Book Review: Charlaine Harris’ Night Shift

Posted November 21, 2017 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Charlaine Harris’ Night Shift

Night Shift


by

Charlaine Harris


urban fantasy in a Kindle edition that was published by Ace Books on May 3, 2016 and has 320 pages.

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five-stars

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Night's Edge, Death's Excellent Vacation, Must Love Hellhounds, Bite, Home Improvement: Undead Edition, An Apple for the Creature, Games Creatures Play, After Dead: What Came Next in the World of Sookie Stackhouse, Indigo, Sleep Like a Baby

Third and last in the Midnight, Texas, urban fantasy series and revolving around the extremely small population of a town that survives only because of the crossroads; it’s a distant spin-off from Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series.

My Take

I am so BUMMED that this is the last in the series. I absolutely adore the people in this and the conflicts Harris comes up with. This is quite the unique story / series. (And, yes, the Midnight, Texas television series is based on this.)

”That’s like saying someone doesn’t really fit in the Weirdo Club.”

It doesn’t ring very true in that I cannot see how anyone in this practically deserted town is making a living. Yet, it is a fascinating story with intriguing characters — each could probably fill their own series!

Yep, everyone’s got a story, which is what makes this so interesting. Diederik has grown up overnight, almost literally and has a very healthy interest in women. Fiji has self-image issues but is quite secure in her witchiness. And man, does she ever go off on Bobo! Olivia. Oh, boy. That poor girl has a lot of anger to release. Lemuel’s history is still to be told, although Harris has been dropping tidbits here and there. Chuy and Joe revealed themselves in Day Shift, 2. They’re a fascinating switch on the whole angel concept. And we finally find out why the Reeds are in town! Hoo, boy.

As for that Kiki. She is a “treat” to read, mostly because she ain’t gettin’ nowhere with anyone, lol.

What I do need to ask is, is it Fate? Is it kismet that all the necessary “ingredients” are in Midnight when needed? It would make the most sense for such a disparate group to gather. I do enjoy how well they all get along with each other. Sure, everyone has their issues and quirks, but you can’t help but see the pleasure they get in each other’s company. Especially when the how of demon-trapping comes up. Poor Fiji.

Minor themes include Bobo finally realizing (and screwing up) what he’s missing, which he manages to, um, “repair” in quite the spectacular fashion — although it was a too easy solution! In fact, all the solutions at the end, as Harris provides us with an epilogue of core character summaries, are easy — which doesn’t mean I dislike it! In fact, after what all happens to them, they do deserve this wrap-up.

The odd bit is reading this, as Harris includes a present tense style which ached mah brain although Harris made up for it with the global third-person subjective point-of-view — we sure do listen in on a lot of people’s thoughts, feelings, and opinions as we scoot from character to character.

There’s a fascinating tidbit in here about the evolution of how we now celebrate Halloween. And it makes perfect sense.

The Story

It’s the book, the one whose cover is the skin of a werewolf, that has Lemuel so fascinated. But the truth of what pulls those suicides to Midnight and its crossroads comes from an unexpected source with even more unexpected requirements from a large group of people who must work together as a team.

The Characters

Fiji Cavanaugh inherited Great-aunt Mildred Loefler’s house and witchy practice, the Inquiring Mind, which is across the street from Midnight Pawn. She’s in unrequited love with Bobo. Mr. Snuggly is her familiar, a cat who can speak. Waikiki “Kiki” Cavanaugh Ransom is her bitch of a sister who thinks she’s a sexual goddess. She is the most selfish “child”. Marty Ransom is Kiki’s about-to-be-ex second husband. Their mom sees Kiki as too perfect and Fiji as a thief. Their dad is descending into Alzheimer’s.

Manfredo Bernardo was introduced into the cast in Midnight Crossroad, 1, and is a psychic who is actually real. Xylda Bernardo was his psychic grandmother who taught him everything he knows. Magdalena is the lawyer Manfred needs to pay off. Agnes Orta is Magdalena’s mother, and she’s a fan of Manfredo’s. I think Anna is Agnes’ deceased sister. Another fan is Agnes’ neighbor, Linda Ortega. Lucy Trujillo is Linda’s deceased mother while Donnie is her deceased brother. Father Antonio is Agnes’ accommodating priest.

