Review: Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris

Posted May 14, 2014 by Jessica in Jessica, Reviews, Urban Fantasy / 94 Comments

Review: Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris
Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris
Series: Midnight, Texas #1
Published by ACE
Published on: May 6 2014
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
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From Charlaine Harris, the bestselling author who created Sookie Stackhouse and her world of Bon Temps, Louisiana, comes a darker locale—populated by more strangers than friends. But then, that’s how the locals prefer it…

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...


I love Charlaine Harris. Really, I do.

When I started reading her Sookie Stackhouse books, I was so desperate for more Harris reading material (in the between books time) that I did something I’d never done before—I read mysteries.

Why did I read mysteries?

B/c that’s what Harris writes. She wrote mysteries for years, only having middling success. I don’t know if Harris had a dream filled with vampires and werewolves and fairies (oh, my!) one night, or if a decision to jump on the Urban Fantasy bandwagon prompted the genre switch, but even while writing bestselling Urban Fantasies, she still managed to incorporate her beloved elements of mystery.

And she wasn’t lazy about it either.

Occasionally when reading Paranormal Romance, you’ll stumble across a series that is essentially contemporary romance + a vampire or two. Some author will decide to milk the PNR cash cow, but doesn’t want to do the research, so she’ll write a normal romance, turn the hero into a vampire or werewolf, substitute a peanut allergy with a garlic or silver allergy, and call it a day.

Lazy. Lazy AND infuriating.

Harris did the opposite of this with her Sookie Stackhouse and Harper Connelly series, and she’s done it again in her new Midnight, Texas trilogy. But this time she’s managed to almost perfectly merge her bread (mystery) with her butter (UF).

Midnight, Texas is a peculiar little town. It has one stoplight, a few small, locally owned and run businesses, and a handful of residents, ALL of whom have a secret.

It also has one very important, but unspoken rule: don’t ask questions.

This book got off to a bit of a rocky start for me (the first couple of chapters were less than stellar), but lover-of-Charlaine-Harris that I am, I persevered, and in the end, there was only one thing that really bothered me . . .

Too many POVs.

Too many different people, with too many different background stories, and too many hints into their secret pasts, kept me from becoming emotionally invested in ANY of them.

But in hindsight, I can see that it was a kind of necessary evil. The plot wasn’t the only source mystery in Midnight Crossroad, you see—every important character was a mystery unto him or herself.

Our story opens with the knowledge that a newcomer has moved to town, and I took for granted that this new person was the MC . . . but a few POVs later, I was no longer certain. EVERY character seems to be given equal weight, and has an equally shadowy past. I didn’t even figure out the main plot until I was halfway into the book<——as frustrating as it was cool.

But frustrating and/or cool, this book definitely kept me on my toes. It was also hilariously clever in that deep South, small town way that Harris has mastered, and ultimately, as many POVs as there were, I still began to develop interest in the characters. I’m fairly certain that by the time I finish the next book (which I will definitely be reading), I will be well and fully invested in the lives of the residents of Midnight, Texas. Even observing as the outsider I felt like I was, it was impossible to not want to know more.

Will Fiji and Bobo (yes, those are unfortunately their real names) ever be more than friends? What is Manfred really hiding from? Is Olivia some kind of super, secret assassin? Is that why she keeps disappearing?

I just don’t know.

But I NEED to.

And that is why I highly recommend this book. Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris is the promising first installment of her new Midnight, Texas trilogy. It combines the classic elements of mystery with the highly popular supernatural elements of Urban Fantasy, and weaves a story that will keep you guessing who (or what) dunit, from start to finish (and I can almost guarantee that your guess will be wrong). So please, come and meet the residents of Midnight, Texas—you won’t be able to rest until you uncover their secrets . . .

Jessica Signature

One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

My name is Jessica and I live in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I’m trying my hand at writing, but mostly I read. My favorite genres are Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, and the YA versions of those genres, but if there is a book of a different color getting lots of buzz, I’ll read it too, just to be informed. If I’m not reading or writing, I’m probably on Goodreads or Pinterest or baking blueberry pies because I love them.


