After watching season 1 of True Blood when it hit DVD, I searched out Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampire Mysteries series (AKA The Sookie Stackhouse series). I was hooked pretty quickly but eventually got burned out on the series and stopped reading (although I plan to pick it up again someday). The other day, I was at my local mall and noticed the bookstore was having a going out of business sale and decided to look around. I left with all 3 books in Charlaine Harris’ Midnight Texas series and sped through book 1, Midnight Crossroad, in a couple days. Here are my thoughts.
Midnight Crossroad is the first book in the Midnight Texas series by Charlaine Harris.
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 the Davy highway. It’s a pretty standard dried-up western town.
There’s a pawnshop with three residents. One is seen only at night. There’s a diner, but people stopping there tend not to linger. There’s a newcomer, Manfred Bernardo, who just wants to work hard and blend in. But Manfred has secrets of his own…
Midnight Crossroad wasn’t at all what I expected. I was expecting something akin to the Sookie Stackhouse series with a male protagonist in a Texas town. That isn’t the case at all, but don’t think of that as a bad thing. Arguably, Manfred Bernardo is the protagonist, but this is really more of an ensemble piece and an ensemble piece is only as good as its characters. Luckily, those characters are wonderful. Manfred is a psychic who finds himself moving to the small, close knit town of Midnight, Texas. Here he meets an interesting cast of characters. Lets take a look at the major characters.
Bobo Winthrop: Manfred’s landlord and all around good guy. He has a mysterious past. Owns the local pawn shop.
Fiji Cavanaugh: Lives across the street from Bobo and harbors a major crush on him. Is also a pretty powerful witch. Lives with her cat familiar Mr. Snuggly.
Lemuel: Tenant of Bobo. Also works at the pawn shop on the night shift. Is a energy and blood sucking vampire. Dating Olivia.
Olivia Charity: A take charge woman who is Lemuel’s girlfriend. She has a job that requires her to travel a lot.
Creek Lovell: A college age woman who works 2 jobs. Manfred has a major crush on her. Sister of Connor. Daughter of Shawn.
Reverend Emilio Sheenan: A man of few words. Conducts animal funerals at the local pet cemetery.
What really sold me on the book were the characters and their relationships. They all go out of their way to help each other, even if it requires them getting their hands dirty. Manfred finds him self gradually becoming a major part of the group and wanting to do right by them, even if it puts him in significant danger. The plot centers on the mystery of who killed Bobo’s girlfriend, Aubrey, who wasn’t quite who she seemed. Was the killer someone connected to her past life? Was it Bobo? Or was it someone else from the town? Honestly, I didn’t see the answer coming. I was completely shocked. Something that intrigues me is that there are mentions of blood substitutes (a tie to the Sookie Stackhouse series) and Bobo’s references earlier in life to going to karate class with Lily Bard (the eponymous protagonist of the Lily Bard Shakespeare series). I’m curious to see if these are just fun little Easter eggs for Harris fans or if they have a deeper connection later in the series. I’m excited to find out more about these characters and their pasts as I progress through the series.
I picked up The Midnight Texas series expecting something similar to the Sookie Stackhouse series, and while I was wrong, I wasn’t disappointed. While a little tame by comparison (there is little violence and no sex to speak of), I enjoyed the characters and their relationships and I thought the mystery unfolded in a interesting way. After reading Midnight Crossroad, I’m looking forward to reading the last two books in the series and seeing where Mrs. Harris takes these intriguing characters.