by Charlaine Harris
I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher, via Netgalley, this does not affect my opinion of this book or the content of my review.
There is no such thing as bad publicity, except in Midnight, Texas, where the residents like to keep to themselves. Even in a town full of secretive people, Olivia Charity is an enigma. She lives with the vampire Lemuel, but no one knows what she does; they only know that she’s beautiful and dangerous.
Psychic Manfred Bernardo finds out just how dangerous when he goes on a working weekend to Dallas and sees Olivia there with a couple who are both found dead the next day. To make matters worse, one of Manfred’s regular—and very wealthy—clients dies during a reading.
Manfred returns from Dallas embroiled in scandal and hounded by the press. He turns to Olivia for help; somehow he knows that the mysterious Olivia can get things back to normal. As normal as things get in Midnight…
This is the second book in Charlaine Harris’ Midnight, Texas Series. I enjoyed Midnight Crossroad, but had some concerns at the aims for the series.
And I think I was right to be concerned with the aims. While there were flashes of brilliance, and elements that I enjoyed in this book, great big old chunks of it seemed like nothing more than backlist baiting. We have one very popular character of a former series who has shown up with what appears to be a retconned back-story and completely stripped of any of his former personality. (As an aside, due to events in this story it is apparent Harris has decided that the Dead But Not Forgotten book of stories is not canonical-which I find insanely frustrating.) And a second character from that series also made an appearance but it seemed contrived and not anything that couldn’t better have been handled with someone in this series.
I enjoyed seeing more of Manfred, and I definitely enjoyed getting to know Olivia (she’s so delightfully morally ambivalent). And Fiji, Chuy, Joe, and the Rev were very integral to the story and we were able to see more of their character’s hidden facets. Bobo was more of a side character this time, as was Lemuel, and that is okay because trying to make everyone take center stage would have made this book even more scattered than it turned out to be. I think Ms. Harris might be struggling with a series that doesn’t just have one or two main characters. And Manfred’s mystery was overall very entertaining as was the side plot involving the new business in town. There were some “what were you thinking?/why aren’t you thinking?” type moments with Manfred and Olivia, but they usually acknowledged those and corrected. But a third shoehorned in mystery was just too much and done for no real purpose that I can see at this time.
Finally, the book just sort of ended. Only one thing was resolved, and the rest was just left hanging. I suppose it is to set up for the next book, but really it felt abrupt and unfinished and I kept paging back and forth looking for the rest of it. I’ll probably try to catch this at the library to make sure there isn’t something that was fixed for the publication from the ARC.
Overall, I am rating this 3 stars, but bottom line-get it from the library, wait for paperback pricing, or cost share with a friend.
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