Charlaine Harris is an icon. She’s found success writing mysteries (the Aurora Teagarden series), gothic horror (Sweet and Deadly), and paranormal fantasy (the Sookie Stackhouse saga). But it’s Midnight Crossroad, out today, that may very well be her best—and most important—work to date.
Set in the one-stoplight town of Midnight, Texas, the novel begins with the arrival of Manfred Bernardo, a 20-something telephone psychic looking for a place to lose himself. As he meets the town’s peculiar residents—and becomes entangled in their struggles—he begins to realize he’s not the only person with something to hide. And instead of losing himself, he begins to discover who he really is, and who he is meant to be. If you have yet to read Midnight Crossroad, the first installment of a projected trilogy, here are five reasons you should.
1. It’s the next evolutionary step in genre fiction. Although the Golden Age of paranormal fantasy is coming to an end, it’s obvious why these kinds of novels have been mainstays on best-seller lists for the last decade and more. Readers love the unlimited narrative potential found in genre-blending storylines. Authors like Kim Harrison, Kat Richardson, Laurell K. Hamilton, Nicole Peeler, and Richard Kadrey have built armies of readers with stories fusing together elements of fantasy, mystery, romance, horror, and more. And that’s exactly what Harris has done with Midnight Crossroad—except she’s taken it one step further. This novel will not only appeal to genre fiction fans but mainstream fiction readers as well. The blend of fiction, mystery, and supernatural fantasy is subtle and seamless. And because of the ensemble cast, the storyline is equally appealing to both male and female readers. The potential audience for this novel is mind-boggling.
2. An unforgettable cast of characters. One of the major reasons the Sookie Stackhouse saga was so successful was the diverse and brilliantly realized characters. Midnight Crossroad is undeniably character driven as well: Bernardo; Fiji Cavanaugh, a “New Age” witch; Olivia Charity, who could quite possibly be an assassin; Bobo Winthrop, the guy who owns the pawn shop and may be harboring a legendary cache of weapons; Lemeul Bridger, a “bleached man” who only comes out at night. Finishing Midnight Crossroad is like saying goodbye to a group of newfound friends.
3. Extraordinary world building. Harris is a master of this—fans of the Sookie Stackhouse novels felt like Bon Temps, Louisiana, was their second home. The world building in this novel is nothing short of extraordinary. I dare you to read the first few paragraphs and not be completely immersed in the town of Midnight, Texas. If you enjoyed visiting Bon Temps, you’re going to love Midnight!
4. An established author at the top of her game exploring new territory. In a recent interview with the B&N Book Blog, Harris—who has been writing for more than 33 years—said, “Midnight Crossroad is so different from anything I’ve ever attempted…I don’t like to repeat myself, so I needed the challenge of the third-person point of view and the different premise and setting.” This is a departure for Harris—and I applaud her for having the courage and creativity to try something new.
5. Mr. Snuggly. I don’t want to ruin it for you. Just read the book. Plain and simple, this is one of the most enjoyable novels I’ve read all year—and I’ve read plenty!
Midnight Crossroad is out today! Will you be reading it?