The tiny little town of Midnight, Texas is a strange one, which suits its few residents just fine. The people who live in the one-stoplight town like to keep to themselves and don’t take well to outsiders. So when a bunch of trucks roll up one day and start renovating the long-closed Midnight Hotel, residents are worried. Things get worse. When psychic Manfred Bernado sees neighbor Olivia Charity miles from home while on a business trip, he thinks it’s a strange coincidence. When the couple Olivia was visiting with show up dead the next day, he gets suspicious. But then Manfred’s wealthy client dies in the middle of his reading, things get comically worse. With a frenzy of press on their tails and the new hotel opening up, Olivia and Manfred have to work together to bring Midnight back to normal.
Part of what is so wonderful about Charlaine Harris’s novels is her attention to detail. She crafts a homey feeling to her stories and blends it with the fantastical, making all the supernatural elements easier for even the staunchest skeptic to swallow. This is on full display in her follow-up to Midnight Crossroad, a faster-paced and more complex sequel that will have fans tearing through the book.
Unlike Harris’s other mystery series, the books set in Midnight, Texas don’t have a single narrator. She allows all of the town’s characters to have their turn to tell their stories, and the result is a rich, satisfying look at a super weird little southern town. The mystery at the center of this novel is a mysterious death, and the surrounding little mysteries are just as interesting. It’s smart, clever, and totally worth reading in a single setting.
Credit should be given to Harris for crafting a world full of diversity not only when it comes to supernatural creatures but also one in which a variety of people from different backgrounds and life experiences are recommended. It’s intentional, but it doesn’t ever feel manipulated or heavy-handed. It’s just natural, making it all the more satisfying.
A must-read for Harris fans, and even stronger than the first book in the series. Recommended.
Day Shift by Charlaine Harris. Ace Books: 2015. Library copy.