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About A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh

Anahera Rawiri left New Zealand at twenty-one, fleeing small-town poverty and the ghosts of her childhood with no plans to look back. But eight years later, she returns, seeking familiarity as respite from the shattered remains of her new life. And despite the changes brought on by a bump in tourism–the shiny new welcome sign at the town line and a decidedly less shiny new police presence–Golden Cove appears much as it ever was: a small settlement on the savage West Coast of the South Island, populated by all the remembered faces and set against a backdrop of lush greenery, jagged cliffs, and crashing waves.

Detective Will Gallagher knows all about ghosts; his own chased him out of a promising career in Christchurch, landing him as the sole cop in a quaint town where his most pressing concerns are petty theft and the occasional drunk. When Golden Cove resident Miri Hinewai goes out for a run and fails to return, Will finds himself heading up a missing person’s search that rapidly escalates into an official investigation after this case is connected with similar ones from the past. As an outsider, Will begins to rely on Anahera’s knowledge of the area and its residents to help him delve into Golden Cove’s secrets, and to determine whether it shelters something far more dangerous than just an unforgiving landscape.

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Review of A Madness of Sunshine

Nalini Singh, the very popular author of many paranormal romance novels, has made a very decisive mark in a new genre for her.  A Madness of Sunshine is the contemporary suspense novel I am looking for when I choose to read that genre.

Never having been to New Zealand, the setting adds to the suspense for me, while also serving as a national tourism advertisement. Singh’s descriptions of the shores and mountains and woods make the land sound as mysterious as it is beautiful.  The local residents’ connection to the land resonates even in Anahera who has been away from her home for eight years.

Anahera’s coming home story is woven into the suspense and the hunt for the missing girl. The local detective, Will, also has a past that will guide/sway his determined search until the girl and the culprit are found.  I appreciated that the main characters past was only revealed in pieces, giving me the opportunity to get to know them as they got to know each other.

The suspects are many.  Because Anahera has been away for so long and because Will is new to the town, so many of the local residents of Golden Cove seem suspicious.  I found it hard to settle on a guilty party, though there was one tale of the past that did start steering me to possible perpetrator.  But there are plenty of tales of the past to muddy the waters.

By the time I got to the end, I was not surprised, though I was just as horrified by the tale as the residents of Golden Cove.  The complex mystery, vivid characters and a homecoming story with a twist make A Madness of Sunshine fresh, gritty, and real.  I am very happy Nalini Singh has decided to branch out in this new direction.

Through Netgalley, the publisher provided a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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