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94 responses to “Review: Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris

    • Me TOO (if you couldn’t tell, LOL). She’s got the be some kind of mercenary or super-spy, right? And yeah, there’s no way I won’t be continuing this series. I’m already kind of sad that it’s only a trilogy.

  1. I never read the Stackhouse series, like so many others UF with multiple books it is quite a commitment to start a new one.

    Then lo and behold, I see this, which looks like it is more up my alley anyway (multiple PoV’s don’t scare epic fantasy readers). So this is much more likely to be a starting point for the likes of me.

    • Yes, UF series can turn into quite a commitment, but that’s kind of funny coming from a Reader-of-Epic-Fantasy 😉 Then again, I guess not ALL epic fantasy series have 12-14 installments like my favorite one does, LOL. I’m not afraid of multitudes of POVs either, but in epic fantasy, you have 600+ pages to get attached to all of the various characters, and here I had just over 300. Still, I really liked it, and I hope you do too, if you decide to check it out.

  2. I have been waiting (read, dying) for someone to review this. I really really want this to be good. I loved the Sookie books until around book 8 or so and then was so disappointed like most people were so when I saw a new trilogy, I have had high hopes for it.

    While it isn’t perfect, I am happy to hear you say it is a promising start.

    • VERY promising start. I have a feeling that this trilogy is going to be one of those that improves with each reread. Seriously, the only thing lacking was full-on commitment to the characters, and if Harris keeps it up, book 2 will solve that problem, making book 1 MUCH more enjoyable the next time around.

  3. Shoot Jessica! Multiple POVs is always the kiss of death for a book for me. I just can’t deal with them. I like to have one or two central characters I can fall in love with and emotionally attach myself to (picture me suctioned like a starfish to my books), and I always, always struggle when there are too many people for me to follow. I’m glad that despite that though you enjoyed this story overall and you’re looking forward to uncovering more secrets in the next book!

    • Yeah, if multiple POVs are a deal-breaker for you, then you do NOT want to read this one. There were at least half a dozen different perspectives. BUT as Nathan pointed out, readers of Epic Fantasy aren’t scared of a lot of different viewpoints, so I’ll keep on trucking 😉 Sorry this isn’t for you though . . .

  4. I have to admit, I wasn’t interested in reading this at all, but you’ve definitely made me curious about it now. Too many point of views can be difficult for me, but I like the sound of the mystery here and the fact that it kept you on your toes. Plus, I think I need to dive back into the UF genre soon. 🙂 Great review!

  5. I’ve only read the first book of the Sookie series just to be able to say I did, but haven’t been able to continue. At this point, the number of books in it has reached “intimidating” proportions and given my already loaded to-read list, I don’t know if I’ll ever manage it 😛

    So yeah, I am really tempted to pick up this one. Fresh start, and seems like a quick read too. Considering how insanely popular Harris is I’m sure I’ll be able to find this one at the library in all format too, so score! AND the icing on the cake is that I get to add one more book to my to-read pile and blame this one on you 😉

    • You know, a couple of years ago, I would have been absolutely THRILLED to find a new series with 13 unread books in it . . . oh, how the times change, LOL. So yeah, I totally get it, and this one would be a great place to start b/c it’s already listed as a trilogy, so even getting in at the beginning isn’t the daunting commitment that some UF series can turn into 😉

      And I will never catch up to you! My TBR pile is a shambles b/c of you 😛

  6. If the book has some of that first Stackhouse novels charm, I will try it out at some point.
    Tbh I’m still sort of too disappointed by the ending of the Stackhouse series (which to me was totally frustrating and not at all entertaining, sigh) to invest myself in any new one. It seemed to me that the author lost interest in fully investing her skills (shown in the first books in the series in all their juicy glory) into those last novels there.
    Which makes me seriously reluctant to commit to a new series, sadly. I guess I don’t trust her interest to keep me entertained as a reader right now. And once lost, that trust is mighty difficult to regain. If I do though, this one I will certainly want to check out.

