthquakes. These novels, “Frozen Heat”certainly included, are written in great enough detail to visualize what they would look like with theCastle players in the roles. It’s a fun study to watch an already fictional story inspire another fictional story, adding new layers to the intricacies of these relationships. The events in “Frozen Heat” are ones supposed to be based on the “real” events Richard Castle witnesses while working with Kate Beckett and the NYPD. Admittedly, because we know where season five is going, and it’s finally doing all of the things we wanted it to, it’s hard to fully enjoy a version that, even if more highly stylized, goes a bit off the reality rails in the way such sensationalized mystery novels must to keep an audience’s interest. We know that; we accept that; but still, we just can’t help rolling our eyes at it from time to time.
“Frozen Heat” starts, as any good crime tale does, with a terrifying homicide image. True to the name of the book, “cold” is a theme here, with the first victim found in a freezer truck. But reminiscent of Dexter’s Ice Truck Killer, “Frozen Heat” is not, nor is the title so simply one-fold. In addition, it also reflects of Nikki Heat herself and her ability to “freeze people out” of her emotions, if not completely her life. She, like Kate before her, has put up a wall—a well-needed one after all the trauma she has been through, but one that makes her seem stand-offish, and yes cold, even to those she loves and who return the sentiment. Over the course of “Frozen Heat,” if you’ll excuse the easy term, she begins to thaw, learning she can and should trust her team, even with her family’s deepest secrets.
“Richard Castle” as an author and an auteur weaves his own twisty tale, pulling from the “true” story of his muse, Kate Beckett to add color and layers to his own fictional story within the story. Of course, “Frozen Heat” has its own take on the murder of the famed Detective’s mother, and as Heat works to solve the mystery in front of her, she finds herself digging into her own family’s past, forcing introspection and reexamination of herself.
Though we would have personally preferred much of the focus to be on the latter, exploring in details things that can only take mere moments on-screen or the audience tunes out, “Frozen Heat” in execution really is not such an internal tale. Revelations about Nikki Heat’s mother’s earlier years, friends, musical talent, and an event that set her on a completely new path, and even made her seem like a new woman, all enrich the Heat saga, but more attention is paid to pushing the plot along and uncovering a new secret or suspect than the toll these things are taking.
Additionally, “Frozen Heat” reaches at times for tired mystery tropes, including a drastic change in the setting when Nikki and Rook jet off to Paris for two days to talk to old friends of her mother’s. It’s a bold locale change, especially when unencumbered by budgetary restrictions, but it feels uninspired—like just checking something else off the list of ingredients needed for this genre’s formula. It’s the kind of thing mystery writers too often reach for when they have used up all of the other tropes and just need to make their story bigger, but not necessarily better, and in the end it creates a story so twisty, it’s left disappointingly unfinished.
Much of “Frozen Heat” is intriguing on its own, whether or not you’re a fan of Castle and the characters that inspired this tale. Of course, if you are a fan, you will get much more out of the little moments that occur around big events (a shooting at Nikki Heat’s apartment certainly screams volumes about how Richard Castle feels about Beckett’s old love interests, for example). In fact, there is a lot of commentary in the way Richard Castle writes Nikki Heat’s exes; forget “good enough” for her, no one other than Rook is good for her at all. There is a subtext to “Frozen Heat” that is not necessary to enjoy the reading but will certainly be a delight to those who do pick up on it. After all, how often do Richard Castle’s crazy theories pale in comparison to the direction the case actually takes? Mostly in his books, where he can utilize every big idea that tickles his fancy.
For a fun bonus, though, make sure you read the Acknowledgements. Though they are signed “R.C..” they are a fun combination of people in Castle’s life, as well as people in the actual show’s production, as well—from Kate, Ryan, and Esposito to their real life portrayers Katic, Seamus Dever, Jon Huertas, and of course Fillion and the man who made this all possible: Andrew Marlowe.
Castle returns to ABC on September 24th at 10 p.m. but you can buy “Frozen Heat” right here, right now.
Captain Founder, Administrator, Editor and Writer

The moment that I met you, my life became extraordinary. You taught me to be my best self, to look forward to tomorrow's adventures. And when I was vulnerable, you were strong. I love you, Richard Castle. And I want to live my life in the warmth of your smile and the strength of your embrace. I promise you I will love you. I will be your friend and your partner in crime and in life, always. - Kate Beckett The moment we met, my life became extraordinary. You taught me more about myself than I knew there was to learn. You are the joy in my heart. You're the last person I want to see every night when I close my eyes. I love you, Katherine Beckett. And the mystery of you is the one I want to spend the rest of my life exploring. I promise to love you, to be your friend, and your partner in crime and life, 'till death do us part, and for the time of our lives. - Richard Castle

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