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  • Too much going on, a 'look at me, I'm zany' vibe

    Sunshine Vicram is a single mother of a fifteen year old daughter, Aurora, and Police Chief of a small, quirky town in New Mexico, after her parents somehow 'arranged' for her to be elected and brought her back from her job in Sante Fe. Sunshine was abducted when she was seventeen, held for five days before being rescued by someone who killed her abductor. Nine months later Aurora was born. Sunshine has amnesia about the abduction, her rescue, and about anything one month prior to those events, but she is still determined to identify who killed her abductor Kubrick Ravinder, who just happened to have been the uncle to Sunshine's great crush, Levi Ravinder. Levi has single-handedly dragged the Ravinder family from its shady roots into respectability (well most of them) and is a successful businessman with one of the most famous corn whiskey distilleries in the world. I imagine that this was intended to be a sort of Gilmore Girls/Sookie Stackhouse kind of small town, with kooky characters at every turn and a wise-cracking mother/daughter relationship. The trouble is, Auri was a bit of a contradictory character, extremely bright yet prone to using the wrong words (like saying she will apply for emaciation instead of emancipation), acting like Nancy Drew as if she was twelve not fifteen. Also, there was just too much going on. An assault, attempted murder and hit-and-run which puts a man in the hospital and badly injures Levi. A series of disappearances in the 1950s which may have been pinned on the wrong guy. Sunshine's first case coming back to haunt her. A mythical group of women who allegedly run the town. A mystery associated with Auri's boyfriend Cruz. Half the Ravinder clan confessing to the murder of Kubrick Ravinder. Auri and Cruz trying to prove that a little old lady is really a serial killer. The mystery of who really killed Kubrick Ravinder, and whether Kubrick had an accomplice. This reminds me of those books that have the tagline 'A laugh out loud comedy' which inevitably means they are seriously unfunny. This book felt like it was trying too hard to be kooky and quirky, when every single character is 'a character' it just feels like hard work, especially when everyone has to be given a backstory. It also felt a bit jagged as if it had maybe been rewritten several times and/or repurposed, as if it was originally intended to be more of a thriller but then comedy got added? Or it was meant to be a Gilmore Girls type town and then Sunshine's backstory got a bit dark? Anyway, this was a struggle to finish, even though I had nothing else to do on a wet weekend, yet the bones of the story were really interesting, I just wanted one or two fewer storylines and less of the 'look at me, I'm zany and kooky' vibes - don't even get me started on those super-annoying 'funny' signs at the start of each chapter. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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