Night Shift, by Charlaine Harris

Night Shift, the third book in Charlaine Harris's highly entertaining Midnight, Texas series, has the same strengths and weaknesses as its predecessors. With each installment, I grow more invested in the personal lives of Harris's characters... and with each installment, I grow more pained by her idea of what serves as romantic chemistry.

In Night Shift, the residents of Midnight, Texas (population: 261) are sincerely dismayed when a series of non-locals commit suicide right in the middle of the town's only crossroads. In addition to the shock and horror the residents feel over the deaths, most of them are concerned about attracting the police's notice. Midnight is home to witches and vampires, angels and assassins—it's the kind of place that really values its privacy.

I whipped through this book in a single sitting. The mystery of the suicides is a compelling hook, and Harris has a gift for creating pleasantly offbeat characters. Unfortunately, said characters continue to exhibit almost no sexual or romantic chemistry—so much so, in fact, that the major sex scene in this novel feels like a grotesque joke. The romantic storyline is only a small portion of Night Shift, but I wish Harris had ditched it altogether. I'm totally invested in the deliciously weird town that she's created (there are ten abandoned houses and a handful of empty businesses featured on the map of Midnight, and I want to hear about every last one of them), but the “romantic” elements of these novels feel like an unintentionally goofy distraction from what Harris does well: small-town life, unusual supernatural beings, and unlikely protagonists.

Review based on publisher-provided copy.
Posted by: Julianka


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