In Midnight Crossroad, Charlaine Harris “capture[d] the same magic as the world of Bon Temps, Louisiana, and [took] it to another level" (Houston Press). Now the #1 New York Times bestselling 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…
About the Author
Charlaine Harris is the New York Times bestselling author of the Sookie Stackhouse fantasy/mystery series; the Aurora Teagarden, Harper Connelly, and Lily Bard mystery series; and Midnight Crossroad, the first Midnight, Texas novel. She has lived in the South her entire life.
Date of Birth:November 25, 1951
Place of Birth:Tunica, Mississippi
Education:B.A. in English and Communication Arts, Rhodes, 1973
Read an Excerpt
***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected proof***
Copyright © 2015 Charlaine Harris
By Charlaine Harris
It isn’t the rumbling of the trucks that seizes Manfred Bernardo’s attention: it is the silence that falls when their ignitions die. Big trucks often go through Midnight, slowing to stop for (or speeding up to beat) the traffic light at the intersection of the Davy highway and Witch Light Road. Since Manfred’s rented house lies on Witch Light Road, he’s grown used to the sound until it is simply background music. But the absence of that sound pierces his preoccupation. He’s on his feet and opening the front door before he’s aware of pushing back from his desk. He grabs a jacket from the rack by the door.
Glancing cross the road, he sees his friend Fiji Cavanaugh come out into her front garden, which is at its bleakest in January. It’s cold today, by Texas standards, but sunny. Her cat, Mr. Snuggly, a golden tabby, is at his current favorite sunning spot, the base of the pot where Fiji plans to try a gardenia. Even Mr. Snuggly is staring west.
Manfred exchanges a nod with Fiji, who is bundled in a quilted coat. He notes that today she has inexplicably arranged her hair in two dog-ears, like a six-year-old. Then he turns his attention back to the trucks. One is an equipment truck, and it’s laden with building supplies: boards, bricks, electrician’s wire, plumbing pipes, hardware. Two battered white vans have disgorged a clown-car number of small brown men, wearing hoodies they will surely discard as the day warms. Emerging from a Lexus, clearly in charge, is a tall white woman in tan slacks and a blue silk Tee shirt. She’s wearing a faux-fur vest. Her thick brown hair is gathered back into a sleek ponytail, and she wears silver earrings and a silver necklace. She also wears glasses, with big square tortoise-shell frames, and her lipstick is an aggressive red.
All these various vehicles, with all their assortment of passengers, have converged around the defunct Midnight Hotel at the southwest corner of the intersection. As far as Manfred knows, it has been closed for decades. The work crews immediately start pulling the boards off the doors and windows and tossing the ancient plywood into a large skip yet another truck has deposited on the cracked sidewalk. The workmen swarm into the dark interior of the hotel.
It reminds Manfred of a giant boot kicking a dormant anthill.
Within five minutes, Fiji has crossed the road to join him. Simultaneously, Bobo Winthrop saunters down the steps of his business and residence, Midnight Pawn, which is situated at the same intersection as the Midnight Hotel, but catty-cornered to it. Manfred sees (with resignation) that Bobo is looking quietly handsome today, though he’s wearing faded jeans and an ancient Tee shirt with an equally ancient flannel shirt open over it. Manfred and Fiji stand with Bobo, and as they do, Manfred sees that west of the intersection, Teacher Reed has come out of Gas N Go; it’s directly across the highway from the pawnshop on the east and the hotel on the south. His statuesque wife, Madonna, is standing on the sidewalk in front of the Home Cookin Restaurant with Grady, the baby, who’s wrapped in a blanket. She’s holding Grady with one arm, shading her eyes with the other. Across the street from Madonna, Joe Strong and Chuy Villegas have stepped out of the Antique Gallery and Nail Salon.
Even the Rev has come out of his white-painted chapel to cast an unreadable look at all the activity.
We’re only missing Olivia and Lemuel, Manfred thinks. Of course, Lemuel cannot come out during the day, and Olivia is gone on one of her mysterious business trips.
