Publisher: Hachette Australia
Date: December 5th 2019
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
One chapter into a Madness of Sunshine I thought to myself “Nalini Singh has nailed it!” What has she nailed? The setting – it is so west coast South Island New Zealand. Reading into it I got that same feeling within when I fly in from overseas and see the hills and I know I am back in “my place”. As well as drawing for us the picture of the atmospheric west coast in all its beauty she is also able to give us the darker side of it. I also loved her use of Maori words, often she doesn’t give any translation – although in other places where it might be more difficult to intuit the meaning she gives a little added hint.
It is a murder mystery, a thriller really. There is a murder and some possible cold cases. I hate being in suspense, I am the kind of reader who will peek at the ending, but this time I didn’t. I changed my mind a few times about who it was. Just when I made up my mind something was placed before me to doubt that decision. This is not a fast paced action novel but rather a painstaking step by step sorting through the gathering of details. With the type of murder and the culprit finally exposed I just thought it is so true and reminded me of recent court cases that have taken place in recent times here in New Zealand. Chilling and yet real.
Two of the main characters are in this small town with secrets and dark backgrounds of their own. We have Will who is a police officer who has come to this small west coast town. I very much liked his caring approach to those he was there to protect. He was an excellent detective but had a case go wrong on him. Anahera has returned to her home place after her husband has died. She escaped from Golden Cove many years ago. Her life experiences have contributed to making her into a strong, compassionate woman. Slowly Will and Anahera work together to bring peace and justice to this twisted situation. And they learn to trust again, forming a very positive relationship. But note, the relationship is not centre stage, it’s the murder and mystery that takes that.
It’s good! I do prefer Nalini Singh’s paranormal novels but … she has a talent for this kind of a story. I highly recommend it.
As an aside I was interested and delighted to see New Zealand bookstores placing this book on their front tables. It has had good publicity on the radio as well. Nalini is a New York Times best selling author – but because paranormal is not widely read she goes under the radar. Her writing is so good she deserves to be to the forefront. I hope books like this raise her profile here!
A great review for this book can be found over at Caffeinated Reviewer – for the audiobook version. I notice Nalini Singh even included a quote from it in her recent newsletter.