Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The positives: An interesting cast of characters, including exactly one vampire (with brief appearance by a few other supernatural creatures), a psychic, a witch, and a talking cat.
This new series seems to be set in the same world as Harris's other books, with references to Lily Bard and Harper Connelly (I haven't read those series, only the Southern Vampire Mysteries). Interesting female characters, including Fiji, the witch, who is a curvy/average-sized woman (I like that every single heroine doesn't have to be skinny), and Olivia, who seems to be some kind of trained warrior/assassin.
This small, exceedingly quirky Texas town is not without its charms, and there are enough plot twists and turns to keep the reader interested. I engaged with these characters, and I'll look forward to the next book in the series.
The not-so-positives: There is exactly one Black woman in Midnight, Texas, and she is in a perpetually bad mood. To be fair, if I were the only Black woman in town, I would probably be a bit bummed out myself. However, Harris not writing the story's one woman of color, Madonna, as a likable person is part of a larger pattern in Harris's writing. Maybe in future books she can expand on Madonna's character and give us some other sides of her personality.
Another thing is that the victim in this murder mystery is not well-liked around Midnight, specifically for the reason that she was famous for flirting with every man in town. Shaming women for their sexuality is another negative pattern in Harris's novels, once again rearing its ugly head. There's even a whiff of blaming the victim for her own murder.
Charlaine Harris isn't unproblematic, and I'm not defending the flaws in her characterization. Still, I miss Sookie Stackhouse, and I'm willing to accept Fiji Cavanaugh, Olivia Charity (I keep imagining her being portrayed by Olivia Wilde), Bobo Winthrop et al. as a substitute.
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This is a book I checked out from my local public library. I was not obligated to review it in any way.