    • Yeah, I was disappointed in how Sookie went to, but I’m not quite ready to write her off just yet. And this is a trilogy, so there will be no 10+ year wait to find out how this one is going to go, so that’s BONUS 😉

  7. I’ve set this one to the side for right now. The beginning was so…BORING. Description. New character. More description. New character. Rinse and repeat. I do plan on finishing it at some point…

  8. I’ve read Harper Connelly and though it was a slow start, it was a great read. Suffice to say that I was disappointed on how Sookie Stackhouse ended, that series should’ve ended after book 6. Will try this one, I agree with you, she does write great mysteries.

  9. I wasn’t a fan of the Sookie Stackhouse series (dropped the series after book 3) so I’m not sure this one would be for me. Glad it got better after a few chapters. I hate when a book drags, that’s what happened to me with Sookie so I gave up! That being said this sounds like a different world so I might just take a chance on it, I love trilogies…not too much of a commitment 🙂

    • I had no idea how many people prefer trilogies. If a series is good, I want as many installments as possible. And I’ll admit that while the first Sookie book wasn’t my favorite, I did really like the series by book 3 . . . I would maybe hold off on this one until the next book is out b/c 1. the first couple of chapters are truly terrible, and 2. if you’re like me, and the book doesn’t immediately hook you, you’re about 80% less likely to pick up the next one, if there’s a long wait. Then again, maybe this one will rock your socks off 😉 I can at least agree that this world is VERY different from Sookie’s world.

      • It easier for me to commit to three books than ten! Sometimes a series can drag on but a trilogy gives you just enough time to meet the characters and get closure…haha 🙂

      • That’s definitely true. With my TBR list being as out of control as it is, you’d think I’d stop panicking about running out of things to read, LOL. More is not always better 😉

  10. I think too many characters and POVs is one of the issues I have with mystery books. I have a hard time caring about everyone and just get bored lol. I’m interested in trying this one though.

  11. I actually just picked this one up, and it’s my first Charlaine Harris book. *blush* I just never got around to reading the Sookie Stackhouse books, but I do love the sound of this new series. I like multi pov if done well, I need to connect with them. The supernatural elements and mystery are what drew me to this book, so I’m glad you enjoyed it Jessica 🙂

    • I really did enjoy it, and *crosses fingers* I really hope you do too. It definitely covers the supernatural elements and mystery bases. Maybe if you like this one, we can sucker you into reading others 😉

  12. What!!! I didn’t know she has a new series! I have to admit I haven’t read any of her books but I’ve listened to all of them on audio and you can bet this one is going on my audible wish list. If they get the narration right I bet it will be awesome to listen to with all the different and peculiar points of views. Is it bad that I think the name Manfred is weirder than Bobo? I have clearly been in Alabama to long. 🙂

    • NO. No, it is NOT weird. I actually have a HUGE problem with the name Manfred. I memorized a portion of Byron’s epic poem (Manfred) when I was in one of my upper division lit classes in college, and it’s all about this guy who “loves” his dead sister just a little bit too much, ifyouknowwhatimean . . . *shudders* He goes to hell to try to bargain with the Fates for her—SO creepy. So yeah, I don’t think that’s weird at all, LOL. Fortunately, this Manfred has nothing to do with that Manfred, and I bet in audio the different POVs would be cool 😉

  13. freaking BOBO? Really? That is the word my cousin uses for her child when they refer to his penis. Like “Don’t pull down your pants no one wants to see your bobo” sort of thing.

    Alright the too many POVs might bug me – I’m still totally buying this though.

  14. Great review, Jessica! I’m planning to check this one out eventually but it is good to hear that it was actually a great read. The Sookie books kind of petered out towards the end for me.

  15. Why do I feel like this is leading to a tv show called “Twin Peaks” or “Fargo”? Meh… I still need to get up the cajones to read the last Sookie (I don’t think I want to know who she ends up with).

