This was a great read for my fourth week in Lockdown when I needed a book to escape into that would make me smile, keep me engaged, give me a puzzle to solve and people to cheer for.
I pre-ordered "A Bad Day For Sunshine", even though I wasn't a fan of Darynda Jone's Charlie Davidson series because it left the supernatural stuff behind and didn't seem to be aimed mainly at the YA market.
I also liked the premise: Sunshine Vikram returns to her home town of Del Sol, that she left when she was seventeen, to take up the job of Sherrif, an office she was elected to in absentia via a mysterious means used by her parents. She brings with her her fourteen-year-old daughter, a dark personal history and a secret determination to hunt down the man whose actions changed her life.
This is a book that, to be enjoyed, has to be accepted on its own terms. You need to be ok with a plot with an improbable dependence on co-incidence and interlocking, very dramatic and long-held-secret past events in a decidedly odd small town in New Mexico and to be entertained by fast, witty banter, bizarre quotes at the beginning of each chapter (my favourite was 'Predictive text: our own worst enema'), quirky crimes and a lot of not-entirely-serious drooling over the (many, many,) well-put-together men Sunshine encounters. Most importantly, you need to like Sunshine and her daughter Ari.
Fortunately, this last is not difficult. I liked Sunshine and lot and Ari almost as much. Think 'The Gilmore Girls' and add a deeply traumatising past and a tendency for both mother and daughter to put themselves in danger when they think it's the right thing to do.
Women are at the heart of this story. Women who want a world that is populated by 'men who deserve them' rather than by assholes and predators who need to be guarded against.
The characters are strong, if not particularly original. The plot, which centres around the abduction of a teen girl, has quite a few surprising twists. The pace is fast, the violence is moderate, the sex is mostly PG and the humour... well, it worked for me. If I lived in a small town in New Mexico, I'd want Sunshine Vikram to by my Sherrif.
I had a great time with this book. It was a splendid distraction from the present unpleasantness and I'm now hooked on the series.
I strongly recommend the audiobook version of "A Bad Day For Sunshine" as Lorelei King's performance is pretty much perfect and swept me along.