I’m surprised to say that I’m really going to miss these people. The author has always said that the Midnight Texas series was a trilogy, and this was the third book. Also, I remember reading somewhere recently where she confirmed that Night Shift was the last book, but can’t find the site.
I picked up the first book in this series, Midnight Crossroad (reviewed here at The Book Pushers) simply out of curiosity. I loved the early Sookie books, but the later ones got cray-cray. I also enjoyed her Harper Connelly series quite a bit. So I wondered where this fit on the spectrum.
The first book was so-so leading towards decent. It was certainly entertaining. The second book, Day Shift (also reviewed here at The Book Pushers), improved on the first. And this one, as it should be, was better than the second. It also wraps up most of the original threads of the story, while leaving just enough of an opening for more strange things to happen in Midnight.
And unlike Sookie, all of the endings in this story make sense, whether they are romantic endings or otherwise.
The central mystery in this third book in the series is all about the dark magic books uncovered at the end of the first book. Because those books are a kind of “tour guide” to magical places in the U.S. Midnight is certainly a magical place, and Lemuel Bridger expects to find information on exactly what makes their crossroad of Davy Highway and Witch Light Road so very weird. Because whatever it is seems to be waking up, and it is mesmerizing people (and animals) into committing suicide at the crossroads.
It doesn’t take long to discover that it’s a demon, and it’s after Fiji, the local witch. While Lemuel is busy researching what it wants and most importantly, how to stop it, his long-time girlfriend and new bride Olivia Charity is forced to contend with some all too real ghosts from her own past.
Olivia is a righteously paranoid contract killer, and someone really is out to get her. The question is whether it’s her criminally neglectful but sinfully rich dad, or his completely evil right hand man. And how many people will get killed before that dust settles.
Fiji finally figures out that Bobo is never going to return her affections, just at the point (of course) where Bobo figures out just how big an idiot he’s been.
And Manfred Bernardo learns at least some of the secrets of his heritage, and why they led him to Midnight.
Night Shift does wrap up all the loose ends that have been dangling since Midnight Crossroad, and they all make sense as anything ever does in Midnight. Midnight just isn’t quite like anywhere else, and considering what’s buried at the crossroads, that’s a good thing.
But what makes this book, and this series, so interesting are the characters. Manfred is a real psychic. Fiji is a powerful witch. Joe and Chuy are fallen angels. Lemuel is a vampire. The Rev is a weretiger. Bobo is the only part of the main cast who is completely human, except for Olivia. And it is pretty clear that when the time is right, Lemuel will turn Olivia into a vampire like himself. Even Mr. Snuggles the cat can talk. Very snarkily at that. (I love Mr. Snuggles, but he makes me eternally grateful that my cats do not speak English!)
The characters who are anomalous, Teacher Reed and his wife Madonna, finally find a place in the story, and it isn’t one that the reader expects. But it does make sense. We also finally find out what Olivia has been running from all these years, because it’s always been clear that she has been running from something, and that that something has been chasing her.
As much as it has often seemed that Olivia might be the focus character in this series, in the end it was Fiji all along. The story of Midnight Texas turns out to be Fiji’s story, and she gets the ending that she has earned.
I give Night Shift a happily concluding B+. I always love it when a series gets better as it goes.