Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Review: Day Shift by Charlaine Harris

Publication Date: 7th May 2015
Publisher: Gollancz
Length: 320 pages
Huge thanks to Netgalley and Gollancz for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review
Welcome to Midnight, Texas.
It's a quiet little town, perched at the junction between Davy Road and Witch Light Road, and it's easy to miss. With its boarded-up windows, single traffic light and sleepy air, there's nothing special about Midnight . . . which is exactly how the residents like it.
So when the news comes that a new owner plans to renovate the run-down, abandoned old hotel in town, it's not met with pleasure. Who would want to come to Midnight, with its handful of shops, the 
Home Cookin diner, and quiet residents - and why?
But there are bigger problems in the air. When Manfred Bernado, the newest resident in town, is swept up in a deadly investigation suddenly the hotel and its residents are the least of the towns concern. The police, lawyers and journalists are all headed to Midnight, and it's the worst possible moment…
Even though ‘Midnight Crossroad’ and I didn’t get off to the best start, I ended up storming straight through the book in one sitting and came out the other side absolutely loving it and desperate to get back to Midnight to know more. So when I realised the second book in the series was almost upon us I jumped straight back into the sleepy little piece of Texas that is filled with supernatural goings on.
This instalment didn’t flow quite as well for me as the first one. The narrative style is very jarring in places and will put some people off more than others. In the prologues of both books I’ve found it almost too frustrating to get through, but then it eases off into the narrative of the rest of the book and I found myself able to ignore the clunky sections. However the clunky sections were a lot more apparent in this novel, so there where quite a few points where the over complex, telling the reader everything instead of showing them, became more than a little frustrating.
It was also frustrating for this narrative to be less focussed on the characters of Midnight. They were there at the outskirts, but there wasn’t the same concentration as in the first book. Everything was taken up with the murder mystery surrounding Manfred and the actual folk of Midnight are left hanging. The murder mystery was interesting, but it feels like it is tied up far too simply towards the end of the book – almost as though the author became bored. Everything is suddenly poofed into being ok again.
There are so many threads of story and backstory that are picked up, toyed with and then discarded. It felt like a very bitty novel that didn’t really get into the stories that it was trying to at the start.
It’s still a very good and involving story, and I whipped through it in a matter of hours. I loved the time spent at Midnight, I loved finding out a little more about the residents – although it felt as though more questions were raised than answered. I did miss the time spent in the close knit community though – the dinners at Home Cookin’ and the time in Fiji’s shop and the pawnshop. I’m hoping that the next instalment will take us back to the roots of the first book and really get into the mysteries that have been left unsolved from this book and let the characters drive the book again.
If you’re a fan of Charlaine Harris’ other books, or indeed loved the first book then definitely check this one out, although you won’t find quite such a satisfying story it is still a fantastic instalment and sets more up for the third book. If you’re thinking of trying out Charlaine’s books for the first time I definitely recommend starting with the first book ‘Midnight Crossroad’ and be warned that sometimes the writing style can be a little frustrating and awkward, but get past that and you won’t regret it. Midnight is waiting to welcome you in.

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