Gollancz, out now
A new hotel, a young boy’s arrival and a death during a psychic reading cause problems for the folk of Midnight, Texas…
Charlaine Harris’ second book in the Midnight saga has a deliberately mannered pace to it, but that doesn’t make it any the less gripping. We continue to get insights into the various characters who populate the small town (although not, as yet, any overt reason given as to why such diverse members of the supernatural realm have been drawn to the place), often almost as little asides to the main action – and you may well find yourself turning over a page, then going back to check that you really did read what you thought you did.
The main plot follows Manfred once more, as he comes under suspicion when an elderly lady dies while he’s in the middle of putting her in contact with her late husband. It doesn’t help that Olivia has been in the same place on business (and her business is not one that wants witnesses or too much scrutiny), or that the late woman’s son is a few sandwiches short of a picnic! Manfred needs all his friends’ help to clear his name, and in turn comes to their aid when required.
Add to this the residents of a hotel who aren’t what they seem, and a young boy with some growth issues who’s been left in the care of the Rev (hardly the best candidate, one would have thought) and you’ve got a melange of different plotlines that all come together neatly at the end.
Harris continues to sprinkle characters from her previous series into this new one with one player from the Sookie stories having a prominent role (and, True Blood fans, it’s the incarnation of this character from the books, not the TV series…), but even if you’re not familiar with all her works, she ensures you know enough (or be able to infer enough) to not feel left out.
Verdict: Another captivating journey to the mysterious crossing. 8/10