A Killing Frost by R.D. Wingfield
My, it’s cold in here. It’s been about a month since I’ve written anything and that’s due in part to my Internet freezing up on me for nearly half of that time. (And may have consequently cost me my part-time writing gig – I hope not!) While I whiled away my time in this rather upsetting period, I had the opportunity to dive into my book backlog and see what was collecting dust. One book I decided to pick up off my shelf was A Killing Frost by R. D. Wingfield.
A Touch of Frost (the title of the second book in the Frost series) is probably more popularly known for the old ITV drama that ran from 1992 – 2010, starring everyone’s favourite cheeky salesman, Sir David Jason. I can’t say I really watched the show before; by the time it ended I would have been in my early twenties and even then probably too young to really take any notice, but I do remember my mum watching it and me being fairly interested in it, even if it was while I was playing my Gameboy. Nowadays I get a bit of a nostalgia kick from it and yes, I have watched a few episodes since! While Sir David Jason’s portrayal of the character isn’t quite what I have in mind when I read the books, he does a good job overall. When is a book’s character every truly represented on screen?
Admittedly I have watched many episodes yet. Maybe his later depiction is closer to the books. I hope so!
I picked these books up sometime last year after having a bit of detective drama stint on Netflix and the like, I looked to detective fiction, a genre that I don’t think I’d ever read before. When I was thinking about where I could start, the first that popped into my head was the Frost series. I had read previously that it was based on a book (as most things are – did you know that Inspector Morse is too?) but I never would have guessed back in the day. I’m glad I did find out in the end because what a delight they are!
A Killing Frost is the sixth book in the series and the last one written by its original author, R.D. Wingfield. While I wouldn’t advise this to anyone reading Frost for the first time, even if you did, you probably wouldn’t get too lost. I intended to wait until I had the missing ones before I moved onto this but I figured that they’re probably enclosed stories that don’t see too much continuity. While I feel this is true for the most part, there is a clear overarching timeline and always mentions of previous cases but with enough information so that you can follow the story well enough without having read the previous books. (Just watch out for those spoilers!)
Jack Frost is as he ever has been. A sloven detective that likes to cut corners, fiddle his receipts, smoke endlessly, showcase his misogyny without discretion, drink heavily and just be generally rude to everyone he meets. He’s fantastic. A character whom a lot of people now would be on Twitter demanding to be cancelled. It’s always nice to find something that is so far from the forefront of popular cultural that no-one cares enough to complain about it. Do I look up to him as a role model whom one day I would like to become? Hell no. Do I find him absolutely hilarious and would I like to see him raving in the streets one day as he busts a criminal? Hell yes.
I rarely laugh when reading but this book has me smiling nearly every other page. Frost’s one-liners are on point and his ‘unacceptable’ remarks about every one he meets are hilarious. The story and writing is as hectic and fast-paced as his previous outings, with Frost frantically jumping from case to case as he battles his nemesis Skinner who has been brought in to try and oust him from the Denton police at the behest of his superior.
Kidnap, murder, paedophilia… it’s all there! Each case blends very well with one another with logical connections and a bit of serendipity thrown in to help move things along. The action and pace really help those pages turn and not once did I feel bored while reading it. At over 550 pages, it might seem long at first glance, but each page is not so dense and the writing is very straight forward and easy to get through quickly without having to go back every now and again to see if you missed something. It might be worth a rest every so often, though, or you might end up as tired as poor Frost himself.
While I wouldn’t recommend the series to everyone, it’s a great book for anyone who likes detective stories and doesn’t mind a lot of political incorrectness in this modern age.