The Review: Midnight Crosssroad

18107951Midnight Crossroad; Charlaine Harris,2014;The Berkley Pub. Group

When Ms. Harris decided to bring an end to the Sookie Stackhouse saga, she had my full support. Not every heroine’s story has the chutzpah to keep going and going and going and . . . You got the idea. Yet there are others that should have, or at least could have, if Ms. Harris had continued writing them. For instance, her Aurora Teagarden or Lily Bard-Shakspeare series, both, in my not so humble opinion, had the makings of a longer-than-they-were story. (Teagarden [8 novels] ended with Aurora getting pregnant and Bard [4 novels] ended with Jack getting the crap kicked out of him.) But be that as it may, some stories need to end, others-not-so-much.

So that leaves us with – stories that shouldn’t start.

As my readers know, occasionally I have to pull out my ‘Loyalty Reader’ card, (LR) in order to finish a novel by one of my fav authors. That would be the case with Ms. Harris latest, Midnight Crossroad (a first in the Midnight, Texas series). Normally I give a new author a couple of paragraphs to hook me, a seasoned favorite as many as ten or twenty. But after the two hundredth page of Ms. Harris newest novel, the only thing that kept me turning the page was my LRC and the fact that I promised to reward myself with another authors newest novel when I finished.

So why was this such a difficult book to read? Well, I’ve narrowed it down to three things; story, character and voice.

Story. ( which is about the residence of a-blink-in-the-road-town in Texas and the murder of one of its less-than-loved citizens – using by the by, one of the characters from Harris’ Lily Bard series). It never launched. Not at the opening. Not when they found the dead body. Not when the town rallied together to find the killer. It just never got off the ground. Like a firecracker that fails to sputter, Midnight Crossroad failed to raise even a spark of interest.

Character. As I’ve said before, good character development can save even a badly written book (even a bad story), but in this case, the characters were as lackluster as the story. Even with a hint of the abnormal about them, the citizens of Midnight, Texas were not roadside attraction material.

Voice. Not Ms. Harris’, but the characters. Except for Fiji and Mr. Snuggles, the character’s in this novel-story lacked individuality, pizzazz,  grit, texture. There was nothing that made them unique, separate or individual. If you took them out of the environment each inhabited and didn’t mention their names, there was nothing that distinguished one from the other. Which is in and of itself, all part of character development. Granted, not every character has to be unique, but there ought to be at least two or three that are. Especially when the story gives them equal attention.

If Midnight Crossroad had been just a bad novel in the middle of a great series, I’d have given it the can’t-win-them-all shrug. But this is a first in a series. Which makes me skeptical about the future Midnight, Texas novels.

On my readers scale of 1-5 stars, I’m giving Midnight Crossroads . . .



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