After a few more minutes of watching and wondering, Joe Strong takes the initiative and strolls across Witch Light Road. He threads his way through the busy men to Boss Woman, who appears to be looking over some plans on a clipboard though Manfred is sure, reading the clues in her stance, that she is well aware of Joe’s approach.
Boss Woman turns to face Joe, extends her free hand to shake his, a professional smile pasted on her face. She is able to look Joe directly in the eyes, Manfred observes. She seems to like what she sees. In his forties, Joe is well-built and pleasant looking and has a warm manner. His mouth moves; her mouth moves. They grin at each other without sincerity. Manfred thinks, It’s like watching a ritual. In his peripheral vision, he spies the Rev retreating into his chapel, but the rest of the Midnighters stay outside.
Bobo turns to Manfred. “Had you heard anything about this?” he asks.
“No. Believe me, I would have spread the word,” Manfred tells his landlord. “This is a big thing, right?” He is aware that he feels ridiculously excited by this development in the small town where he’s lived for less than a year. Rein it in, he advises himself. It’s not like the circus has come to town.
And yet, in a way, it’s exactly like that. Fiji’s round, pretty, face reflects his curiosity. Her eyes are lit up.
“What do you think?” she says, bouncing up and down on the balls of her feet. “They’re going to reopen the hotel, huh? How can they even get it back up to code? It’s been closed so many years. Everything will need to be ripped out and replaced. Plumbing, electricity . . . floors . . .”
Bobo nods. “I’ve been in there. Right after I moved here, Lem and I went in one night. There was a loose board at the back, and Lem pried it open. We had flashlights. He just wanted to show it to me.”
“What was it like?” Manfred asks.
“Spooky as hell. The old reception desk with all the pigeonholes for mail is still there. The light fixtures were just hanging down with all these cobwebs. Like a horror movie. High ceilings. Wallpaper coming off in shreds. Smelled like mice. We didn’t even go to the second floor. The stairs were a death trap.” He smiles. “Lem remembered it when it was open. He said it was pretty nice then.”
Lemuel is well over a century and a half old, so it is not surprising that he can remember the hotel in its heyday.
“So why would anyone spend the money to renovate it?” Manfred says out loud, since that is the question on all their minds. “Wouldn’t it be cheaper to build a Motel 6 if you felt like Midnight could support a hotel?”
“Who wants to spend the night here?” Fiji asks, another question they’ve all thought about. “There are three motels in Davy if you go north, and at least six over in Marthasburg if you go west. If you go to the Interstate, there are a skadillion [I love that word] places to stay. Besides, Home Cookin isn’t open for breakfast.” It’s the only restaurant within fifteen miles.
They contemplate all those facts in silence.
“How many rooms in that hotel?” Manfred asks Bobo.
Bobo looks down at him, blue eyes narrowed in thought. “I wouldn’t think more than twelve,” he concludes, having done some silent calculations. “The ground floor is the lobby and the kitchen and the dining room, plus there was an ancient phone booth, don’t know when that went in . . . and there weren’t bathrooms in the rooms . . . so, say four guest rooms on the ground floor plus a bathroom and the public rooms, and then eight on the second floor plus two bathrooms? And the third floor was storage, and staff rooms, Lem said.”
Fiji grabs Bobo’s arm. “You said dining room?”
“Yeah,” Bobo says, surprised by her agitation. “Oh. I get it. The Reeds.”
“I don’t know how Home Cookin keeps open anyway. Really. Think about it. How?” Manfred spreads his open hands as he asks them.
But Bobo and Fiji ignore Manfred’s question. They are just glad to have a good cook like Madonna in Midnight.
“If they don’t open the dining room . . .” Bobo says.
“It’ll be a good thing,” Fiji ends his thought. “Home Cookin will be busy, Gas N Go will be busy, and maybe even Joe and Chuy will sell more antiques and do more nails.”
“Huh,” Manfred says. “That would be all right.” Though he really feels he doesn’t want anything to change in Midnight, he makes himself admit that a touch of prosperity would be good for the town. His own business is done by telephone and internet, and does not depend on foot traffic.
