Midnight Crossroad (Midnight, Texas) Hardcover – Large Print, May 7, 2014
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|Hardcover, Large Print, May 7, 2014||
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"Harris treasures the everyday routines of small-town family life, burnishing little moments until they glow."--"Los Angeles Times"
"Inventive and funny with an engaging, smart, and sexy heroine."--"The Denver Post"
"[Harris's] mash-up of genres is delightful, taking elements from mysteries, horror stories, and romances."--"Milwaukee Journal Sentinel"
About the Author
Her Sookie Stackhouse novels include: "Dead Until Dark," "Living Dead in Dallas," "Club Dead," "Dead to the World," "Dead as a Doornail," "Definitely Dead," "All Together Dead," "From Dead to Worse," "Dead and Gone," "Dead in the Family," "Dead Reckoning," "Deadlocked," and "Dead Ever After."
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A direct translation of this novel would not have worked. In book form, this is a story of a small, sleepy town, told in a small, sleepy narrative. Things definitely happen, but at a small, sleepy town pace that would have dragged on-screen. The show is straight-up urban fantasy excitement, while the book reads more like a rural cozy mystery with some fantastical elements. I'm honestly not sure I would have continued the book without the curiosity of how the story would differ and remain similar to what I'd already seen on TV driving me.
I'm definitely curious about whether the character's backstories already revealed in the show will be different from what's in the books. I appreciated the increased diversity of the show version of the characters. Fiji and Lemuel, especially, seemed bland in comparison in the original text.
I'm excited to start the next book, which I've already ordered and received. But I'm much more excited for season 2 of the show next year, and I'm crossing my fingers that I get one.
Charlaine Harris is a wonderful writer. You can tell she's a good writer. This book however is BORING. She excels at creating multifaceted and interesting characters, good dialog and great small town settings with depth. This plot though...arrrggg. There's no major conflict, and the publisher/editors let her get away with rambling on and on about the town and the small ins and outs of small town dinamics. Then, an interesting hint is dropped about one of the characters...then nothing. Show me the conflict!
Another issue I had with this was the point of view it's written in. It's 3rd person and I would have to say it's omniscient. It's distancing and feels a bit awkward. I had a very hard time sinking into the characters as this felt like it was almost more of a screenplay instead of a novel. I could adjust to the POV, however the lack of plot kills it. I couldn't force myself to finish it.
Does the series match the book? Not really. In the TV series, Manfred seems to be the Star. In the novel, every character has their place, but I'd say Bobo and Figi are the two main book characters.
There are plenty of differences, and a few similarities. Here are a few...
1. Manfred's Grandmother isn't really a character in this book. Where in the Series, she's a main driver of the story.
2. Manfred has a trailer in the series, in the novel, it's other characters whom live in a trailer. Those being Madonna, the owner of the restaurant, together with her baby and lover (Teacher).
3. Teacher is not a character in the series. Well he might be on the sidelines, but that's all.
4. There are hints in the book that the Rev is a were-animal. But he never transforms into a Tiger, like in the TV show.
5. Figi is a full figured White woman in the book, while in the television show she's a thin African-American woman. Note: having her African-American in the TV series could have worked better because of the evil White Supremacist subplot, but it wasn't used. Her being White was used in the book when she was kidnapped. I think if she was Black, she would've been beaten or killed by her kidnappers.
6. In the book, both Joe and Chuy appear to be some type of Angel, but in the TV show, only Joe is an angel, a fallen angel.
7. There's no "thinning of the barrier" in the novel, just in the show.
8. Manfred and Creek don't have a thing in the novel, but in the show they're lovers.
And many of the events in the show don't occur in the novel. For example, there's no band of vampires, nor an attacking succubus (but there is a woman in the novel who has a glamour of beauty when she's actually an old hag - but she doesn't go around killing people).
I admit we may find out more when the final episodes air. I know that there's one key event coming up and I won't spoil that (it's the answer to the main mystery).
I'd recommend these books, they're fun, and for those who miss True Blood, they're a fair replacement.
I really liked her other series. This one was just too flat for me.
Top international reviews
After a time the body of Bobo's missing girlfriend is discovered and it appears that she has been murdered. The inhabitants of the town and the local sheriff (I recognised him from the Aurora Teagarden novels) investigate and the town which has seemed twee and safe is suddenly revealed to have some very dark secrets and some people dedicated to keeping them hidden.
This is a clever and engaging book. It seems on the surface to be a fun story of magical folk but it actually has a lot of depth. The theme of the book is diversity and living together as exemplified in the various characters in the town but there is also an examination of bigotry and hate. The ending of the story is truly shocking and you certainly cannot see it coming from the gentle beginning - I am very much looking forward to seeing where the author takes us in subsequent novels.
There's nothing wrong with the book per se, it just all feels so slow and small. Each character felt so flat and lifeless after their small screen counterparts had been met. Lemuel and Olivia are perhaps the best exponents of this, their on screen realisation gives them both a brooding air of menace that just isn't apparent in the novel. At least we get to find out, via Manfred, exactly what shade of different Lemuel is and make no mistake everyone here in Midnight is a little different. Fiji is loud and proud about her differences right from the beginning so there is no mystery there but by the end of the first book everyone else is just a varying degree of peculiar with no reveal. The problem is by the time I got to the end of the book I found I didn't really care too much.
I also found that I could not stir up any real interest in the cast and their various predicaments. Indeed, where it not for having watched the TV Series I would be hard pushed to remember any names at all, ridiculous as some of them are - Bobo, seriously! The best written character, for me, was The Rev. His secret is well hidden and he comes across as a tortured soul who is trying his best to make amends for past indiscretions, he really did work well in the book.
