Published by Gollancz on May 7, 2015
Welcome to Midnight.
It's a quiet little town, perched at the junction between Davy Road and Witch Light Road, and it's easy to miss. With its boarded-up windows, single traffic light and sleepy air, there's nothing special about Midnight... which is exactly ho the residents like it.
So when the townspeople hear that a new owner plans to renovate the run-down, abandoned old hotel, it's not met with pleasure. Who would want to come to Midnight, with its handful of shops, the Home Cookin diner, and quiet residents, and why?
But there are bigger problems in the air. When Manfred Bernardo, the newest resident in town, is swept up in a deadly investigation suddenly the hotel and its guests are the least of the town's concern. The police, lawyers and journalists are all headed to Midnight, and it's the worst possible moment...
There’s something about Charlaine Harris’ writing that is so wonderfully warm and captivating that you can’t help but take a short recess from your troubles and get lost in her eccentric characters’ lives and DAY SHIFT is the very definition of that. With its easy pace and compelling storyline, I found it immensely difficult to put it down.
While MIDNIGHT CROSSROAD was very much a “set-up” book and suffered from a stilted pace at times as it introduced us to the various characters, Harris clearly hits her stride with DAY SHIFT and crafts a novel that encompasses all her strengths – stellar writing, fully realised characters and witty prose that draws you in – in one neat package.
While there is technically no one main character, we are once again introduced to the young and charismatic psychic Manfred Bernardo who has organised a weekend of client readings at a Dallas hotel. While there he runs into the enigmatic Olivia who with a swift shift of her eyes, alerts Manfred to forget they know each other as she carries out her mysterious task. When three people end up dead at the hotel that have a connection to both Manfred and Olivia, Harris sets up a mystery that will keep the reader on tenterhooks, guessing until the very last pages.
It was a real pleasure getting to know more about Midnight, Texas and its rag-tag group. While it’s clear that Harris is only scratching the surface in allowing her readers to know some information about the residents of this one-stop town, she releases enough to keep you on the edge of your seat. In particular, I was thrilled to unearth some details about Olivia and the Rev’s mystifying pasts and Harris delivers her nuggets of information as punches to the gut in such a nonchalant way, you can’t help but pause, open mouthed for several minutes before you remember to turn the page and continue.
One of the main delights of this series is for the long-term readers of Harris who have enjoyed her previous series. Harris draws on her extensive back catalogue to create Midnight’s universe, placing it smack bang in the middle of all her previous series’ worlds. Expect to hear familiar names and incidents and have the odd friendly face show up to join the fray. This shouldn’t prove intimidating for the new reader however, as the book can be enjoyed just as easily with no previous knowledge but for fans of Harris, the several “Easter eggs” will elicit a shriek of glee.
Sharp and clever, staging the perfect mix of supernatural drama with small-town routine played out by an irreverent cast- DAY SHIFT is a pleasurable read that will leave you wanting more.