Dark crimes under the scorching sun. 

Seventeen authors come together to give us mystery under the merciless beating of the sun. Usually, crime thrillers are set against dark and grey weather; rain or dark clouds are used to emphasise the mood of the story but here we get something extraordinarily different – and what a breath of fresh air it is. These authors take us around the globe; from Ghana to Guadeloupe, from Nigeria to Yemen, from Istanbul to Arizona and many more places. They all have one thing in common – the heat. Some of these stories will show you how heat affects the characters not only physically but also psychologically and it all makes for a great canvas for the stories to be painted on.

Timothy Williams’s The Freemason Friends takes the gold medal here; a mysterious murder of a former headmaster and as we travel back and forth between the Dominican Republic and Guadeloupe with the protagonist we eagerly want to know if it was a former student or his mother who openly hated the deceased. Williams’s style of writing is clear and keeps the reader interested all throughout. The Assassination is a piece worthy of a great applaud. Leye Adenle gives us betrayal and murder in the scorching heat of Nigeria, just when you think you can easily guess the outcome he gives you a banging surprise. Greg Herren does not spare anything in his Housecleaning story. There’s all the right bits that create mystery and the interest just keeps mounting and the end is just as delightfully satisfying as all the parts throughout the story. Revenge has never tasted as sweet in Corpus Crispy by Tamar Myers as she gives us a slightly emotional story in Arizona, although the ending is worth an evil laugh and feeling that maybe the victim deserved it.

Sunshine Noir collects different voices with different styles and that helps in avoiding the same pace and dull feel when reading the book. The stories all take completely different turns although some were not as exciting or as mysterious as is required of the genre. Pale Yellow Sun by Richie Narvaez sort of leads you to it but just when you think you’re getting somewhere the story has reached an end that could’ve have done better with a little bit of a kick. Susan Frotschel’s The Logistics of Revenge starts off well in the sweltering heat of Yemen, we think ‘Ooh, a kidnapping, what’s next?’ but the anti-climax just leaves one disappointed. Some of the short stories were not so bad at all, they weren’t particularly outstanding but they were readable and could perhaps be favourites to different audiences. Someone’s Moved the Sun by Jeffrey Siger and Blue Nile by Paul Hardisty are not too thrilling but they weren’t tedious either, they lie somewhere in between.

Altogether this collection is as hot as its weather. What’s exciting is that all writers kept to the theme and we feel the heat as they show how their straight-to-it style of writing and how so much can be contained in a short story and still give us a kick in you-know-where areas. It is refreshing to have this turn from Nordic stories and not think it was a bad idea to steer away from what crime fiction is mostly known to be. 

 

Published by Nthepa Segage