A Madness of Sunshine

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 03 Jan 2020

Member Reviews

Ms. Singh has been a long time favorite author whose writing has fueled many happy hours lost in her imagination.  While all her stories have painted their share of action, adventure and evil I was not quite sure what to expect from this contemporary dark sounding thriller. Rest assured fellow readers she packs the same sucker punch that she's always packed in her character and story development. Two lost and lonely souls connect at the side of the road leading to small town of Golden Cove in a remote corner of New Zealand. For Anahera, it's a homecoming to a town she couldn't wait to leave behind while for Will it's a banishment tucking him out of sight to be slowly forgotten.  For all it's natural beauty this small community in New Zealand seems to be shrouded in darkness.
The disappearance of the beautiful Maori girl on the threshold of spreading her wings and fly seems to bring all the latent darkness to the surface. As Will investigates, he finds dark threads in the histories of many of the young people who have wandered the world to return to this tiny community. Of course like all small towns, gossip is rampant.
Will and Anahera seem to be drawn together as they work to unravel not just the current disappearance but the reminder of the past where several hikers had once disappeared never to be found. Is there something sinister going on in this corner of the world? As the threads come together the answers will shock you as much as the townspeople.
A great read for readers of murder and suspense with some light romance.
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I don't usually read thrillers but Nalini Singh is such a favourite author of mine that she's an auto-buy no matter what genre she decides to write in. I was still a little nervous going into A Madness of Sunshine though because I really had no idea what to expect. It was very different to her other books with a much slower and more character driven plot that concludes in an action packed, edge of your seat finale and I found that I just couldn't put it down.

I really enjoyed getting to explore this small sleepy costal town in New Zealand through Nalini's eyes, we get an in depth look at the culture and atmosphere of small town living and it made me want to pack a bag and book a flight so I could go and explore Golden Cove for myself. There are a lot of secrets in this town, everyone seems to be hiding something and there were so many possible suspects that I really had no idea who was the killer. It was actually a bit disturbing the way most of the men in the town had such possessive and controlling feelings about the women around them.

Anahera left her hometown years ago and never planned to come back but after the death of her husband she just needs some time to lick her wounds and it's almost an automatic reaction to return to the place that is most familiar. So much about Golden Cove has stayed the same in her absence but there are some changes, like the addition of a permanent police officer, Will. It's only when a local girl goes missing, bringing back memories of past disappearances that haunt the town, that they realise there might be a killer still living among them.

I loved the slow build romance between Anahera and Will but that definitely wasn't the focus of the story. These are both complex and layered characters who have plenty of secrets to uncover and it was fun getting to know them but I do wish we'd found out a little more about Will, about his family and where he came from before he ended up in Golden Cove. I made multiple guesses about the killer along the way but I was never able to pin down exactly who they were, they were one of my suspects but pretty low down on my list.

A Madness of Sunshine was very different to my usual reads and very different to the books Nalini usually writes but I enjoyed it all the more because of that. I really hope she decides to explore this genre further in the future and I'll definitely be first in line to buy the books if she does.
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Wow, I really loved this book. It only had one flaw and I wish it didn't because it so deserved 5 stars.

It's a mystery/thriller set in a tiny Maori village in New Zealand. The best part of the book is getting to know this tiny place and the people in it. I loved learning a little about Maori culture, and the landscape of New Zealand. The characters are plentiful, and we get to know them all and their back stories and history and their good parts and their bad parts. You absolutely cannot be sure who the bad guy/girl is until all is revealed. 

I loved the main character of Anahera, and I was pretty fond of Will the town cop as well. Their characters meshed so well together, and their backstories made them incredibly interesting.  I would VERY happily read another book with either of them starring. Both characters have so much more to explore.

Going into the book blind, I was not expecting the sudden disappearance of one of the villagers who we had met. The mystery is complicated, with several intertwining plot lines, and a village full of interesting people you know are suspects but you hope none of them are the actual culprit/s. The story is very dark, and the reveals even darker, but at the end I was left with this magical feeling, a love of the wild New Zealand landscape, and a desire to read and know more. A madness of sunshine indeed.

