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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

'Night Shift' Midnight, Texas #3 by Charlaine Harris

Received via NetGalley

From the BLURB:

Welcome to the most intriguing mystery you'll read this year.

Welcome to Midnight, Texas.

At Midnight's local pawnshop, weapons are flying off the shelves-only to be used in sudden and dramatic suicides right at the main crossroads in town.

Who better to figure out why blood is being spilled than the vampire Lemuel, who, while translating mysterious texts, discovers what makes Midnight the town it is. There's a reason why witches and werewolves, killers and psychics, have been drawn to this place.

And now they must come together to stop the bloodshed in the heart of Midnight. For if all hell breaks loose-which just might happen-it will put the secretive town on the map, where no one wants it to be...

‘Night Shift’ is the third book in Charlaine Harris’ ‘Midnight, Texas’ urban fantasy series.

I must admit that I went into ‘Night Shift’ a little bit wary. I really, really disliked Harris’ sophomore effort in a series that brings minor and beloved characters from all her other series together … But second book ‘Day Shift’ lacked emotional heart for me, and largely because two of my favourite characters established in book #1 were inexplicably cut down. But I was quickly buoyed by ‘Night Shift’, because those two favourites – Fiji and Bobo – and their unrequited love affair was touched upon quickly, hinting that it’d be a lodestone for this instalment. And lo and behold, it was;
 Bobo had seemed a little broody for days, though no one was sure why. Fiji who was always aware of Bobo, was a little hyped by the fact that she was almost certain that he was staring at her even when she wasn’t speaking. She didn’t know why; she sadly suspected it was not for the same reason she liked to look at him. In fact, looking at Bobo was one of her favourite things to do.

Something is stirring underneath the town of Midnight, Texas. Strangers are being pulled to the town to commit suicide at the crossroads, and everyone in town is aware that this is just the prelude to a bigger bad waking … The best way to describe the action of ‘Night Shift’ is with this exchange between witch Fiji and psychic Manfred, which I loved because it speaks to a more menacing and intriguing “big bad” that’s plaguing the town of Midnight, and just because I love how meta it is that Charlaine Harris gives some love to ‘Buffy’ when she herself is the creator of what has become another iconic vampire series (there’s also mention of Fiji reading some Anne Rice, which also tickled my meta);

“Maybe you’re right, Manfred. Did you ever watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer?” 
The change of subject left him teetering. 
“Ah … sure. My grandmother loved it.” 
“Do you ever wonder if Midnight’s on the Hellmouth? Like Sunnydale?” 
Manfred laughed. “That’s exactly what it feels like,” he said. “You must be Willow, and Olivia must be Buffy. And Lemuel is Angel.” 
That brought a smile to Fiji’s face, too. “I would classify Olivia more as Faith,” she said. “Bobo can be Xander.” 
“So Diedrik would be Oz.” 
For a reason Manfred couldn’t fathom, Fiji flushed.
I loved the mystery at the heart of ‘Night Shift’, both because it’s more satisfying than the more human mysteries of the past two books and because Fiji very much gets to be at the centre of things. For this reason also, Bobo doesn’t get a lot of page time which I didn’t love … but I can appreciate this book being more Fiji’s show, Bobo had to remain a bit of a mystery to her (and therefore, to readers). I adore Fiji and any time Charlaine Harris chooses her as the series focus, the plot is vastly improved.

I also appreciated that Harris at least touched on a little mystery for Manfred, by mentioning the young woman he crushed on in book #1, but who has all but vanished from the series since; 

Manfred wondered how Creek Lovell was faring. He’d had a crush on her the size of a boulder, and he’d never figured out if it was returned.
I can’t find anything on the internet about whether or not ‘Midnight, Texas’ will continue beyond ‘Night Shift’ – but I sure hope so, for this little emotional nugget about Manfred and Creek, and also because my old favourite from Sookie’s world – Quinn, the weretiger – has hope in his heart by the end of ‘Night Shift’, and I’d love to see how it works out for him.

I really, really loved ‘Night Shift’ – even as things got a little ridiculous towards the end, I just found it great fun and really thought Harris hit her stride juggling all these characters and their relations against a menacing big bad. ‘Midnight, Texas’ is currently filming as a TV-movie, which I’m also ridiculously excited about (not least because Dylan Bruce – who played Paul in ‘Orphan Black’ is onboard to play Bobo!), and the IMDB description has it billed as “Twin Peaks meets True Blood” which is just so on-the-money I can’t stand it, and my hopes are up high.

‘Night Shift’ is Charlaine Harris at her tangled, paranormal-noir best – with beloved witch Fiji as the emotional centre of this instalment, plus a good subplot about Olivia and Lemuel and enough kernels of complication to leave fans hoping for more instalments … ‘Night Shift’ is the high of this series so far, and I want more.


1 comment:

  1. I think I may have to check into this series. It sounds like fun and new read from Charlaine Harris. I haven't finished the Sookie series yet. I am so behind.


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