Manfred’s cell phone rings, and Manfred whips it out of his pocket. He doesn’t have to look at the caller i.d. to know it’s Joe, whom he’s watched walking back to Chuy.
“We need to have a meeting tonight,” Joe says without preamble. “Maybe Fiji can go ask the Rev, and Bobo can tell Lemuel. Is Olivia in town?”
“I don’t think so. What time?”
“Here at the shop, whenever it’s really dark.” There’s a muffled sound while Joe asks Chuy a question. “Seven o’clock good?”
“Fine, I’ll tell them.”
“See you then.”
Manfred ends the conversation and passes along the message.
“I’ll tell the Rev, but you can’t ever predict what he’ll do,” Fiji says with a shrug.
“I’ll put a note downstairs for Lemuel,” Bobo says. “He’ll see it the minute he gets up. Maybe Olivia will be back by then.”
That night, when the work crews have gone and the tall woman, too, the inhabitants of Midnight assemble in the Antique Gallery and Nail Salon. They can hear Rasta yapping occasionally upstairs in the very nice apartment Joe and Chuy share. “I thought he might wake up Grady,” Chuy explains. “He’ll calm down in a second.”
Sure enough, Rasta falls silent after everyone has filtered in. The salon area is the front right corner of the store, and the antiques, dusted and arranged attractively, take up the rest. Joe has assembled some folding chairs and an old loveseat around a refreshments table. He and Chuy have made lemonade and tea, and there are a couple of bottles of wine. They’ve put out a cheese and cracker tray. Fiji has brought a bowl of toasted, salted pecans. Manfred tries one to be polite, then finds it hard to resist grabbing a handful.
When they all have drinks and food, they choose seats.
Madonna and Teacher settle on the loveseat, with baby Grady drowsing on Madonna’s chest. Madonna is regal and a little scary, and she’s never been especially friendly. Her husband Teacher, who is running the Gas N Go until another buyer is in place, is the town handyman. Teacher is good at everything. Since he’s been working at the convenience store full-time, projects are going undone in the town, and everyone is ready for a return to the status quo, including Teacher. Soon Grady will begin walking, and Madonna’s already worried about cooking at the restaurant with a mobile son who wants to explore.
Joe stands in front of the motley assortment of chairs on which they’ve perched, and begins, “Here’s what I know.”
They all fall silent and look attentive.
“The woman in charge is Eva Culhane. She’s not the owner. She’s his or her agent. I don’t know who the real owner is, she was real close-mouthed about that. Here’s what she told me. The hotel is going to reopen as a hotel. But the four rooms on the bottom floor will be made into two suites with their own bathrooms, and four rooms on the upper floor will get the same treatment. These will be residence rooms.”
There is an intake of breath because so many people have questions.
“Wait,” Joe says. “Wait!”
There’s a little laughter, but they are all too curious or anxious to be very amused.
“The residence rooms will be for people who are in the area for a long-term job, like working for three months at Magic Portal. Or people who are waiting to get in to an elder-care situation. As an aside, Eva Culhane told me that there’s a waiting list for all the elder-care places in a 60-mile radius. The remaining rooms will be conventional hotel rooms. There’ll be two people living there as staff. They’ll provide breakfast for residents and whoever stays at the hotel. Lunch and dinner will be cooked for permanent residents only, is what I got out of it.”
Madonna’s shoulders relax visibly. She gets a few diners from Magic Portal, which is an internet company, every month. Thanks to Magic Portal, Midnight has great internet. And elderly people like traditional food, which is what Madonna cooks.
“What kind of staff?” Fiji asks.
“There’ll be two people in residence,” Joe repeated.
“Will one of them be a nurse or some kind of medical person?” Bobo asks. “Sounds like they might need that. And they’ll have to hire a maid, I would think. That’s a lot of rooms to clean for one person, plus dishes, plus food prep.”
“Good questions. We’ll have to find out.” Joe looks a little chagrinned he didn’t think of all this.
“Did Ms. Culhane give you a timetable?” Fiji asks.
“She said they hope to be open within six months.”
There’s a moment of silence.
