Thursday, 9 April 2015

Review: Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris

Publication Date: 9th April 2015 (paperback)
Publisher: Gollancz
Length: 305 pages
Huge thanks to Netgalley and Gollancz for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review
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 book and I almost didn’t hit it off with the prologue, the slightly odd narrative style and over explanation/rambling details about staircases and windows and where doors were was incredibly off putting and I very nearly put the book down just a few pages in. However that felt like I wasn’t giving it a fair chance and I decided to at least see how the first few chapters went – at which point I was hooked…
This is my first foray into Harris’ writing, although I have watched a good deal of the TV show ‘True Blood’ and I was really caught off guard by it. The omnipresent narrative voice was something I haven’t found in a book in some time and it was fascinating. It really felt like it was almost the town itself telling the story, adding in odd little details about what people were doing on the other side of town. Fascinating, strange and a little jarring to get used to at first the writing style had moments of clunkiness, but on the whole it worked really well at sucking me in and hooking me into the story.
The real brilliance is in the sense of the town and the characters that Harris has created. She captures that small town atmosphere perfectly and I loved getting to know these people and the secrets they’ve been hiding – although it feels like there are still many more secrets left to uncover.
I feel in love with these characters without even realising it. They were such an odd and eclectic mix of people yet they make a truly amazing group. Whilst we got snippets from a lot of different residents there are still plenty of people left to find out more about and I genuinely cannot wait to get back to Midnight with the next book.

I also really loved that on the whole things weren’t spelled out for the reader. The people living here had known each other (and this world) for some time so things like vampires didn’t need explaining exactly. The reader was left to use their brain and keep up with the world as it unfolded without being spoonfed every detail, which I loved. So often you have unrealistic exposition so that the reader knows everything easily and it becomes jarring and irritating when the characters would have no real reason to do that. This meant my brain had to do some leg work and I had a couple of moments where my perception of the town had to shift to accommodate new information, but I loved that.
It was slightly frustrating to have worked out the killer at the point that they are first introduced, I think I may have read too many murder mysteries with twists! But despite the shock value being taken away from that I still really loved the puzzle as everyone tried to work out who the murderer was.
This is a really fantastic start to a new series, with a wonderfully eclectic cast of characters and a truly strange town they call home. I loved it and I cannot wait to get back to Midnight for more.

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