    But I DO love your reviews 😉

    • Thank you, my lovely 😉 And I never watched Twin Peaks OR Fargo, so I can’t say anything about that. I can, however, say that I don’t blame you about Sookie #13. I’m in a state of panic right now with the last Hollows book only a few months away from publication . . . it doesn’t matter the reason, sometimes we just aren’t ready for the end.

  16. She isn’t my fave writer, but I do enjoy her. I am behind on the Sookie novels so I still need to finish that, and I admit, I have a couple of her Harper books on tbr, but haven’t gotten to them just yet. I’m glad that aside from the multi POVs it was enjoyable. I’m going to try this one. Just disappointed in the multi POV since it usually draws me out of a story.

    • Me too, but really it wasn’t terrible. I guess I should wait until the next book comes out before I endorse this one across the board, but if Harris keeps up what she’s doing the multiple POV issue should resolve itself. And I hope you read the Harper Connelly books—I LOVED them 😉

  17. I see that I’m not the only one that hasn’t read the last Sookie….LOL But I promise one of this days I will 🙂 I can see myself giving this one a shot, after all, I do love her writing style, and this sounds good to me. I pretty sure this is either out (I have to check) on audio or it will be soon.
    Thank you Jessica.

    • I love her writing style too. As disappointed as I was in Sookie, Harris had too good of a run to just call it quits (IMO 😉 ). And I think it is out in audio. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure that’s how Felicia went with this one.

  18. I’m terrified of Charlaine Harris. I’ve never read her books but I’m afraid of not liking her. Or liking her too much and becoming a crazy fan. But this one sounds really good. It makes me think of Omens by Kelley Armstrong. Have you read that one? It was really good, slow but good!

    • Yes, I’m a BIG time Kelley Armstrong fan too, and I read Omens the second it showed up on my front porch . . . and it made not one lick of sense to me, LOL. I’m not giving up on it, b/c like I said—I heart Kelley Armstrong, but this one, as mysterious as it was, explained a good deal more than Omeans did. And there are worse things than becoming a crazy Charlaine Harris fangirl 😉

  19. My review goes up for this tomorrow. It started rocky for me as well, but I hung on and liked it enough by the end that I want to continue because I want to know more about the characters as well.

  20. This sounds great, despite the fact that there were too many POVs and too many characters and that each character wasn’t given the amount of attention you felt they needed. I’m glad you stuck with it though Jessica, as everything else sounds absolutely wonderful. Definitely going to give this a try! Thanks for sharing, and, as always, BRILLIANT review! <3

    • It was pretty great, and more importantly, it has the potential for more greatness—the issue with characters was just that there simply wasn’t enough book for all of them to have the attention they deserved. Next book should remedy that . . . if it doesn’t, that review will go differently . . . 😉

  21. I’m so glad I saw your review because I’ve been wondering about this one. I have only read the Sookie books but have been thinking I need to try the Harper books and maybe this new series. Too many POV’s can be a huge downside for me. I lose interest fast. So I’m on the fence. Maybe when it’s out in paperback. For now I need to just watch for the Harper books and try those.

    • Absolutely! Try those Harper books! I loved them, and like this one, it’s a MUCH shorter series, so it doesn’t have the opportunity to meander the way that Sookie did. I want to reread them myself now!

  22. You definitely got my sold, Jessica! I’m a bit wary of too many POVs as well… like you, I think having too many will be too unfocused, and will lead to less emotional attachment to the characters because the book is juggling too many issues at once. But yes, you’re right, in a mystery where everyone is somehow directly or indirectly involved, it becomes a necessary evil. It seems it was well done enough in that respect? This somehow reminds me of Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling… ever read that one, Jessica? 😛

    Will be checking this book out for sure! You need to remind me which ones I need to read first! 😀

    Faye at The Social Potato Reviews

    • Woot! And yeah, that was definitely the case here. Fortunately, the characters were interesting enough to hold my attention while the story progressed. And I didn’t read Casual Vacancy . . . honestly, I’m afraid to . . . I don’t see how it could possibly live up to Harry Potter, and I’m rather fond of my current perspective on Rowling 😉 Chicken—I know.