“They must have a shitload of money,” Teacher Reed says, and Bobo nods. “That’s a quick turnaround,” he says.
Olivia, who’s driven in an hour earlier, speaks for the first time. She is sitting with Lemuel the vampire, her lover, and she looks exhausted. They are all ignoring the fact that Olivia’s shoulder is obviously bandaged under her shirt. “We have to find out who owns the company doing the restoration,” she says.
“Manfred, can you find out?” Joe asks.
Manfred is the most computer savvy of all the Midnight residents, but he’s no hacker. He just knows his way around the Internet. “I can try,” he says. Joe hands him a brochure, one that Eva Culhane had given him. It has a corporation name on it, MultiTier Living. Olivia extends her hand silently, and Manfred hands it to her. She looks at the brochure intently before she hands it back.
When everyone has said everything they had to say (some more than once), Lemuel supports Olivia with his arm as they leave Joe and Chuy’s store/salon. The remaining Midnight residents go their separate ways: Teacher, Madonna, and the sleeping Grady cross the street to walk past Home Cookin Restaurant and behind it to their double-wide, the Rev splitting off from them to go right to his bleak little cottage. He has not spoken during the whole meeting, but he has eaten cheese and crackers and the toasted pecans.
The people who live east of the Davy highway (Bobo, Manfred, Fiji) walk together, Fiji carrying a plastic container with the remaining pecans. Fiji hands the container to Bobo. “You and Manfred split those,” she says, “I’ve got some more at home.” She looks both ways before she crosses Witch Light Road. The golden tabby cat, Mr. Snuggly, is waiting for her, and Bobo and Manfred watch the woman and the cat go in the front door. Bobo says, “Hold out your hands.” Manfred pulls a real cloth handkerchief from his pocket and holds it ready to catch half the salted pecans. Gathering up the corners, he nods his thanks, and Bobo splits away to go into the side door of the pawnshop, which leads onto the stairs going up to his apartment.
Manfred unlocks the front door of his little house, which he rents from Bobo. He passes by his huge curving desk, crowded with computer equipment, to go through the little den (designed as a dining room) and back into the kitchen. He’s full and not really thirsty, but he decides to have a cup of hot chocolate before he goes to bed, and he pulls out the extra blanket. He feels unaccountably chilled by the advent of the new people, and he wants to be warm tonight.
The next morning, Manfred sits at his computer and types in MultiTier Living in his search engine. He reads the resultant description, which is too broad to be satisfying. MultiTier offers housing of all sorts, including “residence inns,” and long and short-term care facilities for the elderly and recuperating . . . at least those who don’t require skilled nursing care. Manfred wades through all the bland verbiage and pictures of healthy-looking people of a certain age who are smiling at their attentive caregivers or relaxing in their small apartments. Finally, he finds another name, Chisolm Multinational.
When he searches for it, the website he finds is impressive and almost frightening in its scope. Chisolm Multinational has so many divisions he could wander through its website for hours. It’s like an octopus. One tentacle is all about hotels and medical facilities: regular hotels on the high end, rehabilitation centers, nursing facilities for the care of Alzheimer’s patients, or people suffering from mental health issues, or people going through the ravages of cancer.
Another tentacle contains various construction companies. (Manfred can see that connection; you might as well build all these various structures, right?) Yet another tentacle deals with janitorial work. Again, logical. You have to clean all those buildings you’ve erected to hold travelers and sick people.
He pushes away from his desk and decides he needs a cup of tea. He has to admire the person at the head of Chisolm Multinational, whom he gathers is the grandson of the founder. He wonders if this man has any idea what all the branches of his company are doing . . . or where Midnight, Texas, is. He imagines some group of suits gathered around a large map, peering at the tiny pinpoint that is Manfred, the Rev, Fiji, Bobo, Chuy, Joe, the Reed family . . . the population of this almost-ghost town.
He feels a frisson of distaste, almost fear.
