Which way should she run today? . . . along the cliffs above the beach. . . along the beach? It was the light that decided her. . . [ the cliffs]. [She saw] a standing form in the distance. . . Her feet took her closer and closer. . .
“Oh,” she said coming to a stop; startled.
“I didn’t expect to see you here.”
Miriama, A Madness of Sunshine
About the Author
Nalini Singh is a popular novelist within the science fiction sub-genre of paranormal romance and fantasy romance. She is known for her extremely popular Psy-Changling and the darker sexier Guild Hunter Series.
A Madness of Sunshine is her first stand-alone thriller and devoid of her usual steamy scenes and beyond-the-normal characters. She has issued a warning to her most ardent fans, “[This book] is not written as a romance suspense or romance;” a fact that drew me to read the book. The book will be published in December, 2019.
The setting. Golden Cove. A fictional town tucked in the bush on the West Coast of South Island, NZ. “[A] primal and untamed landscape [with] trees born of ancient seeds and the ferns huge and green”; each fighting for dominance before reaching the jagged cliffs over looking the Tasman Sea and gorgeous beaches. A wild place where tragedy happened in the past when three visiting hikers disappeared into the bush without a trace over the summer. Present day, life has calmed and the disappearances of those three girls only a sad memory dragged out now and then.
The town recently received it first police officer, Will Gallagher; an exiled big city lawman with an award-winning career but a propensity for quick anger. A man, now seeking redemption.
A prodigal daughter leaves a highly successful music career in London to return to Golden Cove. Her husband’s sudden death and the discovery of his long-time infidelity the catalyst. She moves back into the run-down shack where she grew up. Annahera Rawiri hopes to live a life of solitude among the people she has always known and trusted.
Though the town’s population is small, it has the requisite mix of bad boys, rich landowners, dowdy housewives, and the community hub- Josie’s cafe. There in the cafe, among the daily crowd, works an achingly beautiful teenager, Miriama Tutaia, much beloved and the object of desire for every breathing male. A golden girl with a promising future in photograph.
Mirihama returns home after work and is unwilling to stay alone in the house with her slimy step-father. She changes into her running clothes and heads out on a little used hiking trail. . . and never returns.
The town is shaken to its roots. Is she injured? Or . . . reviving old memories of the missing girls. Has something evil invaded their isolated world again? From within the community or outside?
Will and Annahera, along with the residents of Golden Cove, join ranks to search for Mirihama. As the search is conducted, the atmosphere darkens. Annahera begins to see that time has changed her friends; some for the better and others for the worse. Will reveals himself to be a source of comfort and strength to all; and feared by those with something to hide.
A solid three-star effort. Fans expecting the author’s normal writing style might be a little let down. There are red herrings, plot twists, and a pinch of romance. The author took a chance on branching into a new genre. It is a good first try and hopefully will step-up in a future effort.