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 Marshall. 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?
(From the book blurb)
A Bad Day for Sunshine is the first book in Darynda Jones’s Sunshine Vicram series, set in a small town of Del Sol, New Mexico. Fast-paced, entertaining, full of laugh-out-loud witty comebacks and Darynda’s trademark quirky characters, thebook is fun, fun, fun to read from the beginning to the end. It kept growing on me as I read on and got to know better Sunshine, her family, friends and enemies.
Sunshine Vicaram unexpectedly (for her) becomes the sheriff of her home town of Del Sol without any recollection of having entered the election. Clearly, her parents had something to do with it, but Sun is a bit reluctant to look into this particular mystery. She is more than qualifed to do a great job in this position, having a degree in Criminal Justice and a stellar career in Santa Fe Police Department. Most of the book covers Sunshine’s first day at work, parallel to her 14-year-old daughter Auri’s first day at Del Sol High, which also turns into a bit of a nightmare. Fifteen years ago Sunshine fled Del Sol following a traumatic abduction which landedher in hospital in a coma. She doesn’t remember much of her ordeal or the month prior to the events, but Sun has never stopped investigating her own case.
It seems that the worst crime she will have to deal with is the disappearance of a locally famous rooster Puff Daddy, when the news of a teenage girl missing turns everything upside down and the clock countdown to save her life begins.
Sunshine is such a likeable character! Darynda Jones has a very peculiar, quite snarky sense of humour, but you can’t deny that Sunshine’s witty retorts and chapter sub-headings/ fictional notices on Del Sol’s various businesses are absolutely hilarious. There’s much more to Sun than that- she is strong, independent, a caring mother and a loyal friend. Loved her bestie-Chief Deputy Quincy Cooper and, of course, Aurora Dawn Vicram a.k.a. Auri a.k.a. bean sprout. If you were (or still are!) a fan of Gilmore Girls, you know the formula- a single mother doing her best to raise a super smart, cool teenager. Auri’s efforts in investigating Sybil’s case will prove indispensable in solving the case.
Did I mention the romantic tension between Levi Ravinder, Sunshine’s old (and current) crush? Levi’s a classic boy from the wrong side of the tracks who’s been trying to make his semi-criminal family walk on straight and narrow. There’s also a very handsome US Marshal in the town, trying to capture a fugitive (another entertaining plotline with a great twist in the end).
This was one of the most enjoyable reads for quite a long time. There is a thin line between being sassy and trying too hard, and I have to say Darynda Jones manages to stay on the right side. There is a great balance of funny and touching and funny again. Sunshine’ is vulnerable, strong and capable at the same time, doted with great empathy and an infallible gut instinct, and yet she works hard to do her homework and follow through on every single lead. All of this being a (very) single mother of a teenager which is an art in itself.
Can’t wait to read the next book in the series!