I loved the book from the beginning, and barring a terrible ending I was sure it was going to get 5 stars from me. Unfortunately, there was a jarring sudden confession that didn't make much sense to me, and I wish that wasn't how the reveal came about. I just can't believe that this bad guy/girl would have taken so much time to confess like that. There is a second confession from another character that - although more believable - I also just... wish... I wish writers would find a way around this. I don't want characters just suddenly confessing everything. The confessions here did not ruin my enjoyment of this book, and I would *eagerly* read the next book from this author, but I also believe the author's talent belies the need for sudden and unnecessary confessions.

I was given an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I honestly wish I could give it five stars, but I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone and everyone. It is a GREAT read.
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Stepping into the mystery/suspense genre Nalini Singh introduces readers to the small town of Golden Cove, New Zealand and a newly widowed, classical pianist home again after a long absence. 

This is very much a character driven story as Ms. Singh slowly introduces all the inhabitants of this small town and the intricate, and sometimes messy, way they fit together. When a young woman, full of joy and life goes missing, every member of Golden Cove helps in the search, but this case brings back memories of three previous missing hikers from years before that were never found and readers can’t help but be suspicious of pretty much everyone as their backstories and motivations are revealed.

There is something to be said for setting a suspense book in such a beautiful, yet mysterious environment. It really set the tone for whole book. I stayed up well into the morning in order to finish because I really had to know how it all wrapped up. For fans of this author and her romances, there is a lovely romantic relationship that blooms between two of the main characters that ends with a definite HEA.

I ejoyed this first venture into suspense by this author and hope for more in the future.
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There’s a couple of things I wish would have been been tied up but ultimately they were unimportant. I’m just curious about it. However, this book gripped me from beginning To end. I read this in one sitting and it was Mind boggling. This was darkkkkkkkkkk. I was not expecting all of the twists and turns, she sets up who the killer is pretty early but the whys and how’s was insane! There is a romance but it’s not the main focus of the story. It was more of a side plot but still one that I enjoyed. If you’re a fan of pretty girls by Karin slaughter, I recommend.
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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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During much of my teen years, I read almost exclusively thrillers and romantic suspense novels because that's the genre my small community library had the most of. I loved them! But by the time I was a junior in high school, I was burnt out on them. Since then I've maybe read one or two a year which is sad now that I think about it.

When I heard that Nalini Singh was writing a thriller, I could barely contain my excitement but I was a bit wary as well. I'm still really tired of the young beautiful woman gets murdered as a start to the plot of a thriller and that what I got from the synopsis. I shouldn't have been worried. Everything I love about Nalini Singh's storytelling in her paranormal books were present in this book.

I don't want to say a lot about the book because I think the experience will be better if you go into the story semi-blind. I will say that the characters felt real. Nalini Singh added her signature touch to all the usual thriller characters like the town gossip, the jaded detective, the angry and hurt heroine, and the untrusting locals.  I loved the small romance subplot so much! It added to the mystery and made the book even more enjoyable for me. 

I loved the setting so much! The description of this small town in a remote part of New Zealand makes me want to go visit and she totally captured the atmosphere of a small town even if it was a bit gloomy and distrustful because of certain events. I also loved the elements of Maori culture in the book! It made the setting even more richer which I didn't think would be possible. As for the mystery, this was more of a slow burn thriller but I was kept guessing until the very end.

