Mysteries Thrillers

A Bad Day for Sunshine by Darynda Jones (Book Review)

Back in 2020, St Martin’s Press sent me a box of hot summer reading paperbacks. One of them was Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris, another I can’t remember, and the third was A Bad Day for Sunshine.  I read and featured the other two books long ago but for some reason this one never made it into my TBR pile, so let’s rectify that situation 🤷‍♀️

Bookish Quick Facts:
  • Title: A Bad Day for Sunshine
  • Series: Sunshine Vicram #1
  • Author: Darynda Jones
  • Publisher & Release: St Martin’s Press, 2020
  • Length: 400 pages
  • Rate & Recommend: ⭐⭐⭐✨ for a mature audience of mystery fun
Here’s the synopsis from Am*zon:

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, strong cups of coffee―and, now, a nationwide manhunt? Del Sol native Sunshine Vicram has returned to town as the elected sheriff―thanks to her adorably meddlesome parents who nominated her―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 this is reminding Sunshine why she left Del Sol in the first place. Add to that the trouble at her daughter’s new school, plus and a kidnapped prized rooster named Puff Daddy, and, well, the forecast looks anything but sunny.

But even clouds have their silver linings. This one’s got Levi, Sunshine’s sexy, almost-old-flame, and a fiery-hot US Marshal. With temperatures rising everywhere she turns, Del Sol’s normally cool-minded sheriff is finding herself knee-deep in drama and danger. Can Sunshine face the call of duty―and find the kidnapper who’s terrorizing her beloved hometown―without falling head over high heels in love…or worse?

My thoughts:

This is an incredibly silly and surprisingly good book that had great storylines at heart. It’s part thriller and part cozy mystery with kidnapping, murder, and more.  I liked the actual danger and high stakes  mixed with many moments of laughs and antics from all the crazy side characters.

There is a lot to love and I read it incredibly quickly in about two days.  There are two points of view, Sunshine and her daughter, both which were fun in their own ways. I liked the family bonding and how Auri navigated her issues at the new school before getting involved with the mystery.

I did not like how Sunshine rated every single male character based on how hot he was. Like really? If a male author described every female character by how much of an erection they gave the male main character, the author would be chewed up and cancelled. It was funny at first but got old real quick and I docked a star for it by the end. I wrote mature audience above for some of the language used to describe men, and one alarmingly explicit sex dream. For me, I hope she cleans it up in the next book 🤷‍♀️

I’m not sure if I’ll keep reading the series but I really do like the characters. The women are strong in the ways that matter and I genuinely liked the side characters. The book babes with their wine, the grandparents, the barista couple, even the other police officers, they’re a great big crew of hilarity and close knit community.  I would like to give book two a chance just to see how things pan out for everyone.

For a lighter type of mystery read, the action and clues were well distributed so that I never got bored. I was so worried for the kidnapped girl that it was hard to put down! I also liked how Jones managed to make us feel for so many different characters.

I will probably check out the next books in the series. Thank you to St Martin’s Press for sending me the paperback finished copy when it was released!

Disclaimer: if I receive a book unsolicited from the publisher, I do not feel obligated to read or review it at all.  This book was heavily featured on my Instagram at the time so I believe that the publicity obligation was met. I endlessly appreciate St Martin’s for all the lovely books and merch and arcs over the past few years, for real ♥️

As always, all opinions are my own