Bobo Winthrop is the owner of Midnight Pawn located on the crossroads of Witch Light Road and the Davy highway. Aubrey was the spy/girlfriend from Midnight Crossroad. Olivia Charity is an assassin with a dark childhood. Lemuel Bridger is an unusual vampire who lives off the energies of people or their blood and is the night manager for the pawn shop.

The Reverend “Rev” and his ward, the always starving Diederik Quinn, who happens to be John Quinn’s son, are complete opposites. Yep, you’ll remember Quinn with the events business in the Sookie Stackhouse Universe. All three of them are weretigers. Tijgerin had been Diederik’s mother. The late Gertrude Flannigan has a cottage in Midnight and Tommy Flannigan is the next-of-kin.

Chuy Villegas and Joe Strong are a gay couple who run the Antique Gallery and Nail Salon; they’re also angels kicked out of Heaven. Rasta is their little Peke. Dr. Tappet is Rasta’s vet.

Sylvester Ravenwing is the new man in town who is now running the Gas N Go and living in the Lovells old house.

Teacher Reed is the town handyman finally released from running the Gas N Go. He’s married to Madonna who runs the Home Cookin Café and is a great cook. Grady is their toddler.

The Midnight Hotel is…
…an excuse to spy while claiming to be a hotel for the elderly who are waiting to get into assisted living. It also provides long-term housing for independent contractors temporarily working at Magic Portal. Lenore Whitefield and her husband, Harvey, run the hotel. The six-to-midnight clerk is a junior college freshman, Marina Desoto. Eva Culhane, the site project manager, did the interviews for the hotel employees. Some of the guests include Denise Little who loves to read, the nasty Shorty Horowitz, and the writer staying in the second-floor front room.

Tommy Quick, Mamie, and Suzie had been guests under extremely unusual circumstances, but are now in Safe Harbor Assisted Living and Nursing Home. Manfred visits them often. Estella “Stell” Hardin is a nurse there on whom Manfred is sweet. Chet Allen is another guest at the home.

Sheriff Arthur Smith is smart, flexible, and decent — and practically engaged to Magdalena. Deputy Anna Gomez despises everyone in Midnight.

The suicides include Joshua Allen; the homeless Tabby Ann Masterson; Francine Owens, who is a customer of Fiji’s; and, Price Eggleston, a right-wing fanatic who had kidnapped Fiji and tortured Bobo (Mamie Eggleston is his nutjob mother).

Bonnie Vasquez, the wife of a local rancher, and the pretentious Willeen Elliott are customers of Fiji’s. Theo Barclay is an angry werewolf. Lucas Evans runs a hardware store in Killeen. Velda and Ramon are shapeshifters about to get married. Dr. Sheridan treats Fiji in Davy. Margaret and Louis Hatter are used to their daughter’s stupid behavior. Israel T had been an target of Great-aunt Mildred’s ire.

Ellery Queen is Wicklow’s right-hand man and has been trying to take over from him for years. Nicholas Wicklow has set spies around his daughter, Melanie Horton Wicklow. Tiffany was Nicholas’ second wife. Melanie’s mother was Cara.

Squirrel Hands, a Chickasaw wise woman, made a deal with Colconnar, a demon with an itch for power.

The Dallas vampires
Christine understands Etruscan and was turned by Dr. Quigley, who was himself made by Arria Auclina, an Etruscan vampire. Joseph Velasquez is the current Master of Dallas; Stan had been his predecessor.

The Cover and Title

The cover is so gloomy in its solitary purples and greens, cheered only by a yellow-orange sunset. A lone building of stone, each window creepily diffe rent, pawn in each of the big picture windows. A beat-up vintage pickup on the left, a coyote in profile but looking out at us in the forefront on the right. A receding string of lonely utility poles is implied with a camper just behind the foremost one, a tall cactus on the other side. The ground appears to be all dirt and gravel with a greenish cast while the landscape around and behind the pawn shop is miles of scrub. The author’s name is in an embossed mint green sans-serif font at the top with the series information tiny in white below it. The title is at the bottom in a white serif.

The title refers to the critical watchers’ time of night, the Night Shift, when things go very badly awry.

five-stars

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