If you're looking for something different to your usual romance or SFF fare like me, I can't recommend picking up this book enough. Nalini Singh has resparked my interest in the thriller genre enough that I'll definitely be looking for more to add to my reading list for next year.
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Before reading A Madness of Sunshine I was unfamiliar with Nalini Singh's work, mostly because I do not read much in the genres in which she's written.  As I understand it, this is her first foray into mysteries; I hope she decides to write more.  Set in a remote coastal area in New Zealand, a four-hour drive from Christchurch, Singh's story is suffused with secrets: secrets held by residents native to Golden Cove, secrets held by newcomers, and secrets that are buried in the sands and cliffs of the rugged harsh terrain.  While Singh paints her setting and her characters vividly and with admirable depth, the story is a bit weak, especially for avid mystery readers.  There are multiple brutal murders of young women, spread over a number of years, but once all the characters are introduced and the story is set up, it is not difficult to determine "who dunnit."    I could have done without the romantic scene; nevertheless, Singh is a talented writer and she holds the reader's interest through the end.  A Madness of Sunshine is a good read that will bring rewards to its many readers.
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Such a nice surprise, I really like it!It was a long time since I read a book from this author and I find this one refreshing!I was intrigued and excited about this one!This story is set in New Zealand and I find it atmospheric!

It's twisted, dark and I was hooked from the very beginning!I'm looking forward for more books like this from Nalini Singh!
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After the death of her mother, Anahera Rawiri escaped her small town on the western coast of New Zealand to fame and fortune in London.  Following a failed relationship, she returns to find that little is changed except for the new local detective, Will Gallagher who has his own secrets.  When a beautiful and talented local girl goes missing, it appears similar to other disappearances that occurred when Ana was younger. It seems like Ana and Will are not the only one with secrets and who could be responsible for the missing women.  Beautifully told with the backdrop of the wild coast of the South Island of New Zealand.
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A Madness of Sunshine is a complicated, compelling story that addresses the pain posed by the title of Thomas Wolfe’s famous book, You Can’t Go Home Again. This pithy description of the plot illustrates why readers will be drawn by the story.

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.

Anahera’s ticket out of Golden Cove (a fictional village), the remote town where she grew up, was her extraordinary musical talent—she is a world-class pianist and performer. It took something earthshattering to make her go home: “She returned home two hundred and seventeen days after burying her husband while his pregnant mistress sobbed so hard she made herself sick.” Edward, her upper-class English husband, betrayed her and left her a widow. She didn’t know until after his massive, out-of-the-blue heart attack that he had a mistress, let alone her fertile status. In less than a year, Anahera leaves her career and way-of-life behind. The contrast between London and Golden Cove defies description.

Edward had liked cities.


He and Anahera had never driven through such a primal and untamed landscape together, the trees born of ancient seeds, and the ferns huge and green and singing a song of homecoming.


Tauti mai, hoki mai.


And this moment, a whisper from the end of her journey, she stood on a jagged cliff looking over the crashing sea below as fog wove through the treetops, a light misty rain falling and dissipating before it ever got to her.

On the road from Golden Cove to her dead mother’s remote cottage, Anahera’s Jeep starts acting up: “It spluttered and hiccuped again before going dead.” Anahera muses that “Fate sure had a sense of humor,” since years earlier an angry young girl “left this town in her dust” and here she was again, “dusty and travel worn.” When a police car pulls up, it surprises her because wasn’t the town too small to warrant a police presence? She sizes up the cop.

Thirty-something, with a hardness to his jaw and grooves carved into his face, as if he’d seen things he couldn’t forget—and they hadn’t been good things.


His hair was dark, his skin that light-brownish tone that made it difficult to tell if he was just tanned, or if he had ancestors on her side of the genetic tree.

Nalini Singh was raised and lives in New Zealand. A Madness of Sunshine doesn’t condescend to readers; it is through inferences and Maori phrases that Anahera’s ethnicity is made obvious. The Golden Cove townspeople are a diverse group and their varied backgrounds and economic status are relevant to Anahera’s departure and return. She reconnects with friends and acquaintances, friends of her mother, childhood companions and is particularly struck by a vibrant sun-lit woman, a gifted photographer who is on her way to Wellington in six weeks due to winning a coveted internship. Miri, short for Miriama, works at Josie’s café: Josie is Anahera’s oldest friend, the only person with whom she has stayed in touch over the years.

A slender long-legged girl, with a face so radiant that it stopped the heart and made Anahera suddenly, viscerally afraid for her, smiled back at Josie from behind the counter.


