A Bad Day for Sunshine (Sunshine Vicram, # 1)
By: Darynda Jones
Expected Publication: April 7th 2020 by St. Martin's Press
Genre: Adult, Mystery
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss (Thank you!!)
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Goodreads description--New York Times bestselling author Darynda Jones is back with the brand-new snarky, sassy, wickedly fun Sunshine Vicram series!
Sheriff Sunshine Vicram finds her cup o’ joe more than half full when the small village of Del Sol, New Mexico, becomes the center of national attention for a kidnapper on the loose.
Del Sol, New Mexico is known for three things: its fry-an-egg-on-the-cement summers, its strong cups of coffee—and a nationwide manhunt? Del Sol native Sunshine Vicram has returned to town as the elected sheriff--an election her adorably meddlesome parents entered her in--and she expects her biggest crime wave to involve an elderly flasher named Doug. But a teenage girl is missing, a kidnapper is on the loose, and all of it's reminding Sunny why she left Del Sol in the first place. Add to that trouble at her daughter’s new school and a kidnapped prized rooster named Puff Daddy, and Sunshine has her hands full.
Enter sexy almost-old-flame Levi Ravinder and a hunky US Marshall, both elevens on a scale of one to blazing inferno, and the normally savvy sheriff is quickly in over her head. Now it’s up to Sunshine to juggle a few good hunky men, a not-so-nice kidnapping miscreant, and Doug the ever-pesky flasher. And they said coming home would be drama-free.
I was worried how much I would enjoy the Sunshine Vicram series because chances were slim that it could live up to how much I enjoyed the Charley Davidson series. But you guys, Darynda Jones started the Sunshine Vicram series off with a bang. Darynda Jones has written these characters and this story in a similar enough way to the Charley Davidson series to follow it's success yet distinct enough to be able to stand on its own.
I need to spend a little time breaking down the similarities and differences between these two series so far and then I'll circle back to some general thoughts about this book alone.
Sunshine has snark and wit but in a different way than Charley. She's a sheriff, so she's in law enforcement and solves crimes, which is similar to Charley. But Charley wasn't limited to the red tape as a PI. And she also had that advantage of being able to see and talk to the dead to help her. Sunshine simply has to follow the evidence.
Auri is similar to Amber. She's a little older. And she's more involved. She's a problem solver and almost seems like she can't help discovering secrets and putting pieces together that others would keep from her. At times, I liked Auri's story and pieces better than Sunshine's. (But not always.) And unlike Amber, Auri is also a narrator whereas we only had Charley's POV in the other series.
Quincy would be Sunshine's Cookie. Best friend extraordinaire. Partner in crime-solving. Unlike Cookie and Charley, Sunshine and Quincy go back to elementary school. Quincy also envelopes some Garrett-like qualities. I pretty much loved everything about him.
Levi would be the equivalent of Reyes in this story. Reyes started out not only in prison but also in a coma. Levi is very much awake, moving around, and involved in this installment, but the reader isn't supposed to feel 100% sure where he stands. Is he good or bad? Savior or attacker? Very similar to the Reyes set up, but his character is still different even if there are many similarities.
And again, similar to the Charley Davidson series Sunshine has multiple mysteries to solve within one book. Some take a bigger role than others. Some are only hinted at in an attempt to set up for the future of the series. And her multitasking was on point with Charley's.
And now that I've utterly compared the two series, I have to say that my desire for a Beep spin-off is so strong that I was trying my hardest to twist this series into that. I was searching each clue, in the beginning, to find out if this would end up being just that or if the two series would cross at any point. And I'm happy to report that there was definitely a nod to Charley at one point which means that the two series potentially exist within the same world. And if this is true, then I NEED Charley to make a cameo at some point within the future books of this series.
Now other bits...
Sunshine has an intense history and I feel like we were exposed to a good portion of it within this first book. I feel like I know her quite well already which says a lot about Darynda Jones' writing skills. Past, present, and future potential were all addressed. I'm so excited about the potential of the books in this series. (Does anyone know how many there will be?)
Auri and Cruz filled the biggest romantic relationship of this book even though there's both history and future potential with Sunshine and Levi. I just love Cruz (maybe more than sweet Quinton of Charley Davidson). He can handle himself. He doesn't scare easily or flinch at the things going on in Auri's life. At times, Auri was a bit much for me both in her emotions and in her involvement in the actual case that Sunshine was working. However, I'm stretching to complain about this.
My one legit complaint is that at times the information was coming at me too quickly that I felt like information was missing or not spelled out enough. I had moments (multiple but each quickly resolved) where I thought "wait, what just happened?" Or "did I skip a page?" Maybe I was so caught up in what was happening that I misread but when I re-read each time I didn't miss anything, I just had to keep reading and put the context clues together. The narration switch was also something that I kept having to back up and figure out if we'd swapped narrators because the switch wasn't always obvious. Granted, maybe this is on purpose since the narration does merge in one small part.
Ultimately, I absolutely loved the first installment of the Sunshine Vicram series. Because of my history reading Darynda Jones'other work, I feel confident in the excitement for the upcoming books, whereas someone who might be new to Darynda Jones might need more (future books in the series) to be able to feel the same level of excitement. Either way, I'm dying for the next book, and I am so thankful that I was able to binge the Charley Davidson series. I hope this series will be longer than 3 books but not quite 13 books long. Darynda Jones took all of the successful parts of the Charley Davidson series and used them in a similar but different enough way to feel like a unique entity as it should. A Bad Day for Sunshine gets 4.5 Stars. Have you read A Bad Day for Sunshine? What did you think? Let me know!
I actually won a copy of A Bad Day for Sunshine from Goodreads at the same time I received my approval for my review request. I will be giving away the paperback copy that Goodreads sent me. Just enter the giveaway form below to participate.