      And hey, were doing a read-a-long for The Hollows over at Yummy Men and Kick Ass Chicks. I know you said you were interested in that series, and the final book is coming out in September. Book 1 was yesterday, but you could totally catch up if you wanted to. Let me know 😉

  23. You’ve really intrigued me with all those POVs being a necessary evil. I don’t tend to like it when books do lots of POV switching, but if its REALLY necessary I could probably get past that. You also have me kicking myself that I STILL haven’t read ANY Charlene Harris. I own some of her books. They just keep getting pushed down the list for other books I have to read. *sigh* I’m still putting this on the TBR as a hopefully I’ll get to it someday read. Maybe after you review book 2 I’ll HAVE to read it!

    • Crossing my fingers about you and this series after book 2 comes out—I don’t blame you at all for waiting . . . but . . . NEVER read Harris? At ALL?! Berls, that bypasses OMG straight to ZOMG. She’s amazing. Truly. Since so many people were disappointed with how Sookie turned out, I’m going to cross my fingers again and hope that one of the books you have lying around is a Harper Connelly book, b/c they are also amazing. I’m pretty sure I remember one of your reviews making your perspective on mysteries sound very similar to mine, and I have never found anything to complain about in the mysteries that Harris writes, The Harper series is as wrapped up in mystery as the rest of her books, b/c Harper can sense dead things. She and her brother are kind of P.I.s working both for the police and families of murder victims<——pretty dang cool. I you couldn't already tell, I REALLY hope you check Harris out sometime 😉

  24. Damn, I should’ve grabbed this off NG! I haven’t read any of her book. I tried, but the 1st book in the Sookie series kept getting away from me. Then the TV show started, so I just gave up. But my mouse hovered over the download button for this and I made a dumb choice. I will have to get a hold of it and read it when I get a chance.

    • I hope you do, Christy! If this one was on NetGalley, chances are the next one will be too, so I’d suggest waiting for that to happen. Maybe this one will be out in paperback by then, AND you’ll be able to dive straight back in to the story—if we’re lucky, you’ll never even have to complain about the many POVs b/c book 2 provide that additional info to fully invest us in the series. *wishes* *hopes*

  25. I enjoyed the Sookie series up until around book 8 when it became tiresome but I was super excited when I heard about this book, it sounded so unique so I grabbed an audio copy but I’m thinking the multiple POVs may be a deal-breaker, its usually not for me.

    I’m pleased you enjoyed this overall, I might give it a go.

    A great review Jessica! ☺

    • Thank you, Sharon! Unless it’s an epic fantasy, multiple POVs are a usually a deal-breaker for me too. BUT this was unique and interesting enough to keep my attention. I’m not sure how it’d work in audio—some people seem to love multiple voices, and others . . . not so much. If you’re one of the latter, then I’d maybe try reading it instead. It’s hard enough for me to keep my mind from wandering when listening to audiobooks . . . I can imagine trying to listen AND keep track of half a dozen different people.

  26. Too many POVs? That’s a big big problem for me you know… I’m easily lost and I also forget quickly so it’s not really something for me but well it’s Charlaine Harris so I’m also intrigued. I really liked her Sookie series but didn’t read last book and won’t do it, but I was mixed with Harper Connelly. I have one book in her mystery series so I need to try it too. Thanks for the review Jessica, I was really curious to know more about it and if it wasn’t for the multiple POVs I think I would have taken it.

  27. I think that sometimes when there at so many people it can get confusing and you really don’t know who you try and really connect to. Kinda sad too, because this sounds like it would be really good if that wasn’t an issue. Glad you that you still enjoyed it.