“Anything for you, Jo,” the girl said, moving to the gleaming coffee-making apparatus with a dancer’s grace. “Kia ora, Ana.”

A few days later Miri’s Aunt Matilda phones Will, worried and distraught. Her niece had gone out for a run before dinner and four hours later, she’s not home. Will immediately sets in motion a methodical search and rescue operation but days later, Miri is still missing.

Will has no idea the memories that Miri’s disappearance has evoked. Eight years earlier, three young female hikers disappeared.  Ordinarily, this would be a news story that captured everyone’s imagination for weeks and months. How could three hikers vanish, virtually without a trace? Although there were searches, when they turned up empty, the harsh land surrounding Golden Cove was blamed. That was until a bracelet appeared.

Anahera remembered hearing the news about the two missing women, but lost hikers were pretty standard in the region and she’d been a teenager awash in summer.


But the third missing hiker… that had ended the sunshine.


The gold identity bracelet found in their teenage hangout, the swarm of police, the beach flapping with crime scene tape, it had brought down the hammer on all their childhoods.

The discovery of the gold bracelet broke up the close-knit band of teenagers who did everything together even though even then there were class conflicts and unspoken difficulties at home. Somehow in those halcyon days on the beach, all that was forgotten. Almost all of them left Golden Cove and scattered to the four winds but eight years later, they’re back together. Miri’s effect on the townspeople reminds Anahera of past incidents—competition over scholarships, romantic rivalries, family and spousal abuse—and she wonders if history is repeating itself.

Read a New Excerpt of Nalini Singh’s A Madness of Sunshine
Will, the new guy on the scene, is a guarded, psychologically wounded detective who was exiled to Golden Cove. Why? No one knows, and Will isn’t saying. But he’s a dogged investigator and he senses that past secrets may be connected to Miri’s disappearance. Miri’s Aunt Matilda tells him that although for a time the town feared that a serial murderer/rapist was behind the missing hikers, in time they came to believe that “we don’t really have those kinds of killers here.”

Will had always wondered if that was true, because it was equally possible that New Zealand did have serial killers, but that no bodies had ever been found. If you wanted to disappear bodies in a sparsely populated country covered in dense forests and jagged mountains, deep lakes and rivers fed by glacial melt, the landscape itself would be your coconspirator.

There you have it: a disappearance that ties the past to the present, in subtle and meticulous detail. Singh’s story examines the memories of youth and the fraying and morphing of friendships over time. Understanding how the past impacts the present is sometimes best undertaken by an outsider with fresh eyes, like Will but Anahera is unsparingly honest with herself, and courageously stands up for Miri, following every lead and tapping into her unexamined past in Golden Cove.

Set aside the weekend before starting A Madness of Sunshine because it’s unputdownable. Check out your airline miles too because after you finish, you may want to accept Nalini Singh’s invitation to visit her “distant country.” In her words, “Come visit. It’s lovely and dangerous and beautiful,” much like her book.
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A decorated officer of the law makes a mistake that has his career derailed, sending him to the middle of now-where New Zealand.

A townie who made it, who now is returning to her routes after realizing life on the outside wasn't what she dreamed of.

A beautiful young woman, Miriama, has gone missing after jogging into the bush. As the detective, Will, searches for clues with the help of Anahera, the returning townie, into Miriama's disappearance. unexpected town secrets bring into question even their closes friends and neighbors. Everyone always said there's no secrets in a small town. That might hold true for some secrets but then there are secrets that are so dark, they were never meant to see the "sunshine".

A Madness of Sunshine is a mystery thriller that will chill you straight to your bones. Singh pens a tale of mystery, intrigue and betrayal that will have you white knuckle reading till the wee-hours of the morning...and leaving you in a complete book withdraw after you are through.

I received this ARC copy of A Madness of Sunshine from Penguin Publishing Group - Berkley. This is my honest and voluntary review.
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I am a huge fan of this author. I have been so looking forward to this book since it was first teased. I think that perhaps I went into this with expectations that were too high. I found that it was a slow moving plot. Unfortunately this title did not work out for me. However I will continue reading this authors work. I feel like this was a “one off” for me as I typically enjoy her writing style. This one just moved too slowly for me.
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A MADNESS OF SUNSHINE by Nalini Singh is a contemporary, adult, mystery thriller focusing on the search for a missing young woman in the town of Golden Cove, New Zealand. 