Five months later, Manfred Bernardo checked into Vespers, an upscale hotel on the very edge of Bonnet Park, one of the oldest upscale neighborhoods in Dallas. Actually, Bonnet Park was its own little city. Manfred had thought that his clients might arrive so wired from dealing with the traffic of downtown Dallas that they might not be able to transition to a mellow séance or reading, so he’d selected Vespers first for its location, and second for its décor. The interior of Vespers combined a lot of modern lines and shades of gray, with random swathes of brilliant fabric and nearly life-size sculptures of deer and lions. The deer looked startled and the lions were snarling, both reactions appropriate to finding themselves in such surroundings. Vespers played subdued techno music in the background non-stop, and all the desk staff looked as though they’d been kidnapped from a Nautica photo shoot: young, attractive, healthy, outdoorsy. They were all people who would not mind viewing their endless reflections in the other design element of Vespers – mirrors.
Manfred himself was more of an indoor kind of guy, though that was at least partly due to his occupation. Phone psychics who also had websites had to stay by the phones and the computers, so he was pale. He was also definitely not tall or pumped up. And his multiple piercings and many tattoos did not make him look hearty. But he did attract a certain kind of woman, and he did have his own brand of charm, or at least so he’d been told.
The desk clerk who checked him in and ran his credit card was not one of the women who appreciated that charm.
“And will you be wanting to make a reservation for Vespers Veneto tonight?” she asked, smiling brightly.
Though he was tempted to opt for room service, Manfred told himself that while he was in the city he should look at as many people as he could, since there were so few in Midnight. He felt a bit starved for strangers. “Yes,” he said. “That would be perfect. A reservation for one, for eight o’clock.” He used the word “perfect” pre-emptively, hoping she would not repeat it.
“Perfect,” she murmured automatically, as she entered the reservation on her keyboard. Manfred wished there was someone he could look at, to roll his eyes. Instead, he looked in the huge mirror behind the clerk, and to his utter astonishment, he did see someone he knew. His mouth opened to call, “Olivia!” But at that second Olivia Charity’s brown eyes met his in the mirror, and she gave a tiny shake of her head.
“Did you need anything else, Mr. Bernardo?” the young clerk asked, looking at him with a bit of concern.
“No, no,” he said hastily, scooping up the cardboard folder containing his plastic keycard. “Thanks,” he added.
“Elevators over there,” she prompted, pointing to his right. “Behind the panel of mirrors.”
Of course, he grumbled to himself, while he went around the large wall to find the elevator bank. When one finally whooshed open, he could see his exasperated reflection in the mirror at the back of the elevator car. He rode up in silence. Out of habit, he looked up and down the hall when he stepped out, but he didn’t see any security cameras. That didn’t mean they weren’t there, but he found it a little surprising in an upscale place like Vespers, whose hauteur and prices would surely attract at least some well-heeled and famous guests.
Despite the cost, Manfred had opted for a suite so he could conduct private readings in his room. If he’d been travelling for any other reason, he would have picked a cheap motel. All he needed was a bed and a functional bathroom, preferably clean. But clients always thought better of him, and therefore themselves, if they consulted him in an obviously expensive venue.
To Manfred’s approval, the living room was lavish: couch, easy chair, television, bar and microwave, with a small round dining table and two chairs that would be perfect for his readings. The bedroom was as comfortable as he’d hoped, and the bathroom was positively over-the-top. Manfred unpacked quickly and efficiently (he’d brought an all-black wardrobe for this weekend), and put his list of bookings on the round table, together with his tarot cards, his mirror, and a velvet pad on which to place objects brought to him by clients to aid him in his readings. He was not primarily a touch psychometrist, but every now and then he got a flash of clarity.
He felt keen anticipation as he viewed the layout of familiar items. In-person readings were exciting, because he had a chance to use his true gift to the best of his ability. For that reason, the sessions were not only tiring, but occasionally frightening. He’d scheduled two in the morning, three in the afternoon for Saturday, and the same for Sunday. He’d check out Monday morning and drive back to Midnight.
