I was possibly the last person on earth to read the Sookie Stackhouse novels, having been a fan of Charlaine Harris’ Lily Bard and Aurora Teagarden series that were recommended by a librarian friend, but I enjoyed the True Blood series, so off to Sookie I went. And Harris’ ability to slowly build a town and give every resident and character something ‘else’ that makes them compelling made me a fan for life. In the second of the Midnight Texas series, I rediscovered her ability to transport me into a world of her making.
Midnight, Texas is literally in the middle of nowhere, but the town doesn’t lack for interest. Narrated by three residents, Manfred, Olivia and Joe. Manfred is a youngish single man, gifted with psychic abilities, living in a rented house. Part of his work is done on line, the rest from ‘weekends of work’ where he sets private readings for clients. A bit on the outside, he’s never really settled into his own skin.
When Manfred’s work takes him to Dallas for a working weekend, he encounters Olivia in the dining room, with two guests that are soon found dead. The next day, his client arrives in a bit of a state, and then dies before the end of her reading. A mystery is afoot.
Olivia Charity arrived in Midnight an enigma, and hasn’t spent much time ingratiating herself to the rest of the townspeople. Things in Midnight haven’t been quite right since the murder of the convenience store owner, and now people are looking at the abandoned hotel. Not just people, but outsiders and press. Am anathema in Midnight, and something to be avoided at every cost to Olivia. For she has secrets, dark deep ones that hide behind her cool and remote façade, often displayed in her anger, nearly uncontrolled if not for her relationship with Lemuel, a vampire.
Joe runs an antique shop and his lover, Chuy the hairdresser are the third of the narrative voices in this story. There is an otherness about all the residents that Joe references frequently, usually obliquely. He’s very observant and cautious, and is one of the steady voices (it appears) of the residents, adopting a quiet wait and see attitude.
These three very different, yet wholly interconnected characters each reveal bits of themselves and others, giving readers a clear example of Harris’ skill in plot crafting, dialogue, characterization and that compelling bit of weird that adds equal measures of menace and intrigue. Character driven, this story (that I did not realize was the second in the series) stands alone beautifully, but is laden with nods to other books from Harris, including Sookie Stackhouse, Aurora Teagarden and Lily Bard. Fans of those works will recognize these characters who appear with a smoothness that feels meant to be.
Beside the murder mystery, there are threats for Olivia, the coming full moon, a mysterious arrival of a child left to the Rev, and the ongoing and quite sweet unrequited love story between Fiji and Bobo. I read this book in one sitting, and then have reread it again twice since then. I’ve read it a third time after buying and reading the first in the series, Midnight Crossroad, and I can’t wait for the next book. I will, however, be reading these again.
Title: Day Shift
Author: Charlaine Harris
Also in this series: Midnight Vengeance
Genre: Contemporary Mystery
Published by: Ace, Penguin
Published on: 5 May, 2015
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Audio Length: 9 Hours: 52 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ AllRomance ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google
In Midnight Crossroad, Charlaine Harris “captured the same magic as the world of Bon Temps, Louisiana, and took it to another level" (Houston Press). Now the #1 New York Times best selling author of the Sookie Stackhouse novels returns to the one-traffic-light town you see only when you’re on the way to someplace else…
There is no such thing as bad publicity, except in Midnight, Texas, where the residents like to keep to themselves. Even in a town full of secretive people, Olivia Charity is an enigma. She lives with the vampire Lemuel, but no one knows what she does; they only know that she’s beautiful and dangerous.
Psychic Manfred Bernardo finds out just how dangerous when he goes on a working weekend to Dallas and sees Olivia there with a couple who are both found dead the next day. To make matters worse, one of Manfred’s regular—and very wealthy—clients dies during a reading.
Manfred returns from Dallas embroiled in scandal and hounded by the press. He turns to Olivia for help; somehow he knows that the mysterious Olivia can get things back to normal. As normal as things get in Midnight…
See the Midnight, Texas Series on Goodreads
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.