Sheriff Sunshine Vicram welcomes readers in a first person narrative as she stares into her coffee cup as if it were a witch’s cauldron, revealing all the ways she could kill her parents; their deaths would be slow and painful, much like the date they had “arranged” for her. They could not help it of course; they were the Illuminati, or the KGB, or Cirque du Soleil or something. Sun continues in her own casual, concerned, and sarcastic tone. Such is life in Del Sol New Mexico, a sleepy tourist town near the banks of the Pecos River with a group of women called “Dangerous Daughters” who secretly run the town.
Other assorted characters weave in and out of the narrative including Aurora Dawn, Auri, Sun’s auburn-haired juvenile delinquent daughter. (Sun is really just trying hard to keep her out of prison.) Sun’s support staff in the sheriff’s office includes Zee, a tall black woman who can shoot the wings off a fruit fly at hundred yards, and Poetry Rojas, a fresh graduate from the police academy who looks spiffy in his pressed black uniform.
The narrative continues in Sun’s irreverent, yet humorous tone. It is not a serious book with solemn crime investigations. Of course there are deaths to be investigated and deeply hidden secrets that play into the drama, but events are always tempered by Sun’s satirical, ironic, and fatalistic tone. This is the rural American Southwest after all; this is to be expected. These people might just be descendants of the Roswell aliens; wait while I stop laughing and get my tinfoil hat.
“A Good Day for Chardonnay” is a fun book; it is easy to read with entertaining characters. It is part of a series, and the current book mentions the past events. However, any needed history is included, and I had no trouble following along with the current story. I was given a review copy of “A Good Day for Chardonnay” from Darynda Jones, St. Martin’s Press, and Macmillan Publishing. I am still laughing as I write this.