But this evening, he’d relax and enjoy the change of scene and the rare luxury. This was a far cry from his little house in Midnight. The bathroom there was a claw-footed tub with a showerhead added much later, and not enough room to swing a cat. He could swing a good-sized lynx in this tiled wonder, with its multiple showerheads and double sinks. “Time to shower, change, and have a great dinner,” he said happily. He’d put the glimpse of Olivia Charity out of his mind.
Manfred felt far more urbane when he went downstairs. Though he knew it was probably not the fancy-restaurant thing to do, he took his e reader with him. He wasn’t fond of staring off into space, and he was in the middle of a book about the Fox sisters, who’d founded Spiritualism. He’d also brought his cell phone.
A table for one diner is often in a less-than-stellar position, but Veneto wasn’t busy that night. Manfred had a whole horseshoe-shaped booth to himself, his back to an identical booth facing the opposite direction. Due to the ubiquitous mirrors, he found he had a good view of the room and almost everyone in it. After he’d ordered, Manfred decided he could see almost too much. In his black suit, he looked like a crow in a daisy field; the other diners were in light summer colors, as befitted June.
Then in a mirror high on the wall opposite him, he spotted one other person in black, a woman. She was seated directly behind him in the booth with another woman and a man. Though Manfred got out his e-reader and turned it on, he glanced up several times because her head and shoulders seemed familiar. After the third or fourth time Manfred checked out the woman, he realized he was looking at Olivia Charity again. He’d never seen Olivia so groomed before, and he was astonished at how sophisticated and gorgeous she looked.
In Midnight, Olivia wore jeans and Tee shirts and boots, very little makeup or jewelry. The Dallas version of Olivia was wearing a lot of eye makeup. Her hair was put up perfectly in a roll at the nape of her neck. Her black dress was sleeveless and sleek. She was wearing a necklace formed to look like overlapping leaves. Manfred decided it was made of jade, though he was not knowledgeable about gems.
From his position, Manfred could only glimpse Olivia’s face from time to time. But her companions seemed engrossed in her conversation, so he felt free to watch them. They were both in their late fifties or even early sixties, he decided, but were definitely what you would call “well-preserved.” The woman was blonde by courtesy, but not glaringly so. She looked like a tennis player. Her jewelry glittered.
The man had a lot of gray hair, well-styled and cut, and he was wearing a suit that Manfred suspected was very expensive.
They’re not talking about playing tennis, Manfred told himself. To a casual observer, the man and woman might appear to be having a pleasant conversation with Olivia, but Manfred was a keen observer by nature and trade. The couple both had the slight knowingness to their smiles, the wink-wink nudge-nudge consciousness that told him they were talking about sexual things in a public place.
Manfred was through with his meal by the time the three finished their conversation. The couple left together. In the mirror Manfred observed the woman fish something from her tiny purse and slide it over to Olivia’s hand. A key card. Huh, I didn’t expect that, he thought. He’d always speculated about his mysterious neighbor, who had an apartment in the basement of the pawnshop next door to Manfred in Midnight.
Manfred had met Olivia during the previous year at the same time he met Bobo’s other tenant, Lemuel Bridger. No one had ever given him much background on his neighbors, because people in Midnight weren’t prone to gossiping about each other, as a rule. But gradually, Manfred had come to understand that Olivia had a mysterious job that took her out of town from time to time. And he’d observed that Olivia sometimes returned to Midnight the worse for wear. Amid other possibilities, he had considered the idea that Olivia might be a prostitute. But as he’d gotten to know her, something about the way she handled herself made him discard the idea.
Despite the way her dinner with the older couple had played out, he couldn’t believe it now. What’s she up to? he asked himself. He glanced down at his watch. After seven minutes, Olivia rose and left the restaurant. She walked right by him, but she didn’t acknowledge him by so much as a twitch of an eyebrow.
Manfred left the restaurant maybe three minutes later, but he did not see Olivia at the elevator bank as he’d half expected. In fact, he didn’t see her again that night. He woke once in the early morning, aware of some hubbub down the hall from his third-floor room; but it subsided, and he slept another hour.
When he stepped out of his room to go down to the hotel’s coffee shop for breakfast, the police were wheeling a body in a bag out of a room closer to the elevators than his. Manfred thought, Oh, shit. What did Olivia do?
