Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Just For Me

midnightcrossroadReading Charlaine Harris's Midnight Crossroad was a delightful experience for me, but I'm not sure if everyone else could appreciate it. It shows off her usual strengths -- realistically drawn characters that clearly inhabit their settings, a pleasantly diverse group that provide interesting viewpoints on each other, and dialogue that works to advance the plot, illustrate character, and amuse the reader.

The mystery itself doesn't seem that important -- this is a book about exploring the small town Harris imagines on the crossroads of Texas state highways, with a group of people unexpectedly ready to band together both because of their similarities and against the bad guys. But there's not much action -- someone asked me what it was about when I was a good chunk in and I really had no answer yet.

But I didn't care, because the other thing this book had going for it was a huge reunion of characters from all across Harris's work.  We move into the town with Manfred Bernardo, the psychic who worked with Harper Connolly several times in her series. His landlord is Bobo Winthrop, young friend of Lily Bard in her mystery series. The cop who comes to deal with the mystery is Aurora Teagarden's old flame Arthur. It makes me want to tear through all her work to see if I'm missing any other links or characters. And it means I know lots of secret stuff about everyone -- I know what went wrong with Arthur's marriages. I know about Bobo's family, even his teen-age fantasies. I've seen Manfred with this grandmother.

I wish Harris had tipped this a bit more, because sometimes I wondered if I was supposed to know all this. Was she reusing names, or really reusing characters? Who did I miss from Sookie Stackhouse -- I'm sure there was someone. And all these worlds aren't really in the same place, are they? So it was a bit disconcerting. Overall, I really like the intersections, but I wonder how the book would read to someone new to this author, or even just someone who hadn't tracked down all her work over the past decade or so.

1 comment:

byrd said...

Hmm, I've read her Sookie series but nothing else, and really enjoyed Midnight Crossroad... I agree there wasn't much going on, but it somehow contributed to the small town feeling for me. Great review!