Day Shift, by Charlaine Harris

Day Shift is the second book in Charlaine Harris’s series about Midnight, Texas. And I have to say that it is every bit as good as the first book, Midnight Crossing.

Day Shift begins with some big trucks rumbling into Midnight. That, in itself, is not so odd. But, apparently, these trucks were bringing supplies and equipment into town to renovate the old Rio Roca Fria Hotel, at the intersection of the Davy Highway and Witch Light Road.

All of the residents come out to watch. Manfred, the local psychic, who only recently moved into Midnight; Fifi, the witch; Bobo Winthrop, the pawn shop owner; Teacher Reed, who is temporarily running the “Gas N Go” store (the people who ran that store had to make a hasty exit at the end of Midnight Crossing); Madonna Reed, cook and owner of “Home Cookin’,” holding their infant, Grady, in her arms; Joe Strong and Chuy Villegas, Antique Gallery and Nail Salon owners; and “the Rev,” a somewhat mysterious character who runs a pet cemetery behind his chapel.

Only Olivia and Lemuel are missing. Olivia’s out of town on a “job,” and Lemuel is out of town, doing research on some rare books that Manfred found in the last book.

Fast forward a few months, and Manfred is checking into a hotel in Dallas to have some personal sessions with some of his clients. He runs into Olivia in the same hotel, but they pretty much pretend not to notice each other, at least at first.

Then the couple Olivia with which Olivia was having dinner turns up dead, an apparent murder/suicide. Then Manfred’s client dies in the middle of their session. The world turns upside down for Manfred, at that point.

In Day Shift, we learn a lot more about Manfred, Olivia, and the Rev, who is part of a side plot that develops during the story. Not all that we learn is “good.” But, then, that’s to be expected from the residents of Midnight, Texas.

I enjoyed the various plots that threaded throughout this story, and I believe it came to a satisfactory ending. The character development is, in my opinion, rich, even though Lemuel remained pretty much out of the picture throughout this story. I’m hoping he is featured more in the next one, which is, not surprisingly, called Night Shift.

TTFN, y’all!

Midnight Crossroad, by Charlaine Harris

midnight-crossroad

This is the first “non-Sookie” book of Charlaine’s that I have read, and I loved it! In Midnight Crossroad, we are introduced to a tiny town in Texas, called Midnight. They have a convenience store, a small chapel with a pet cemetery behind it, a nail salon, a pawn shop, and a magic shop. Oh, and a diner. Each of those places is run by someone significant to this story.

As the book begins, a newcomer is moving into a house owned by the pawn shop owner, Bobo. His name is Manfred, and he is an “Internet psychic.” He has some true talent, but rarely uses it in his business. Fiji, a real “witch,” runs the magic shop. “The Rev” is in charge of the chapel and pet cemetery, while a gay couple named Joe and Chuy run the nail salon. The convenience store is run by the Lovells, Shawn, the father, along with Conner, the son, and Creek, the daughter. Madonna runs the diner, with some help from her significant other, who is called Teacher. Also in the town are Lemuel (apparently Creek’s and Conner’s uncle), and Olivia, a strange woman about whom no one seems to know much.

For the most part, no one knows a whole lot about people who live in Midnight, and that’s the way they like it. There’s a reason most people live there, and they keep it to themselves. Manfred seems to fit right in, because by the end of the book, Fiji remarks that she had forgotten that he hadn’t lived there very long. That was a compliment.

The story line is two fold. Part of it revolves around a white supremacy group who believes that Bobo is hiding an arms stash that he inherited from his grandfather. The other part revolves around a mysterious girlfriend of Bobo’s, named Aubrey, who disappeared a while ago, before Manfred came to town.

Ms. Harris has done, in my opinion, a great job of creating an environment with a gripping set of residents, along with a plot that held my interest quite solidly, throughout. There is a totally unexpected plot twist at the end that almost left my head spinning. Two, in fact.

Oh, I almost forgot about Fiji’s cat, Mr. Snuggly. He has a rather interesting talent that we don’t discover until about two-thirds through the book.

I can’t wait to read the next book, Day Shift.

TTFN, y’all!