What People are Saying About This
Praise for Midnight Crossroad
“Excellent…No matter how unlikely or fantastic an element she might introduce into her pages, it’s always down-home and believable. She’s the Mark Twain of things that live under your bed.”—Houston Press
“An excellent follow-up to True Detective…If you aren’t quite ready to let go of the eerie South yet, pick up your copy of Midnight Crossroad.”—The Novelettes
“A little magic, a little mystery, and a lot of imagination make for a story that is both fun and edgy.”—Kirkus Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This second novel in the Midnight, Texas series is much more entertaining than the first. All the characters we met in the first novel appear in Dayshift with psychic Manfred Bernardo once again taking the central role as he becomes the suspect in the death of one of his clients. In the meantime, Ms Harris unravels a lot of loose ends that make me eager for the next book. Fans of the Sookie Stackhouse (True Blood) series will recognize some interesting crossover characters. No spoiling here. Start reading and enjoy the ride.
I really enjoyed this book. The second book set in Midnight, Texas. The cast of characters are great and varied. From the phone psychic to the witch. They pull together as a town to protect each other from outside forces. Another great read from Ms. Harris. Loved that she brought familiar characters to this series.
Day Shift, Charlaine Harris Genre: Fantasy & Sci-fi. Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews I loved Trublood ( until the last three books ) and the Lily Bard mysteries and have re read them repeatedly, so was keen to read this new series. After book one though I felt a little underwhelmed but sometimes first books in a series are like that – and of course its hard for an author to follow such a huge success as Trublood... Well, on to book two and it was fun catching up with some of the characters from other series, but overall I was disappointed. The small town atmosphere is perfect, something Charlaine does so well, and as a UK reader I still felt as if I understood the town and it’s inhabitants. Somehow though there was a lack of real drama. I was disappointed that the Bobo/Fiji romance didn’t go any further – in fact it seemed to have gone backwards, and likewise poor Manfred’s fledgling romance with Creek has gone..well..up the Creek...( ok – groan now!) I didn’t really feel any of the characters progressed further, that I “knew” them any better than from the first book. There’s always things happening in the town, and the renovation of the hotel is a big issue for them. No one knows why, there’s something odd about the old people who are living there temporarily, why were they chosen and who pays? We’re still wondering all that at the end BTW, the who, what and why. Lemuel is out of town trying to find out more about the old books he got from Bobo, the Rev takes on a young lad while his father is away, and the boy has some oddities – he fits in well of course! Mr Snuggly is a star as always – I love that cat and his ways. The main part of the story focuses on poor Manfred, when a client dies unexpectedly in a consultation with him, and her son accuses Manfred of theft of her jewellery. Then it becomes a murder investigation and the town gets filled with lawyers, police and media reporters....and being full of people who do not need closer looks they are all very worried, and try to set things straight as best they can. Its kind of a Miss Marple with supernatural people feel about it, that small town gentility and politeness, where everyone knows so much but reveal little as they are all holding secrets too. I enjoyed it but it didn’t grip me and make me feel I simply had to keep reading. Its an interesting story but to be honest for me it lacked any real depth, and its not one I’d reread. I’m not sure whether to read the final one – and usually in a trilogy I’d be desperate for answers by now but – well, I'm kind of curious what follows and how it ends but that’s all. Stars: Four, but as a one off read not a keeper. ARC provided by Netgalley and publishers
I really enjoyed this book.
I love her new series, interesting characters, mystery, supernatural stuff too!
Midnight is more than a sleepy small town, It's citizens are quirky and mysterious, How they get to know each other and solve their problems is a hoot! Move over Bon Temps, Midnight is here!
An enjoyable casual read. The characters in the series are developing nicely and I get a good feel for their "world".