 Told from dual third person perspectives (Will and Anahera) A MADNESS OF SUNSHINE focuses on the search for a potential killer.  Years earlier pianist Anahera Rawiri left Golden Cove, New Zealand on the hunt for something better only to return with her tail tucked between her legs after discovering her now deceased husband had a mistress and a baby on the way. But days after her arrival, nineteen year old waitress Miriama Tutaia goes missing, and Anahera finds herself playing second banana to the town’s one-man law enforcement Will Gallagher.  As the search for Miriama brings together the eclectic people of Golden Cove, a series of unsolved cases of  missing girls from years before begins to develop a pattern, and the possibility of a serial killer amongst the people of the close-knit town of Golden Cove. 

A MADNESS OF SUNSHINE is a story of secrets and lies;  betrayal and revenge. The small town of Golden Cove, New Zealand suffered little in the way of crime therefore a one-man law enforcement team was more than the town required but a missing person, and the possibility of a serial murderer in their midst meant Will Gallagher  was about to push buttons, and everyone became a suspect in the disappearance of Miriama Tutaia. Anahera Rawiri never wanted to return to Golden Cove-too many demons, and bad memories of days long ago but with her return came the possibility of starting over, and meeting  Will Gallagher meant a second chance at a happily ever after but not before they discovered the person(s) behind the disappearance and murder of several girls.

Nalini Singh pulls the reader into a slow building story of intrigue and suspense.  The romance between Will and Anahera is secondary to the plot, as the story unfolds one clue and suspicion at a time. The premise is edgy; the numerous characters are colorful and animated; the romance is passionate but more or less independent from the story line premise.

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A disappearance in a small coastal New Zealand community is only the small stone dropped into a pond sending out ripples that rock so many people as dark shadows that have remained hidden start to surface.  Atmospheric, slow-build, and twisting, A Madness of Sunshine was engrossing from cover to cover.

A Madness of Sunshine begins when the prodigal returns to her home village after shaking off it’s dirt years before.  Anahera was the toast of London as a concert pianist before her husband died and she learned a painful truth when she shared the graveside grieving with his mistress and their children.  The solace of her late mother’s rustic cabin by the sea is where she runs to and the comfort of the old, familiar.  But, then a bright and gorgeous young woman goes missing and she is assisting the village cop.  He is as broody and angry on the inside as she so she is drawn in.

Will was transferred from the force in Christ Church after a long successful career to the backwater of a coastal, tourist town to keep the peace.  It could have been humiliating for a man with his career, but it was just the sort of uncomplicated out of the way thing he wanted.  Then he had a real case and felt himself coming alive again because he was needed in spite of his past guilt.  Or maybe, he was feeling alive because of the hard woman with the stormy, pain-filled eyes?  Either way, his instinct says its no accident victim they’re hunting.

I’ve read her contemporaries, her paranormal romances, and urban fantasies making me an addicted fan.  This thriller was fabulous.  Even the setting felt like a character to go with the layered and complicated cast of characters and the plot that was teased out so that the tension had me holding my breath at that crucial point.

Will and Anahera were great characters.  They were broody and had tough situations to get past, but they were strong and didn’t tend to wallow.  I liked when he was on the case and brought her into his investigation because they played well off one another.  This was not strong on overt romance, but the low key sizzle of attraction and the sensuality that sparked alongside their partnering kept me in high anticipation when they could work past the troubles in the present and their personal lives to bring what they had out into the open.

The mystery is dark and gritty, but felt like a modern gothic Maori-style.  I figured out who the villain was, but that still didn’t bring me to a solution.  Let’s just say it got complicated and I couldn’t figure out how certain things tied together.  I was not frustrated and flipped pages madly especially toward the end when the pace had increased to a storm gale speed and lashed at me to get through the dangerous part.

