A Madness of Sunshine
- One of Bustle’s Best Books of December
- On Book Riot‘s Must-Read Crime Novels for Fall & Winter 2019
- Chosen by Publishers Weekly as one of this fall’s Top 10 Mysteries and Thrillers.
The sun’s rays broke completely through the last of the mist as they rose into the air. Will glimpsed a small and curvy woman with blonde-streaked brown hair on the verandah of the estate house, her elegantly boned face lifted to watch the chopper and her hands gripping the railing. She was wearing a red negligee and, despite their distance from the house, the wind from the chopper blades pasted the silk and lace of it against her body, outlining a shape that had driven many a man to his knees.
Then the chopper was up and at an angle that made it impossible to see Keira May any longer. Dismissing Daniel’s wife and Nikau’s obsession, Will raised the binoculars to his eyes and began to scan the landscape. It looked even more unforgiving from up here. Serrated black rocks that thrust up from the sand in huge broken shards, foaming water that took no prisoners, and a wilderness so tangled and thick that it was difficult to see beneath the canopy.
Daniel went down low without prompting, low enough to give Will the best possible chance of spotting a woman lying injured below. The one thing in their favor was Miriama’s bright choice of running gear.
“Did you try on the other side of the whirlpool?”
Will didn’t look away from the trees below, intent on spotting even a hint of hot pink or orange.“What’s on the other side of the whirlpool?”
“A kind of cave formed by the way the rocks fell there,” the other man said, his voice echoing through the headphones.“We used to hang out in it as teenagers—it’s safe at low tide.”
Daniel angled the chopper back over a particularly dense patch of trees so Will could take a second look.“There’s a running trail right above the cave that hardly anyone uses. It was totally overgrown the last time I overflew it, but Miriama likes to run and she’s good at it. Maybe she went there—it’s definitely a more challenging track.”
Will calculated how long Miriama would’ve had to run to get to that spot, knew it was far too long, but they had to check every possible option. Could be she’d been enjoying the run so much she’d gone far beyond her normal distance. “Let’s go.”
From above, the whirlpool looked like the mouth of hell, spilling and crashing and so dark that it felt as if its depths went on forever. Bones cold with the knowledge that if Miriama had fallen anywhere near the dangerous spot, she was gone, Will continued to scan through the binoculars.
But if he hadn’t known to look for the rock formation that formed a cave, he’d have missed it, it was so well camouflaged to match the neighboring rocks. A second later, he realized Daniel wasn’t the only one who’d thought of the spot. A male body stood in front of the stone archway, one hand on the rock.
Though he looked up at the sound of the chopper, Nikau didn’t wave. Instead, he ducked under the stone to disappear inside.“We should focus on the cliffs above,” Will said to Daniel.“Nikau can check out the cave.”
Fine lines bracketing his mouth, Daniel didn’t argue for once. They skimmed along the top edge of the cliffs back to the other side of the whirlpool and, while most of it was tangled growth that hadn’t been disturbed for years, Will did spot what might’ve been a disturbance in one small section. Using his phone, he asked one of the nearby searchers to have a look.
“Definite signs someone stood or walked through here,” the man confirmed.“But it’s not churned up like if Miriama went over the edge.” A small pause.“Almost as if a pig hunter maybe walked out of the trees behind me and came to stand here, look at the view.”
“Okay, leave it as it is,” Will said.“I want to have a look myself.”
Hanging up, Will considered the cave again and frowned. That cave was exactly the kind of secretive and private spot teenagers loved. It should’ve passed from teenage group to teenage group in a town like this, but for whatever reason, it had been abandoned. Forgotten.
It made him wonder what secrets lay within, what secrets tied Daniel to Nikau, Nikau to Anahera.
“…[an] exceptional first crime novel…”
– Publishers Weekly
“Lush, atmospheric, and addictive, A MADNESS OF SUNSHINE seduces with its beautiful sense of place and layered, compelling characters, then hooks you right in with a riveting noir mystery. When a beautiful girl goes missing and a dark past collides with the brutal present, the truth is as harsh and unforgiving as the landscape in which Nalini Singh’s twisting tale is set.”
–Lisa Unger, New York Times bestselling author of The Stranger Inside
“I admit I approached this with both excitement and trepidation. I have enjoyed this authors urban fantasy and paranormal series and wondered what she would bring to the table. Nalini Singh, delivered a seasoned character driven suspense thriller that was rich, well plotted, entertaining, intriguing and addictive.”
– Kimberly at Caffeinated Reviewer
“Dark and addictive. I couldn’t stop reading! Singh’s twisty new thriller will sweep you along until the last shocking revelation.”
– New York Times bestselling author Laura Griffin
“I’m a romance genre girl through and through. When I saw that this was Nalini Singh, I knew I needed to give this book a try even though I hesitate at the genre. I’m really glad that I did. From the first chapter this book captured my attention and held. The writing is phenomenal. It doesn’t matter what genre this author writes, she knows how to captivate.”
– Mindy B, Reviewer, on Netgalley
“Nalini Singh’s latest novel, A Madness of Sunshine has more twists and turns than the rugged New Zealand coastline on which it’s set. Behind every closed door of Golden Cove is a secret, behind every truth, a lie. As one girl goes missing, Anahera Rawiri, the heroine begins to unravel a twisted web of sex, betrayal, greed and murder where no one is safe and no one can be trusted. Chocked full of unique characters and red herrings, this book is just my kind of pulse-pounding mystery. I loved it! Though A Madness of Sunshine is the first novel of Ms. Singh’s I’ve read, it won’t be the last.”
– New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jackson
“Singh draws readers into the steady-paced story with spot-on crime scene and forensic details, rewarding them with a chilling and unexpected finish.”
– Library Journal
“As usual Nalini Singh delivers another slam dunk…this suspenseful mystery debut hit all the right notes. Compelling and complex characters, intriguing small town drama and interpersonal relationships, suspense, and more.”
– Kelsey B, Librarian, on Netgalley
“Astute, insightful, and descriptive storytelling; a strong step in a new direction for Singh.”
– Kirkus Reviews
“There is an understated romance in the book, but the bulk of the story is a psychological thriller that kept me up at night, plowing through the pages to see whodunnit.”
– Make Kay for Fresh Fiction
“…one of the year’s must-read thrillers.”
“The book’s world of coastal New Zealand is wonderfully brooding, moodily atmospheric and possesses a nearly sentient quality that’s riveting and blood-chilling. Fans of suspense and thriller novels will thoroughly enjoy this twisty story.”
– Lois Faye Dyer, Shelf Awareness
New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh welcomes you to 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 within a killer…
On the rugged West Coast of New Zealand, Golden Cove is more than just a town where people live. The adults are more than neighbors; the children, more than schoolmates.
That is until one fateful summer—and several vanished bodies—shatters the trust holding Golden Cove together. All that’s left are whispers behind closed doors, broken friendships, and a silent agreement not to look back. But they can’t run from the past forever.
Eight years later, a beautiful young woman disappears without a trace, and the residents of Golden Cove wonder if their home shelters something far more dangerous than an unforgiving landscape.
It’s not long before the dark past collides with the haunting present and deadly secrets come to light.