Atmospheric, deceptively simple, small town at its best, colorful characters, secrets and mysteries abound and this is just the beginning to this new series set in the spooky town of Midnight, Texas. I eagerly picked this one up and devoured it, amazingly. I think it might be a case of right book; right time, but it’s also the fact that I settled in quickly and fell in love with the community of quirky people living in Midnight. I can’t even explain it entirely because it wasn’t cover to cover action, breathtaking scenes, tantalizing passion or witty dialogue that did it. I think it was the author’s ability to unleash the reader’s curiosity and establish a connection that never leaves. I wanted to know all the details, thoughts and activities for all the people of Midnight. Now, this does not mean that there weren’t exciting moments. There were the white supremacists after a fabled cash of weapons they thought the pawn shop owner was hiding, a murder investigation and a kidnapping to liven things up nicely. And if that wasn’t enough to keep my interest, every single person in this town has secrets and I’m nosey enough to want them all.
The book and the series are set in the same world as the author’s other series. It was fun to recognize connections to the Harper Connelly and Lily Bard series through a couple of the current book’s characters. The connection is loose so it’s not necessary for the read to have read the other series.
The story opens with Manfred Bernardo moving to the dusty one-signal light West Texas town of Midnight. It is through his observations of his new neighbors and the town life that things begin. His first day leads to an encounter with most of the town’s residents who do not exhibit curiosity about him and ask no personal questions. He knows he has come to the right place. They might all be the strangest set of neighbors that include at least a witch and a vampire if not other mystical types, but they are friendly and neighborly even if they don’t invite probing into their private lives. The welcoming atmosphere is soon shoved aside when a body is found during the town picnic expedition and rough strangers come to town looking for a hoard of weapons. The town doesn’t invite scrutiny and takes care of it’s own. Manfred is accepted and catches on quickly to the rhythm of life there and finds that he doesn’t do it reluctantly. In the end, it will take all the inhabitants of Midnight to thwart the trouble that won’t leave them alone.
I pretty much covered my impressions of the book earlier, but I wanted to add a few more bits and bobs. The story is told by multiple narrators in third person perspective. Manfred, Bobo, and Fiji seem to standout as the lead characters, but the other townsfolk are very present throughout the story. I will also make mention that the predominant genre element is mystery, but paranormal, romance and general fiction would fit the bill to a lesser extent too. The mystery was a good one that left me with my mouth open to see who did the murder. There were also a few surprises dropped in to keep things interesting. The paranormal was not strongly present, but it did flavor a few scenes just enough for some fun. I don’t know why, but the kidnapping adventure was humorous to me. There are a few romances trying to blossom in town, but this was a minor element and barely there at this point in the series. I just can’t get over how much enjoyment I derived from spending time with this fascinating group that are home folk in their quirky and weird ways. It’s like the Addams Family and all of their closest friends.
Oh, and I just have to mention the cool thing I noticed about the covers of this series that really struck me after I finished this book and picked up the next installment. Each cover is textured and set up so it’s like one is looking out of a dirty window on various aspects of the town. There are actual clues to the mystery placed in what the viewer sees through the dirty pane of glass. Totally fab!
All in all, it was a splendid start to a series and I look forward to my next visit with the denizens of Midnight. This was the set up book and it did its job while also providing a good plot. The blend of mystery and paranormal with hints of romance were a heady combination. The book and series crosses so many genres that I’m not entirely sure who to specifically recommend this to, but I guess if you like a bit of everything in your book then this is for you.
My thanks to Penguin Random House for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.