Review: A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh

4.5 Stars

I wasn’t sure what to expect going into Nalini Singh’s first thriller, but I should have known I would absolutely love it. At this point, if she asked me if I would like to read her grocery list, I would say, “I adore groceries,” and read happily. While A MADNESS OF SUNSHINE is marketed as a thriller, I would categorize it as more of an atmospheric murder mystery. When I think “thriller,” I think “scary,” and while this book hummed with underlying tension, it wasn’t terrifying in a jump-scare way.

The story follows the disappearance of a young, beautiful woman in a small, remote New Zealand town. Our two main characters are the local police detective and the town’s prodigal daughter, who returned home after the death of her husband. There haven’t been any outsiders in their small town in days, so everyone is a suspect.

Now I am notoriously bad at guessing whodunnit, so my thoughts about who was responsible for the disappearance changed every chapter or two – by Nalini’s design. The guessing was so fun, though! Anytime I was sure of the villain’s identity, another clue or personality trait would reveal itself, and I would have three more suspects to consider. Nalini’s writing style really lends itself to mysteries because she is so good at giving each and every character hidden depths.

The real stars were the descriptions of the New Zealand landscape. The power of the ocean, the lushness of the wilderness, and the people who live respecting and understanding nature’s power – absolutely gorgeous. I loved that there was a romance, and yes, this is not a romance novel because it is absolutely a secondary plot to the mystery, but it made me happy amidst a pretty bleak plotline.

By the end of the book, when everything is wrapped up, Nalini’s messages become clear. They made me melancholy and forced me to think about gender roles, power dynamics, and manipulation.

I took off half a star because there were a lot of red herrings in this book, but some of them weren’t wrapped up by the end of the book, leaving me scratching my head a bit. What can I say? The romance reader in my likes a book with any and all subplots neatly tied up.

Overall, I just love Nalini Singh’s storytelling, and I could tell she had fun with this one, which added to my enjoyment.

**I received a free copy of this book in order to provide an honest review**

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