From Charlaine Harris, the bestselling author who created Sookie Stackhouse and her world of Bon Temps, Louisiana, comes a darker locale—populated by more strangers than friends. But then, that’s how the locals prefer it…
Welcome to Midnight, Texas, a town with many boarded-up windows and few full-time inhabitants, located at the crossing of Witch Light Road and Davy Road. It’s a pretty standard dried-up western town.
There’s a pawnshop (someone lives in the basement and is seen only at night). There’s a diner (people who are just passing through tend not to linger). And there’s new resident Manfred Bernardo, who thinks he’s found the perfect place to work in private (and who has secrets of his own).
Three stars: A novel that lacks character depth and world building.
Manfred is settling into his new digs in the small, quiet town of Midnight, Texas. He quickly sets up his computers and starts answering emails. Manfred works as an online psychic, and even though a good majority of his business isn't exactly completely honest, he does have real skill as a psychic. Manfred's perception of a town where nothing even happens is quickly shattered once he catches sight of two mysterious men in the diner. The men are here for more than cooking. The town vampire confirms his suspicions, and before long Manfred is drawn into the mystery of what happened to one of the residents, all while trying to help his neighbor evade the white supremacist group. Is there more than meets the eye to Midnight, Texas?
What I Liked:
- This is my first book by Ms. Harris, and though I found it to be a touch disappointing there were still things I liked. I appreciated the small town setting, the characters and the paranormal peppered in for spice. There is certainly more to the quiet little town than meets the eye, as all of the inhabitants seem to be harboring some secrets and many have paranormal abilities.
- It takes a bit for the story to get going as the characters are introduced, but once I got to the heart of the book, I was sucked into the mystery and I was enjoying the antics of the characters. There are two mysteries in this book. One involves Bobo and his grandfather's involvement in a white supremacist group. It seems Bobo is always hiding from the group as they believe he absconded with his grandfather's large stash of guns. Did Bobo take the guns or is the unassuming man everyone thinks he is? The local chapter of the group intends to find out. The second mystery revolves around Bobo's girlfriend who went missing a few months ago. Did Bobo kill her? The murder mystery kept me guessing up until the shocking reveal at the end. I honestly didn't see that one coming. I always enjoy a mystery that catches me by surprise.
- I liked that this book featured a vampire and a witch as the paranormal entities. Fiji is a practicing witch who dabbles in some light spells. She owns a rather mysterious cat, Mr. Snuggles whom she inherited from her great aunt. Fiji ends up being pretty darn funny, and I enjoyed watching her unleash a few of her spells. Her cat actually ends up stealing the show, and he became my favorite character. Lemuel the town vampire is not the fearsome, bloodsucking creature of nightmares, nor is he the sparkly type. He is a bit of an enigma, but I found I was drawn to him. He is accepted by the townsfolk and has no problem living and working in the small town. He also feeds off psychic energy. I thought I had lost interest in vampires, but Lemuel is a vampire I would like to get to know better.
- I appreciated that almost everything regarding the main plots of the book was resolved and wrapped up by the end of the book. This could certainly be read as a stand alone, but there are still so many secrets regarding the inhabitants of Midnight, that I am prepared to read the next book just because I want to know more. I was relieved that there wasn't a cliffhanger and that the answers to my main questions were provided at the end.
And The Not So Much:
- I have long wanted to read a book by Ms. Harris. Since the Sookie Stackhouse series is in the high numbers and now complete, I decided to dig into this new trilogy and see what all the fuss is about. Sadly, for my first outing with Ms. Harris I was a bit disappointed. I thought that the world building was shaky. I was thrown into the small town of Midnight, and yet I had no clear idea of how many people lived there or the size of the town. Paranormal people seemed to be socially accepted but there is no explanation regarding how or why paranormals work and live among regular humans. The world building needed more detail.
- I was also disappointed in character development. I felt like I never had a handle on the characters. I struggled to connect with any of them, and by the end the only ones. I felt a strong attachment to were Fiji and her cat. Manfred was a disappointment. I was expecting him to wow me with his psychic abilities but he never did. Lemuel was one character I was desperately wanting to know more about, but there are only scraps of information. The Rev and Olivia are complete mysteries, and I was frustrated with the lack of detail regarding both of them. I guess I went into this one with such high expectations, and then I felt it failed to deliver.
- Even though I appreciated the big surprise regarding the killer, I was a bit put off by the resolution. It came out of nowhere and was a bit disturbing. I didn't like it.
- There was this weird thing thrown in the middle of the book, some kind of paranormal creature hovered through the town late at night looking in the windows, and it gave everyone nightmares, and then it is never mentioned again. What was up with that?
Midnight Crossroad was an interesting story with a good mystery, but I thought that the world building and character development were weak. I did enjoy the small town setting and the characters, and I would be interested to read the next book to learn more about the inhabitants and their secrets, but I will definitely be borrowing the next book instead of purchasing. This is a book I recommend with reservations. I am wishing I had checked it out from the library as it wasn't a book that thrilled me. If you are a fan of Ms. Harris and love her work, you might enjoy this more than I did, but I was expecting much more.
I purchased a copy of this book. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.