Hilarious, fast-paced mystery/suspense full of quirky, diverse characters by booksonthebeach [WorldCat.org]
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A bad day for Sunshine

by Darynda Jones

  Print book : Fiction  |  First edition

Hilarious, fast-paced mystery/suspense full of quirky, diverse characters   (2020-01-16)

Very Good

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by booksonthebeach

It's Sunshine Vicram's first day on the job as Sheriff of Del Sol County, New Mexico. She got elected despite being unaware she was even running, thanks to her parents, who were determined to both bring her back to Del Sol and get rid of the corrupt, inept incumbent. Within minutes of her arrival, homemade muffins are delivered, horrifying her staff, who have long since learned that the size of the muffin basket portends the scope of the crazy or catastrophic cases coming their way. Today's basket is huge, and sure enough, a short time later a Mercedes crashes through the front of the sheriff station, driven by a desperate mother whose teenage daughter has just been kidnapped--an event the daughter has been predicting since she was a little girl. Sunshine and her deputies have only three days to find Sybil before her captor kills her.

I stayed up WAY past bedtime because I couldn't stop reading until I finished this book. The writing style is very witty (quite similar to Jones' Charley Davidson series) and just as fast-paced as the plot. In fact, the relationship between Sunshine Vicram and her daughter Auri reminded me a lot of Lorelei & Rory Gilmore of  Gilmore Girls . Well, except that Lorelei knows from the beginning who Rory's father is, and Sunshine doesn't figure out Auri's until WAY WAY WAY after the reader catches on.

For readers' advisors: story doorway is primary, language is secondary. The closest genre this book/series fits into at the moment is humorous mystery/suspense. There is a strong romantic subplot, (well, two, actually, and a bit of a third) but it will probably take another book or two (or 5, at the rate Sun's going) to develop into anything like a real relationship. There is one dream sequence that counts as a sex scene and some sexual references. Since the plot of the book focuses on a current and a past abduction, there is also reference to rape, in case that is a trigger for anyone. Also some off-screen violence, a bit of profanity sprinkled throughout, and on-screen teen bullying of Auri by a Mean Girl & her lackeys.

The diverse, quirky characters include many with brown skin in various shades and from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, chiefly Latino, African, and Apache. The father of one character is deaf, and another character is on the autism spectrum, so ASL is mentioned semi-frequently. Unlike with Jones' Charley Davidson series, there is only a hint of anything possibly beyond normal human experience. It's not urban fantasy. A minor character from the Charley series has a small cameo, however, and that was fun!

I read a free ebook ARC courtesy of NetGalley and St. Martins Press in exchange for my honest review. The only bad thing about that is that now I have to WAIT for the next book in the series to be written. Waiting is HARD.




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