A Madness of Sunshine, Nalini Singh
It's always interesting when an author best known for non crime fiction works steps into the genre. The author of A MADNESS OF SUNSHINE is better known for her paranormal romance works, of which there are around thirty New York Times bestsellers.
Fans of crime fiction specifically will probably not notice this background at all, as this novel is told in pure crime fiction style, with a touch of romance and absolutely no paranormal elements in view. Instead the sub-story is that of Anaherea, world famous concert pianist, and new cop in town, Will. Anahera is returning to her childhood home town on the rugged West Coast of New Zealand's South Island, after many years living in London, the sudden death of her husband, and the news of his betrayal. She's returning to live in her mother's old cabin near the sea, a non existent relationship with her father, and some memories that she needs to process. Will, meanwhile has been exiled to the small town after a big case gone bad in the city. These two find themselves increasingly drawn together when a young woman with seemingly everything to live for, goes for a jog one day and vanishes.
There's a strong sense of place and atmosphere in this novel, and it sits within the small town environment particularly well, revealing the complicated relationships, friendships and falling outs that occur in those places; combined with a good cultural perspective that's well nuanced. There's romance and a bit of "will they / won't they" tension for those that like that aspect, and it's well plotted with plenty of layers to the story of the missing young woman. There's also the idea that the missing woman is beautiful, and that's commented on a lot, and the reactions / behaviour and portrayal of some of the local men that sometimes wavered between illuminating and titillating.
Having said that, for this reader, this was a page turner of a novel, well written, nicely balanced between crime investigation and the personal, with a standout sense of place and culture. Very readable, very engaging and you can see the potential this has for an ongoing series.
New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh welcomes you to a remote town on the edge of the world where even the blinding brightness of the sun can’t mask the darkness that lies deep within a killer…
On the rugged West Coast of New Zealand, Golden Cove is more than just a town where people live. The adults are more than neighbors; the children, more than schoolmates.
That is until one fateful summer—and several vanished bodies—shatters the trust holding Golden Cove together. All that’s left are whispers behind closed doors, broken friendships, and a silent agreement not to look back. But they can’t run from the past forever.
Eight years later, a beautiful young woman disappears without a trace, and the residents of Golden Cove wonder if their home shelters something far more dangerous than an unforgiving landscape.
It’s not long before the dark past collides with the haunting present and deadly secrets come to light.