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A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh

Welcome to Golden Cove, a remote town on the edge of the world where even the blinding brightness of the sun can't mask the darkness that lies deep with a killer. On the rugged West Coast, of New Zealand, lies the fictional town of Golden Cove. The town is more than just a place where people live; author Nalini Singh nails the small town feel those of us who have lived on the Coast understand. In this fictional town, everyone knows everyone, family trees are overgrown and well intertwined, and there are no secrets.

However, the trust holding Golden Cove together does get shattered. Several women vanish and all that is left are whispers behind closed doors, broken friendships, and a silent agreement not to dig too deep.

Eight years after the incident, another young woman vanishes without a trace. The residents wonder if their home shelters something far more dangerous than an unforgiving landscape.It is not long before the dark past collides with the present and secrets come to light.

Singh is better known for her paranormal romance novels. And it is a little obvious.

The book introduced a lot of characters very quickly, but without anything really happening to begin with. The storyline, and the killer, was also very obvious. What should have fuelled an intense, page-turning desperation to figure out who the killer was was sadly lacking. The reader knew, despite Singh's best attempts at obscuring it by making all the men in the story trash, exactly who the creep was well before she revealed it. It wasn't helped along either by Miriama, the woman that goes missing. As a character she was too two-dimensional, and overly fetishised, leaving the reader finding it hard to feel invested in her outcome.

Singh did do a wonderful job evoking the rich, raw, natural feel of the West Coast, and its communities, which was enough to keep me reading. The odd Māori word or phrase was also a nice touch.

But as a crime or thriller novel, fans of the genre will feel disappointed.

Reviewer: Rebekah Fraser

Hachette New Zealand, RRP $34.99


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