Desert Isle Keeper
A Madness of Sunshine
I’ve not read much Nalini Singh – just her Rock Kiss series – so, if you’re a lover of her paranormals, I can’t tell you whether this book is on par with those. I do, however, read scads of mystery and romantic suspense and, if you’re a lover of those genres, you’ll enjoy Singh’s first foray into the field, The Madness of Sunshine.
Anahera Rawiri fled the tiny, remote West Coast New Zealand town of Golden Cove eight years ago when she was 21. Now, reeling from the death of her famous London husband and the discovery of his perfidy, she’s come home. Golden Cove, however, is no peaceful haven but rather a place stalked by death and riven by secrets.
Fifteen years ago, three young women, tourist hikers, vanished and their deaths were never solved. Now, Miriama, the young beauty of the town, has disappeared and Anahera, like many who have grown up in here, suspects the crimes are linked. So does Will Gallagher, Golden Cove’s new and only detective, a man with a past as dark as the one Anahera ran from when she left. Together, as they try desperately to find Miriama, they exhume secrets some will kill to keep hidden.
Singh pulls out all the tropes here: a moody heroine, a man with a clouded past, a hamlet hiding horrors, a heretofore unknown serial killer and, overall, does these oft stock mores deftly. Golden Cove’s residents are each written with nuance as are the complex relationships they share. Sex, power, money, and violence shape all in the town and with each successive chapter Singh erodes the veneers almost everyone in Golden Cove wears.
I tore through this book. The mystery is compelling and Singh’s prose is evocative and precise. I felt the pelting rains, the crash of the sea, the all encompassing hold of the bush. Anahera and Will are both separately and together absorbing protagonists and although their romance is but a small part of this book, it’s a satisfying affair. The rest of the cast is diverse and distinct and the ways in which their pasts stamp the present is adroitly done.
One thing didn’t wow–thus the A- rather than an A. By the end of the book, it felt as though every man in the book other than Will was beyond fatally flawed. When the villain(s) were revealed, so many of the male characters had enough of a dark side that I began to wonder if there was something in the water in Golden Cove that turned men evil. This meant I wasn’t super startled by the bad guy(s)’s identity.
But my awareness of who did it came late enough in the book that I still was buoyed by the story until almost the very end. And I really did find the story – until the last few chapters – so riveting that I was irritated when anyone interrupted me while I was reading it. If you’re looking for an atmospheric, beautifully written suspense novel with a soupcon of romance I highly recommend this book.