‘White Hot’: A Gripping Hallmark Mystery Set in the South


Given my mother’s partiality towards “cozy” mysteries novels, we often watch these kinds of stories on TV, too. One of the places you can find them is Hallmark Movies and Mysteries (Aurora Teagarden, Garage Sale Mystery or the classic “Mystery Woman” with Kellie Martin). Though it stands alone White Hot is a film that could have very well become their next franchise. 

TV MOVIE REVIEW | Christmas Incorporated (2015)
‘White Hot’: A Gripping Hallmark Mystery Set in the South. A 2016 review of the film with Sean Faris and Shenae Grimes-Beech

This tells the story of high-end interior designer Sayre Hoyle (Shenae Grimes-Beech). A decade ago, Sayre left her Louisiana hometown to pursue a life in San Francisco, away from her controlling family. She hasn’t looked back since that day. Until she receives a call that shatters her world; her brother, Danny has died. Though she left with bad words between her and her wealthy and powerful father (John Schneider), Sayre returns home to honor the memory of her brother. While there, she’s flooded with memories, both good and bad. 

As Sayre digs deeper into the mysteries surrounding her brother’s death, danger lurks around each corner and the close-knit town (controlled by her father, Huff) someone seem to prevents her search for the truth. Even as she begins to place trust in her father’s disarming lawyer, Beck Merchant (Sean Faris), she finds even he might not be all he seems.  

White Hot (2016) Hallmark Movies and Mysteries Review

From the moment this film opens on its spooky bayou frame, it screams “mystery.” Because of the network it lands on, the story presents a chilling mystery without being creepy or graphic. Instead, all of the out-of-frame violence or threat of it only enhances the sense of danger, which is always an ideal place to be when it comes to the art of mysteries. Keeping the audience hooked is what this script does, and heavens, this does it up right.   

Based on the novel, White Hot, this is unfortunately the only novel Sandra Brown wrote about these characters or that’s my understanding. But I cannot help the feeling there could be more to tell should a sequel ever be produced. Not so much because the story lends itself to “more” (the script wraps everything up), more because these characters are so interesting. Their lives and world is a fascinating one; I like that it’s about a family who has a kind of power struggle going on. The sets and homes are gorgeous (in a kind of ethereal way), too.

Also, can we talk about the name Sayre? It’s unique and I love it. Characters that have uncommon names stand out as memorable. Not only do I think she’s a fabulous character, Shenae also turns in a deeply emotional performance which is precisely what her character needs. Sean Faris (familiar to Hallmark fans, he previously starred in Christmas with Holly and The Lost Valentine) too is one of my favorite actors; he and Shane have great chemistry. Their relationship is a kind of tug-and-pull that keeps curious viewers glued to the screen. 

Though the script gest a tiny bit muddled at times with the litany of suspects, I still enjoy this far too much to counteract any of the (over the top?) gushing I’ve just written. As someone who tires of one particular plot point involving characters who return home, I also 100% approve of the way this one ends! Bottom line, this is a smart, stylish and snazzy thriller.

‘White Hot’: A Gripping Hallmark Mystery Set in the South. Stars Sean Faris ('The Lost Valentine') and Shenae Grimes-Beech. #Hallmark #Mystery #Movies #FWArchives Click To Tweet

Photos: Hallmark / Crown Media Press

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.


  1. After reading your review, I watched this one on Tuesday! It was so good! I loved Shanae and Sean together – and like you, I thought they had great chemistry. Thanks so much for sharing this one! I have to admit, I'm a little curious about the novel now. In fact, I just put it on hold at the library. ;)

    1. Bekah, I'd love to know what you think of the novel once you read it! I'm curious too, but right now, adding another book to my TBR would be silly. ;) Either way, I agree. This film was so good, and YES! I'm still loving the chemistry between these two; clearly they should be co-stars again. ;)

  2. I enjoyed this, Rissi. I live in Georgia, so I find southern settings especially appealing. Loved the casting of Sean and Shanae, and could feel the chemistry between them. I'm a Hallmark addict, what else can I say?!

    1. Ditto! I'm a Hallmark addict too, Carole and really (really) liked this one. So glad to know you did as well – and that you liked the Southern setting. :)

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