Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris

Midnight, Texas #1


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).

Stop at the one traffic light in town, and everything looks normal. Stay awhile, and learn the truth...

“If you live next door to an apex predator, you shouldn’t go around poking him with a stick."

I became a Charlaine Harris fan when introduced to her Sookie Stackhouse wonders (except the last few books, let’s just forget those shall we?) I followed up with other series, but none captured me like her paranormally twisted Louisiana town that boasted a rare psychic, werewolves, and a bizarre blend of vampire personalities. I was hopeful this new paranormal series was her returning to the roots that made her so successful in the first place, but I’m starting to wonder if the exhaustion she started clearly feeling with the Sookie novels meant her heart really isn’t in the place for another paranormal start.

This time all the characters are together in one town, an odd assortment of people who are brought together by a small pawn shop, a tiny country diner, a convenience store and….streets basically. The town just isn’t that exciting, but the church where the Reverend hosts his pet cemeteries and rare weddings brings in some spice of interest.

Most of her series stay focused on a main character, but here she hops around to several viewpoints with a third-person writing style. Mainly focusing on the POVs of Manfred (a weak and inconsistent psychic, sort of), Fiji (a witch type), and sometimes a few other characters, it seems a little distant for Harris’s typical intimate writing style. Names are downright bizarre – Fiji reminds me of water, Bobo reminds me of clowns, Lemuel makes me think of pale colored beans, Creek (?), the strange names don’t stop.

Harris made her name with mystery novels, but here the mystery is a bit slight. Bobo’s ex is found dead eventually, and they try to figure out who did the dastardly deed, but it takes awhile to get going. The main focus is on this paranoid and demented group that are after Bobo for a truly strange reason that still doesn’t make a whole bunch of sense to me. At the end the murder is solved almost as an afterthought when lightning strikes for everyone’s imagination. I will say the solution for dealing with that was nifty enough since it blends cold-blooded characters with the small-town us-against-them mentality.

Overall Midnight, Texas is a sedate and dry seeming town that tries to appear more interesting than it ends up being. I’m curious on the show though and how some more life injected into these characters may solve some of the issues that weighed down the book.

**Edited --- I have since seen the show.  I was not impressed.

Book Quotes

“You have a vampire living in your basement, and you're stunned by a talking cat?”

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