Book Review: Midnight Crossroad – Charlaine Harris ****

With the new series Midnight, Texas launching on Syfy in the UK this Thursday it feels like a good time to get to grips with the books behind the show. It took me a while to get round to reading this one. I’d been a little disappointed with more recent Charlaine Harris books – particularly the last couple of Sookie Stackhouse titles – so it was a real surprise to start reading Midnight Crossroad and realise that it featured an old friend – Manfred Bernardo. He was a psychic who cropped up in Harris’s Harper Connolly series. A solid character with a taste for fun and a great supernatural background.

That said, you don’t have to have read any of those books and you will still enjoy this as the first in a series about Midnight, Texas. It is a fairly dried up Western town out in the middle of nowhere. Its few residents don’t ask questions and exist peaceably while all hiding their own secrets. No-one in Midnight is what they might seem on first appearances.

Manfred has decided that Midnight is the perfect place to relocate to. Isolated and remote, yet with good enough telecommunication links to be able to conduct his “psychic” business over the phone and online. Manfred does have a “gift” but enhances it with some clever psychology to tell people what they want to know.

This book feels like Harris has gone back to her mystery story roots. There is even a little mention for the town of Shakespeare and Lily Bard! Bobo owns the pawn shop and his girlfriend Aubrey has left him in the lurch. Walked out, never to be seen again. Sometime later a communal town picnic and walk leads to the discovery of her remains in a remote area. The hunt is on for Aubrey’s killer.

Some people won’t like the over descriptive prose. I quite like it in this context. It just feels very “Southern” and you can all but hear the drawl when the characters speak. It is a quirky group of characters who have made Midnight their home and it will be interesting to see how that translates onto the small screen. It’s an easy and fun read.

UK Publication Date: May 8 2014. 315 pages.

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