Midnight Crossroad – Charlaine Harris

About the Book

The #1 New York Times bestselling author who created Sookie Stackhouse and her world of Bon Temps, Louisiana, “is back with a vengeance” (Tangled Web) with this first book in an all-new trilogy—and inviting readers to an even darker place on the map… 

Welcome to Midnight, Texas, a town with many boarded-up windows and few full-time inhabitants, located at the crossing of Witch Light Road and Davy Road. It’s a pretty standard dried-up western town.

There’s a pawnshop (someone lives in the basement and is seen only at night). There’s a diner (people who are just passing through tend not to linger). And there’s new resident Manfred Bernardo, who thinks he’s found the perfect place to work in private (and who has secrets of his own).


384 pages (paperback)
Published on March 31, 2015
Published by Ace
Author’s webpage
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This book was sent for me to review by the publisher.

It’s rare that I feel this torn about a book.

I’m hit and miss with Harris’s books. Midnight Crossroad looked interesting, different enough from her other infamous novels to make me want to read it, but similar enough to feel familiar somehow. What I didn’t anticipate was the amazingly, painfully slow start which included a ton of exposition.

To be honest, it took a ridiculous amount of time for me to make it through the first hundred pages. While there are a lot of descriptions, and the small town of Midnight is described (again and again) in detail (sometimes too much), the fact that the writing felt kind of wooden, and sometimes Harris told rather than showed, made the start of this novel feel like it lasted an enternity.

It took some time to adjust to Harris’s style with this one. Like I mentioned above, the book felt rather wooden and sterile at first. Then Harris adds all the town perspectives into it, and things start feeling a bit more liberated. There are obvious common themes among the populous, which are intriguing (like everyone has secrets, and the rule of Midnight is that you don’t ask questions). The fact that every character is their own little mystery within a mystery makes it obvious that the incredibly long buildup is necessary.

Midnight is a town that is a character in and of itself, and that loooooong start to the novel (sorry to mention it again) really establishes Midnight as a character, and as a real place that I could go to if I was ever crazy enough to want to. There are very few novels that I’ve read where the town is just as real as the characters, and just as interesting as the plot. In matters of world building, Harris really outdoes herself with this one. Midnight felt much larger than the tiny town that it is portrayed as. I loved how much thought Harris put into its development. It really paid off.

The characters are rich, and again their development is probably as fantastic as it is due to that slow start that I just about hated. The characters are real, and they are interesting for a lot of reasons, one of which is because each character is a mystery and you’ll soon discover that you want to unravel all their individual mysteries. Each character is also flawed, and believable. No one is picture perfect and they all work together to make the town of Midnight interesting, and just as real as they are.

There are supernatural elements of the novel, and some of them are explained and some of them aren’t. The thing that Harris does well is that she explains things just enough for her readers, but never too much. She leaves a lot open for expansion in further novels, which is welcome. It’s easy for me to believe that the world building and the development of the supernatural never really will be complete. Harris will always have something to expand and build on.

At its heart, Midnight Crossroad is a murder mystery, and in that respect it packs quite a punch. Harris does a great job with plot twists, and really presenting readers with the nothing-is-as-it-seems vibe (which ends up being true). In fact, once the mystery really gets going, all that slow burn at the start of the novel really starts to pay off. The characters start to matter, the wooden writing loosens up and Harris really hits her groove. This is a sort of subtle thriller. It gets into your psyche.

So, is this novel worth reading? Yes.

But I am torn. I can’t really overlook that slow start. I mean, it was S-L-O-W. Once you get past the 100 pages point, things start rolling and that slow start does pay off. I can’t help but wonder if there was another way that Harris could have developed her novel without making it drag so much at the start. Regardless, it is what it is, and it is absolutely obvious that all that development and exposition is absolutely necessary to the plot. Once you get past that first 100 pages, you’ll quickly realize that this is one of those subtle thrillers that gets into psyche. It’s unexpected, nuanced, detailed, and shocking. It’s a fantastic (and frustrating) start to a new series.


4/5 stars


One Responses

  • I just read the second book in this series, Day Shift. It was good!! It’s very different from the Sookie Stackhouse series, but has such an interesting cast of characters.

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