Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris

Originally, I wasn’t going to write a review on this book because dun dun dun I couldn’t actually finish it. Then I realised that it could be more important to write about the books we don’t finish than the ones we can’t get enough of. What stopped me? At what point did I realise my time was too precious to waste on this book? This morning I read an article written by Kenny Pieper on a taboo subject for any avid reader: On Not Finishing Books. It is a brilliant read for any book lover with a case of unfinished-book-guilt and it inspired me to write a review on this novel despite only making it halfway through.

First of all, I was so excited to read this. I’ve read all of Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series and I loved it. Everything about the Stackhouse world drew me in and kept me going for half a dozen books. My expectations for Harris were high. I even included Midnight Crossroad in my Five Books I’m Reading This Summer blog in May. Now I wish I’d reserved that place for something else.

With Charlaine Harris, I expected darkness, mystery and, most of all, I expected sexiness. The Sookie Stackhouse novels are packed with sex appeal. She created one of the sexiest literary characters of all time: Eric Northman. Coming from an ex-vampire fanatic, it does not get any better than Eric Northman. So when I tucked into Midnight Crossroad I was eagerly anticipating another one of Harris’ beautiful badass male characters and instead I got Manfred Bernardo (yes, that has to be the unsexiest name of all time) He’s a slightly creepy twenty-two year psychic with silver hair and multiple eyebrow piercings. Straight away, I was disappointed. Where was the famous True Blood sex appeal?

So, with a sigh, I told myself it could still be a great murder mystery, just without the seductiveness. 150 pages later: there had been a murder but it was meh and I had not been excited by a single one of Midnight’s multiple residents. Even the town vampire, Lemuel, (yet another incredibly unsexy name) was dull. For some reason, Harris wastes page upon page on monotonous detail. In a town with snake-shifters, vampires, witches and psychics, nothing happens. Even the murder is a non-event. It is discovered at a bloomin’ community picnic. Ultimately, after reading 150 pages, I knew more about what Fiji and her cat had for lunch every day than anything else.

It is rare that I strongly dislike a book. Studying English & Comparative Literature for four years has given me a profound appreciation of the most mundane books and short stories but this takes banality to a new level. If you haven’t already, I strongly recommend you read the Sookie Stackhouse series if you’re looking for a meaty mystery novel with all things dark fantasy thrown in but do yourself a favour and give the Midnight Texas series a complete miss.

If you finished this book, what did you think? Did it get any better past the halfway point?

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