Oh yes, we have a winner here, folks!  I want more thrillers from this author.  Fans don’t hesitate to try her in this new genre and newbies, just pick it up and anticipate wanting more.
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Ummm….WOW!   I have to start with that since it is the thought that just came coming back into my head with every word I read, every page I turned, and every chapter I started.   The thing that pulled me in from the beginning is the setting of New Zealand.  I dream of visiting there and I love to read books set there.   Golden Cove is a beautiful setting for this book.  I love the small, off the beaten path town.  The people there were neighbors, friends, and family.   The gossip ran wild but most importantly they stick up for each other, protect each other, and love each other.    

Anahera and Will’s interactions were interesting.    I was intrigued to see if they would become friends or foes.     I could feel the mutual attraction but I was not sure that would be enough for them.    Anahera knew the town and the town people and Will had the knowledge to enforce the law, follow the clues, and solve crimes.  Will had no prejudices since he was new to town where Anahera had feelings towards the town people.    

I have to say that I had ideas, I started at the beginning and paid close attention to who was talked about, what was said, and who said it.    I should have taken notes because I am sure I forgot some of the clues but I did have an idea who dun-it.  

A Madness of Sunshine is a book I’d recommend to anyone who loves small town mysteries.    Nalini Singh wrote a great book that pulled me in from the very beginning with her amazing setting and wonderful characters.
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I actually picked this book out because Bookriot said it was my perfect mystery. They were not wrong, I loved this book. Without saying to much I can say that this was an amazing story with characters that you really understand and sympathize with. I was surprised to see this genre switch in this author, but she pulls it off flawlessly. It even sent me in the direction of her other books. I look forward to rereading this book in the new year, and exploring other titles by this author!
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When Anahera’s husband dies, she decides to return home to Golden Cove, a little town in New Zealand where she grew up. But soon after her arrival, a popular young woman goes missing, and it’s up to Anahera and the town’s sole cop to figure out what happened to her.  Nothing is as it seems, and this little town has more than its fair share of suspects…

A Madness of Sunshine is an engaging read from its very first line. While engaging, it is a slower read, and Singh puts an emphasis on building the town and its characters prior to introducing the overall mystery.  The plot takes on the characteristics of an Agatha Christie mystery.  Whatever happened to Miriama, it’s clear from the beginning that someone in town knows what happened to her. It becomes evident that we already know the character responsible for her disappearance, and it’s up to Anahera and Tom to find out who.  While reading the book, I wrote the note “these people are all assholes”, and that’s true. There are so many potential murderers/psychopaths, that it seems like anyone could be responsible for Miriama’s disappearance. 

This novel is told from two perspectives, that of Anahera and Tom. Anahera has returned home to the small town after her husband’s heart attack. She learned after his heart attack that he’d been having an affair, and she needs to come to terms with her grief and the knowledge that she will never be able to confront the man that she once loved.  This makes for a beautiful character arc throughout the novel as she faces this internal struggle.

Tom is a former hero cop, but something in his past happened that resulted in him being sent to become this town’s sole police officer. It’s clear from the beginning that this is meant to be a romantic suspense, but I felt that the two had very little chemistry, and I wasn’t even sure if I was reading the signals right until they fell into bed together. The romance felt forced to me, like Singh wanted this to be a romantic suspense, and she felt that she had to push two lovers together who might have been better as friends.  I’m a fan of her paranormal romance series, so I know for a fact that Singh is capable of writing passionate romance, but this book did not deliver on this front. As a lover of romantic suspense, I felt this is definitely more of a thriller, and the romance is another twist in the plotline, rather than a major appeal of reading this book. As mentioned before, the focus of this story is on the plot rather than their romance, so if you weren’t expecting a romance subplot, then you won’t be disappointed.