In Day Shift, all of Midnight's not-quite-normal citizens are back for another round of puzzling, thrills and adventures. This installment of the series gives the reader more insight into what type of paranormal creatures some of the residents are. We learn as we read, the same as in book one. New characters are also introduced which fans of The Southern Vampire Mysteries may be pleased to know. "Do you, by any chance, know a waitress in Louisiana? Works in a bar in a little town called Bon Temps?" The story follows several of the characters with narration in third person omniscient point of view. To me it feels as if Manfred is the main character of the series because the story always seems to start with him and involve him more. Manfred is a psychic. When he goes to meet a client, he gets caught up in huge whodunit scandal. Olivia has a big part of this book also. She is a very secret person surrounded in mystique which makes Midnight (the town where everyone's different and no one asks questions) the perfect place for her. This pair have to team up in order to get to the bottom of everything. At the same time, a new person, with a unique difference that cannot be overlooked, has moved into town occupying the time and resources of many of the other townsfolk. This book is written with a broad range of eccentric roles. There are lots of open areas which may lead to anywhere as the story moves along. I like how tight knit the group is and how I never know what's coming. Even though the story has elements of darkness and obscurity, it still manages to have a laid-back family feel. I've never read anyone's work that I would compare to this author. She has her own mysterious, quirky Southern charm in every book. Everything doesn't always turn out perfectly for her characters—there is often death and unfinished business, but the journey is an interesting one. I enjoyed my time in Midnight, and I am looking forward to returning.
I don’t know how, but Ms.Harris makes a psychic, a witch, and a were, plus more, utterly believable. Such a good story line with marvelous characters.
Mr. Snuggly, Manfred, Fiji, Bobo, Olivia, Joe, Chuy, Madonna, Teacher and the Rev are back and I couldn't be happier. Fantastic read but my only regret is barely any Lemuel this time around! I suppose our surprise guests add to the fun though! Gearing up to read book 3 and I know I'll love it, too!
Can"t put this book down once you start reading
Nice follow up on the residents of Midnight. I enjoyed learning more about everyone, and look forward to reading the third installment.
The characters are so easy to get to know, they are reliant on each other, and very believe able. More please!
Nice little surprise in this one. I hope she keeps going past book three with this series.
I use to LOVE charlaine. The sookie books left me a little put off of her. I decided to chance the midnight series, but now i am certain.... she is not a good writer. Her stories seem rushed with no thought for the important details. She will focus on food or have someone re-explain something we just saw instead of giving us important details. The gas robberies seemed tacked on just to show us that Mafonna is badass. This book left me tired of her writing. She can build a world, however, she built this world and doesn't want to give it up.
Well-defined characters with the introduction of a few characters from the Skokie Stackhouse books. I think Charmaine can imagine plenty of fodder for stories set in Midnight, TX.
A Great Read. This is the second book of the series and I really enjoyed it. I stumbled across it kinda late, which is surprising since I am such a huge fan of Charlaine Harris, but better late than never. As before I like the characters and the storyline and I was especially happy that some characters from the Sookie Stackhouse series made some appearances. It had action and mystery and I can't wait to read the next book in the series and lucky for me I already got it on hand. Maybe if enough people show an interest in the series we can get the Author to write more books about my favorite little town in Midnight Texas.
Was a great series. Show doesn't do justice. Way too many differences.
This is the second book in The Midnight trilogy. The first book is Midnight Crossroad. The television show Midnight, Texas is based on this series is good though it is a much more blended mix of the three books, to some extent, and is a revved-up Midnight. I still could see the author writing that way, and that makes it a good series. Midnight’s having a small population boom, one the locals aren’t embracing. The old motel is being brought back to life, and things seem a bit fishy. In Dallas, Olivia’s past gradually gets revealed when Manfred and Olivia cross paths, and Manfred discovers how Olivia makes a living. Then things get interesting. Manfred’s client passes away at a reading, and he’s suspect for the crime, and that’s just the beginning. In Midnight, the Rev is left with the charge of a young boy who is more than what meets the eye, and so begins another wonderfully weaved tale that gives a bit more hints of the characters and their lives. A few wonderful twists and turns along the way, and in the end, another surprise ending. As for the narrator, she was pleasant and did a decent voice job, though no one so far, has compared to Royce Dotrice from Game of Thrones audio books.
Good, fun read.