I just finished reading Midnight Crossroad, the first book in the Midnight Texas series by Charlaine Harris. Right up front I will tell you, I’m giving this one 3.5 stars out of 5 but since Goodreads will only let me five even stars, I’m going with 3. Keep in mind that a 3 star rating isn’t a bad rating from me, it means “I like it” but it also means I feel there is room for improvement, in my view.
Having already read all the books in the Sookie Stackhouse series I feel I am pretty familiar with Mrs. Harris’s writing and I know how spellbinding she can be so I wanted to give this new series of hers a try.
Let me begin with the issues I had with it so I can end on a high note. One difficulty authors have to navigate while writing is spelling too much out for the reader. Spoon-feeding the reader can come across feeling as though there is too much unnecessary information and the writer is simply going for word-count. I didn’t feel this was an issue with this book, on the contrary this time I felt there was too much left for the reader to assume and bit more information should have been given. It really wasn’t clear how Midnight came to be…yet the reader is told everyone there is quite unique and special, but why are they there? You do eventually discover why a couple of the characters ended up there but I quite a bit of information to be left out within this story. Granted, that can be a very tricky wire for an author to tread and I acknowledge that so please note, this is simply my opinion.
It’s understood that Midnight is not precisely your normal small, sleepy, podunk, Texas town; the reader knows this going in if you read the summary. This leads me to my second problem I found with this story; everything is accepted so easily by the towns’ new-comer. Granted he isn’t precisely “normal” himself which can explain his easy acceptance but the locals are also all too welcoming. The dynamic of having so many unusual people in one town with a newbie who has special gifts that can blow their secrets sky high just felt off to me. I expected people to be more wary, more defensive, more protective; I guess I would have expected to have more conflict with the newbie, at least at first…especially since they had so many secrets to keep and his gifts were pretty well known by some in town.
My last issue with this book is that it’s pretty slow to get into. The plot really doesn’t gain steam until you are two-thirds of the way through it, then I admit I did find it really getting interesting. Having said that, it’s also definitely not one of those books that I just wanted to give up on, so it’s not that slow. It did keep me reading until I did finally get into it but honestly…it did drag for quite some time. It reminds me of those movies I sometimes find myself watching wondering “why am I still watching this?”….but then glad I stuck with it when it’s over because it turned out to be pretty good after all. You know what I’m talking about.
Now, on to what I did like about this book (see, I said I did like it.) There are a couple of unexpected moments in this book I really appreciated. You really don’t see whodunit until that twist unfolds; I really love when that happens especially since I am pretty good at figuring these things out! I also really found the local witch and her cat to be particularl favorite and fun characters of mine, specifically when Mr. Snuggly speaks up…with furry feline attitude. He was a fun addition to the mix and really made me smile.
Now, I know it’s obvious that the “what I liked” portion of this book is considerably shorter than the “issues” portion of it but that’s simply because it’s easier to explain the issues I had with it than for me to point out everything I liked. Over all I did like the book. It kept me reading, I did find myself invested in a few of the characters, I did like the twist at the end and I really like that I am interested enough to read the next in the series. Isn’t that really the point? I do want to read more about Midnight, Texas. It dawns on me as I write this review that I believe Mrs. Harris was using this book as a way to lay groundwork for the consecutive books. So, time to check out “Day Shift”, the second book in the Midnight, Texas series. I will post my thoughts on that one soon!