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Review: Deadly Heat by Richard Castle

Picking up where Frozen Heat left off, top NYPD Homicide Detective Nikki Heat pursues the elusive former CIA station chief who ordered the execution of her mother over a decade ago.

For the hunt, Nikki teams once again with her romantic partner, Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist Jameson Rook, and their quest for the old spy and the motive behind the past murder unearths an alarming terror plot-which is anything but ancient history. It is lethal. It is now. And it has already entered its countdown phase.

Complicating Heat's mission to bring the rogue spy to justice and thwart the looming terror event, a serial killer begins menacing the Twentieth Precinct and her homicide squad is under pressure to stop him, and soon. The frightening murderer, known for his chilling stealth, not only has singled out Nikki as the exclusive recipient of his taunting messages, he then boldly names his next victim: Detective Heat.

We are all connected to the people we care about, and some ties are stronger than others. For example, a tie to a romantic partner is thicker than to a friend, but a tie to a romantic partner is different than the tie to a parent. When that person is lost to us forever, especially in a way that we don’t know why, we feel like the string is still attached to us somehow, and is looking for a place to reconnect. This is something Nikki Heat has had to feel for the past ten years.

Ten years ago, while on the phone with her mother at the supermarket, Nikki overheard an intruder come into the house and hear her mother’s screams as she was murdered before Nikki arrived back at the house. She changed her major from theatre to criminal justice, and became an NYPD Detective, determined to find the answers as to why her mother had been murdered when she was just a separated, middle-aged piano teacher with one daughter

This novel is a sequel to the fourth book in the series, Frozen Heat, where Nikki finally finds evidence that can reopen the investigation into her mother’s murder, and takes her on an international inquiry to find just what her mother did that caused her to be stabbed in cold blood while Nikki helplessly ran back to her house to find her mother no longer with her. 

The identity of the murderer is not revealed until the beginning of this book, where we find that Nikki has been trying to track him down with the help of her partner, both romantic and semi-professional, journalist Jameson Rook, in order to finally find the justice she has been searching for to cut the ties of longing to be with her mother again. However, just as Nikki is getting hot on the trail, a serial killer begins tormenting the city she loves, and announces his next victim: Nikki Heat herself.

The books are a correlation to the comedy-crime drama, Castle, on ABC.  In the television show, Richard Castle is a crime novelist who is shadowing Detective Beckett, who is his inspiration for the character of Nikki Heat. Jameson Rook is based on Castle himself, and the supporting characters of the novel are based on the supporting characters of the television show. You are able to catch many similarities between the dialogue and quirks between the characters of the novel if you also watch the show.

That being said, I would recommend this novel if you are a fan of the show. While the characterization, dialogue, and plot are not necessarily bad, they are not necessarily spectacular either. There are a couple of twists here and there that may catch you off guard, but unless you are able to get a connection to characters and jokes you are already familiar with after watching the show, there really is nothing new to gain from reading this novel. 

Reviewed by Mercedes Olivas

Book Information
Publisher: Hyperion
Publication date: 9/17/2013
Pages: 304

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