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).
Stop at the one traffic light in town, and everything looks normal. Stay awhile, and learn the truth...
This is my first Charlaine Harris book and I'm actually glad I started with this one. While it had quite a slow start, introducing characters and getting to know them all and how they interact with each other, but once it got going, it was smoothly written and the mystery/thriller element was incredibly gripping.
All the residents of Midnight were all a little bit weird, like a collective town of strange-ness, from Fiji's witchy powers to Bobo's disappearing girlfriend. So newcomer Manfred, with his online psychic business, will fit right in. The big one was Lemuel, Bobo's downstairs tenant, who turns out to be vampire. Which is perfectly fine and pretty awesome but what got me was how Manfred wasn't freaked out by this! It is one thing to have sort of psychic powers but it is quite another to find an energy vampire feeding off you without explaining. That was my one main bugbear, but apart from that, I really liked all the characters; they all had their own distinct voice and personality, some quiet and some obnoxious, and all were very interesting to learn about. Plus, everyone was perfectly content with keeping secrets; no one knew anything about Bobo's grandfather or why Shawn's kids aren't allowed online and while this did annoy me quite a bit, it was fun to try and guess, and the prolonged hints made the reveal exciting and often surprising.
I did like it but the supernatural was not the main focus, and as I was expecting that, I was left a little disappointed. But thinking back, I think I actually prefer it that way; allow Midnight's residents to have their secrets and have a story that explored extreme politics and influences. The whole mystery/thriller plotline, as I said, was very cool to read about and very well woven in with Midnight's secrets as well as the awful white-supremacist politics. All in all, a great introduction to the town and its residents and a great story that kept me gripped until the very end.
Published 8th May 2014 by Gollancz. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.