The plot wasn't enough to salvage the book from mediocrity either. The disappearance of Audrey and the ramifications from that are handled well and do manage to drum up some tension - the resolution of it is a mere damp squib though. Considering what the resolution is this is a surprise but it just doesn't quite work. The parallel story of Bobo and his family's links to some less than salubrious groups just seems completely outrageous and unlikely. Add to that the weakest fizzle out of a storyline I have seen in some time and it becomes an exercise in eye rolling.
I should have known that this would be a disappointing read of a wonderful idea. Why? Simply put the Harper Connolly series never managed to capture my imagination so that stopped at the first book and the Sookie Stackhouse series got progressively more and more bizarre so that by the time I was 5 or 6 books deep I was reading more for the ridiculous situations than anything else. Unfortunately Ms Harris seems to be an author that comes up with some fantastic ideas but then manages to dilute them in their execution.
I have given this 3 Stars mainly because I am aware that I have been comparing this to the TV Series all the way through and that I may have allowed that to colour my impressions of the novel. Honestly I think I gave this book 1 Star just because I felt sorry that it didn't match up to what followed.
I’m hooked! The first book in the Midnight Texas series reminded me of all the reasons I fell in love with Charlaine Harris’ writing. This series has more in common with the Aurora Teagarden Mysteries and the Lily Bard books than it does the more famous True Blood series and I loved the quiet quirkiness of Midnight and it’s strange citizens.
I will admit that this starts very slowly. Each character is introduced with layers of description and there is more focus on atmosphere than plot for the first half of the book. But the characters are wonderful. A little bit mundane. A little bit Southern Gothic. A little bit macabre.
At first, readers join the town’s newest resident Manfred (from the Harper Connelly books) as he tries to understand his strange neighbours. But soon there are dead bodies and a murder that readers must attempt to solve with little moments of information gleaned from various town residents.
I loved the characters. I loved the puzzle and I loved the bizarre mix of ordinary small town life and the disturbing, slightly supernatural happenings in Midnight Texas.
It had interesting characters (Manfred appeared in the Harper books and Bobo in the Lily Bard) and I was curious to know more about them. The inhabitants of Midnight were weird in different ways which were gradually revealed (vampire, witch) and others whose secrets were hinted at but not yet revealed. We got bits of several points of view but mostly from Manfred.
It had stretches which were a bit boring but then it would catch my interest again. I was tempted to give it 3 stars.
Unfortunately, the style is just too superficial for me, insults my intelligence by putting obvious or inane additions in parenthesis all the time, has a series of stereotyped “social misfits”, and is just a little too Hicksville for a town where everyone is (apparently?) not actually from Hicksville. The plot is silly, over complicated (*spoilers*) especially for a bunch of people who basically don’t know each other, the ending abrupt and just too neat. The addition of white suprematists seemed gratuitous and over-engineered, unless the only point was to really unsubtly drive the “you’re ok, we’re all ok” equality message home.
It gets going towards the end, but only really because the characters get weirder. An obvious set-up for the sequels, I dislike the fact that most of the characters are waiting offstage for the next installment and weren’t used fully in this book. Feels like acheap way to squeeze another title out - it could have been condensed into a prologue for the real story... but I will not be looking for the rest of the series or from this author.
Midnight is a mystery town in the middle of nowhere. At a glance nothing happens here. There are a few shops and not much else but at a second look this town isn't what it seems. It has supernatural residents, mystery and a whole lot of trouble.
Overall it was ok.
I confess I should have read this book a long time ago, well what I mean is usually when a Charlaine Harris book comes out I buy it straight away and devour it, but Midnight Crossroad came out not long after I started blogging and I was excitedly overwhelmed by some other crazy good books and they kind off got in the way.
If you are a fan you will know book 2 in this series (of which I will be reviewing soon, making up for lost time you see!) is out soon and I wanted to see if Midnight Crossroad lived up to the excellence of it's predecessors, you know the ones - Aurora, Sookie, Harper and Lily plus countless other stories Charlaine has written.
Midnight was nearly a did not finish, just nearly but I persevered, Midnight is a small town is the back end of nowhere, Texas, it's inhabitants are few but the ones who live there are close knit and a little on the eccentric side, new arrival Manfred Bernardo (devoted readers of CH's work should recognise this character from a previous series) has come to Midnight to start a new life and to work in private as a psychic.
Now as we learn about him and the other people who live here it seemed to take ages to get anywhere, it did plod a little, those first couple dozen pages where a little tough but they are worth the wait.
The book all of a sudden goes from slow burn to WTF just happened? What seemed to be a book about some quirky characters turns in to a supernatural murder mystery with the added bonus of some characters from all of her series popping in to the dialogue.
I don't want to spoil it for you but one of the town's residents girlfriend had walked out on him, her body is found, he is a suspect but it turns out her life was full of lies plus he has some of his and the other residents lives slowly become less private as the police start snooping round and some less desirable characters too.
Charlaine Harris is one of my favourite writers (though I'm not sure if I have forgiven her for the last Sookie book) and I am glad I stuck with this one, thinking back the town (if you can call it that) of Midnight is slow paced and the start of the book introduces us gently to the characters, told from several POV's too it really is an enjoyable read and I shall be starting book 2 very shortly.
The whole thing, whilst having a small supernatural element, is a well plotted murder mystery.
I enjoyed it so much I immediately ordered book number 2.
The only downside is a certain group of antagonists were too easily beaten at the end, but that didn't spoil my enjoyment. After all, there are two more books so it might be resolved a little better in those.
And just to finish, I love Mr Snuggles.