Setting & Language 
To me, the setting is the major appeal of this novel. Set in a small town in New Zealand, it quickly becomes evident that the author knows this setting like the back of her hand. Singh has a fabulous way with words, and the way she describes the landscape clearly painted a picture in my mind. Even the title of the book “A Madness of Sunshine”, clearly demonstrates her handle of language and her ability to manipulate words to elicit conflicting emotions in the reader. The descriptions are beautiful, and the dichotomy of such a beautiful setting with such a horrific plotline makes for an engaging and fascinating read.

I recommend this book to anyone looking for a thrilling mystery with beautiful prose, captivating characters, and a hint of romance.

*Thank you to NetGalley and Berkley for the advanced reader copy for review*
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Prepare to be swept away to a small New Zealand town that’s as beautiful as it is treacherous in A Madness of Sunshine. Nalini Singh’s thriller debut is as engaging and evocative as I would expect from a writer of her caliber.

Golden Cove is an isolated community where everyone knows everyone. But do they really? For even in a place like this, people have their secrets. Anahera Rawiri, a gifted, renowned pianist, has returned home after years away. Anahera is strong, kind, and recovering from pain and betrayal. Everything and nothing has changed about Golden Cove when Anahera returns; many of the people she once knew as well as herself are familiar strangers. The most interesting new addition? Detective Will Gallagher, Golden Cove’s one-man police force. Will is as strong and focused as Anahera. He also has demons of his own he’s facing, ones that are the reason he was sent out to the bush. Sparks fly immediately between Will and Anahera, but it’s their “otherness” – Anahera’s from her time away and Will from his newness to Golden Cove – that draws them together when tragedy strikes and a young woman goes missing. Her disappearance stirs up old ghosts and hidden shame from one summer years ago when three other women vanished.

Ms. Singh serves up an interesting double mystery in A Madness of Sunshine. The present day search for a missing young woman intertwines with the disappearance of three hikers back when Anahera was a teenager and each mystery is engaging in its own right. I loved watching the pieces unfold, loved how the lush landscape Ms. Singh details plays into the story itself. I also enjoyed uncovering the layers of the town and its residents. The sordid secrets were all interesting as they were unearthed and I liked feeling like I was digging deeper into many of the characters with each passing page. Though it is set a world away, in many ways A Madness of Sunshine reminded me of Nora Roberts’s romantic suspense titles from fifteen – twenty years ago (think Carolina Moon). It’s not the plots themselves, but rather the cadence of the story and the patterns of the characters that felt familiar (not a bad thing). The only downside is that I felt the mysteries weren’t too…well…mysterious.

A Madness of Sunshine is beautiful and dark, just like the world of Golden Cove. Even though I would have wished for a few more surprising moments, I still thoroughly enjoyed this book. Ms. Singh’s writing sucked me in each time I picked up the book and I loved watching Anahera and Will put the pieces together over the course of the story. Though my first love will always be Ms. Singh’s paranormal romances, I would dive into another thriller by her in a heartbeat.
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A Madness of Sunshine is Nalini Singh's first thriller and the writing keeps you on your toes at every turn. It's fascinating to contrast her style here with her PR and UF writing. The lush descriptions and lyrical prose are entwined with the edge of suspense and never ending mystery.

There are so many mysteries in this book! Anahera's past is slowly unravelled, as is Will's, and readers can see what has led them to be in Golden Cove at this time. It was so atmospheric on the coast, I could feel the bleakness of the ocean and the characters. 

How much did the story draw me in? I'm writing this at 5 AM because I couldn't put the book down and then I couldn't sleep after finishing it. There was a great cast of suspects and various potential clues, even in a small town setting where everyone thinks they know everyone else. And they'll hide their secrets, including from their sole police officer, Will. When Miriama disappears, those secrets come out of the woodwork at a steady pace. Who can Anahera and Will trust? Her memories and time away provide a different perspective to his outsider's view.

Readers will enjoy the twists and turns of the various mysteries. How well can you really know someone? It seems that their disappearance is the fastest way to find out that you don't know them at all. Highly recommended for mystery fans who want to be kept up late and those looking for a unique setting. I'm ready to read more books set in New Zealand, especially if Nalini Singh is writing them.
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