Genres: Mystery Romance, Romantic Suspense
Published by St. Martin's Press
Released on April 7, 2020
Lightning can strike the same place twice. Or, in other words, Darynda Jones has another hit for us. It was like being back in a familiar world where the setting might be new as well as the faces, but I still felt like I knew them somehow. Giggleworthy wit, twisting plot threads, quirky characters, a bit of woowoo, and a riveting first in series that left me groaning for the next book.
A Bad Day for Sunshine opens on Sunshine Vicram’s first day of county sheriff in Del Sol, New Mexico, her home town. Oddly, she won an election she didn’t actually run in or want to win, but her adorable parents and her spritely teenage daughter, Auri, are tickled she got the job and is back. Not that she isn’t qualified- she was a Santa Fe detective for years, but a dark moment in her past drove her away and would have kept her away in spite of her deep feelings for one brooding hottie, Levi Ravinder.
But, her first day begins with a missing girl, a prison escapee, and trouble for Auri as the new girl. Sunshine quips her way through first day with best buddy Quincy as her chief deputy at her side. Don’t let the light manners and pretty face fool you. She has a first-class mind and can keep up just fine with all the craziness that Del Sol can throw at one. Too bad that dark nightmare and her childhood hot crush might be one and the same.
The book jumps right in a a clipping pace and the reader better fasten in or get left in the dust. Sunshine was an immediate reader crush for me as were every other character I encountered along the way including the secondary storyline of Auri, her daughter doing the treacherous gauntlet that is high school. Both are strong intelligent female leads that crack their jokes and have a strong mother-daughter bond because of Sunshine’s heartbreaking past. Her parents were salt of the earth and backed her up through all that and into the present.
This book set up the series and slid into a dire group of current cases and Sunshine’s own cold case. Sunshine and her posse work it all and the zany zinging around was no trouble to follow. I loved the intro to the group of older gals that pal around with Sunshine’s mom, her own circle of friends that are as loyal and fun as they come, the redneck and southern Ravinder clan who live ‘back in the hills’ of New Mexico making shine, and of course Auri’s growing circle of friends. Quite the colorful layers for this cast of characters.
There is a slow burn romance for Sunshine even as Auri has her first girl crush and romance with the school’s heartthrob, Cruz. Levi Ravinder is sizzling and there are some nice sultry teasers that foreshadow things though his connection to Sunshine’s own cold case does have her torn in two directions just as the trouble with his family clan is still problematic. Pretty sure these storylines will carry over through the series.
Woven through the book is a hint of magical realism in the form of psychic talent and one fun little crossover moment with the previous Charley Davidson series.
So, all in all, this was an abso-fab winner that will soothe Charley Davidson-loving hearts though will come to love Sunshine Vicram in her own right. Romantic Suspense fans should get in on this one from the beginning.
I rec’d this book via Net Galley from St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.
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