Night Shift (A Novel of Midnight, Texas)
by Charlaine Harris
Review by Gayle Surrette
Ace Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425263228
Date: 03 May 2016 List Price $28.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Midnight, Texas, has a suicide problem. Don't worry, the residents of Midnight aren't killing themselves or even attempting to do such a thing. Strangers are driving to Midnight and then killing themselves at the crossroads. This is bringing unwanted attention to the town and the residents are doing their best to find out what is going on, why it is happening and, more importantly, how to stop it.
In Day Shift, Lemuel finally found the books he'd been looking for and now he's trying to translate the one that seems to relate to the history of Midnight. He's not sure but he believes that it is critical to translate this book in order to protect the town and stop the suicides. Meanwhile, everyone is on suicide watch trying to keep people from killing themselves. It appears to Lemuel that Fiji may be the key to stopping the killings, but the problem is that, until he finishes the book, he won't know why or how. Thus the tension keeps ramping up throughout the book.
That's the main plot of the story but, as usual, there are some very interesting sub-arcs to the novel. In Night Shift, we get to know a lot more about Fiji Cavanaugh. There's some background on her family and her Aunt Mildred, who left her the cottage. While this fills in a lot of information, it still leaves plenty of room to learn more as the last book gave us information on Olivia, but we still don't know the entire backstory there either.
While I may enjoy visiting Midnight, I don't think I'm brave enough to live there. Once again, from first page to last, the reader is immersed in the lives and events of the town. The writing is so vivid that it seems that you're watching it happen rather than reading words on a page right up until you find yourself at the back cover. To me that's a good book. Even though the story deals only with the events and character's actions, you find yourself questioning the status quo of society's expected norms of behavior and moral certainties. Definitely anticipating the next visit to Midnight.