  28. bookwormbrandee  

    Oh I’m so happy Harris’ new series shows such promise, Jessica! I’m glad you stuck with it and liked it despite the multiple POVs. I don’t know if it’d bother me – I’m trying to think if I’ve ever read a book with so many POVs. But I will definitely pick up this one. I’m a sucker for books set in Texas, for one thing. And although I’ve not read everything Harris has written, I do like her style. Excellent review!!

    • Thanks, Brandee! And yes, one way or another, you really should try Harris out at some point—she’s fantastic. And there’s really only one way to find out how you feel about multiple POVs, right? You may even have more patience with this one b/c Texas 😉

    • I know a lot of people aren’t as big a fan of Harris as I am. Probably half a dozen from this post alone have mentioned that they didn’t like the Sookie series at all, or were over it by book 6, etc, and I loved it all the way to book 10. So yeah, maybe take a pass on this one, or wait until your library gets it. I’m sorry you haven’t had a better experience with her.

  29. I have read nothing by her yet but I so want to . I love the atmospheric quality in books and it seems midnight crossroad has that . I’ll give this a try .

    Lovely review, Jessica

    • Thank you! And you are absolutely right about the atmospheric quality in Harris’s books. She nails it once again in Midnight Crossroad. I hope you can fit her in some time b/c IMO she really is fantastic.

  30. Great review Jessica, thank you. I am not a Charlaine Harris fan, and I am really not sure if I want to read this. I’ll wait until you review the second book.

  31. I like the fact this will be a trilogy but I’m going to hold off on reading the first book until you review the second book. I know you are a big fan of CH and if the second book completely rocks your world…I will give her another try! 😉 A stunning review like always! ♥

  32. “Occasionally when reading Paranormal Romance, you’ll stumble across a series that is essentially contemporary romance + a vampire or two. Some author will decide to milk the PNR cash cow, but doesn’t want to do the research, so she’ll write a normal romance, turn the hero into a vampire or werewolf, substitute a peanut allergy with a garlic or silver allergy, and call it a day.”

    Totally agree with this! Thats why I only ever read highly recommended PNR romances now.

    I’ve only read up until Book 3 of Sookie Stackhouse. I enjoyed it but never really continued on for some unknown reason. Actually, I think I got lazy because the series already has a lot of books when I started. That can be quite daunting. This one’s just a trilogy though, that’s much more manageable. And I do enjoy mysteries and PNR! Perfect combination! I might wait for the series to finish but I’ll definitely add this to my wishlist! Great review, Jessica 🙂

    • Thanks, Amir! And yeah, I really, REALLY hate that. There are several PNR series that I keep reading out of habit that do have good world-building and good character development, but overall are just kind of a way to pass the time time, but there are only like 2 that I LOVE. You know one of them 😉 I actually can’t think of a second one, but I’m sure there has to be one, LOL.

      I don’t blame you for waiting. If it’s not one of my preferred authors, or not getting absolutely stellar reviews, I almost always wait for a trilogy to wrap-up before starting it.

  33. Alright, I’ll be reading this soon, Jessica! Glad I’m aware of the problems in this book now, it will let me push through them. I love Harris, I especially adore her Shakespeare’s mysteries and I loved that the couple from there made an appearance in one of her latest Sookie books. Stellar review as usual!

    • I have all of those, but I haven’t read them yet—if they’re your favorites, I’ll definitely have to dig them out (there behind hardbacks on a bookshelf somewhere, I’m sure of it). Thank you! And I hope you like this one too! Lots of characters from her old series show up in this one too 😉 I think I read somewhere that Bobo was in her Shakespeare series . . .

  34. wrkreads  

    I haven’t read any other books from the author, but I do love a good mystery. Too many POVs is annoying, but the overall idea of the book sounds very intriguing.

    • If you love a good mystery, you should definitely try out some of Harris’s other books. She has a couple of cozy mystery series (Aurora Teagarden and Shakespeare’s mysteries), but her UF/mystery Harper Connelly series is fantastic too and all of those series are finished 😉