A Madness of Sunshine

by Nalini Singh
Berkley, December 2019, $27

Nalini Singh brings an unusual pedigree to A Madness of Sunshine: she may be a fresh name to mystery readers, but the Fiji-born author has already racked up 30 New York Times bestsellers, shelves full of awards, and legions of ardent fans. Open the pages of her prior books, though, and you’re likely to find passionate tales involving vampires, shapeshifters, archangels, and psychics. Singh is a high priestess of paranormal romance and caused a stir when she revealed her new book was a mystery.

A Madness of Sunshine shows that Singh’s storytelling talents translate across genre. This atmospheric tale begins with concert pianist Anahera returning to her tiny hometown on the rugged West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island, after many years of living an urban, creative life in London.

She’d never intended to live in Golden Cove again; it’s a place full of painful memories as well as old friends. Recuperating from the loss of her husband, and the betrayal revealed at his funeral, Anahera finds herself living in her mother’s old cabin near the sea. Will is a new cop in town, exiled from the city. When a vibrant young woman about to leave Golden Cove for her own adventures vanishes, Will and Anahera are caught up in a troubled community where memories of past tragedies resurface.

Is a killer lurking among them, or has danger arrived from the outside?

In A Madness of Sunshine, Singh adroitly shifts gears from paranormal romance to crime, crafting an immersive and near-claustrophobic sense of place as well as some fascinating characters that power an intriguing and twisting mystery. The primal nature of the West Coast environment, where human life is hemmed in by wilderness, is well portrayed, as are the personal demons Anahera and others are battling. While longtime Singh fans may miss the steamy sex or paranormal characters of her prior novels, mystery readers are likely to be well satisfied, and keen to see Singh return to the crime scene again in the future.

Craig Sisterson
Teri Duerr
December 2019