Night Shift by Charlaine Harris

I review Night Shift by Charlaine Harris.

Thank you to Gollancz for providing a review copy!

Welcome back to Midnight, Texas, a small town in the middle of nowhere. Night Shift is the third and final installment (sob!) in this fantastic series, by the ever-talented Charlaine Harris.

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Sookie Stackhouse novels—“the Mark Twain of things that live under your bed”*—comes a new novel of Midnight, Texas, the town where some secrets will never see the light of day…

At Midnight’s local pawnshop, weapons are flying off the shelves—only to be used in sudden and dramatic suicides right at the main crossroads in town.

Who better to figure out why blood is being spilled than the vampire Lemuel, who, while translating mysterious texts, discovers what makes Midnight the town it is. There’s a reason why witches and werewolves, killers and psychics, have been drawn to this place.

And now they must come together to stop the bloodshed in the heart of Midnight. For if all hell breaks loose—which just might happen—it will put the secretive town on the map, where no one wants it to be…

Author of the books that inspired True Blood, Harris is one of my favourite authors, capable of turning her hand to any genre, and anything she writes is always a real pleasure.

The thing I love about this series is that Harris pulls a bunch of characters from her other series – Quinn the weretiger from the Sookie Stackhouse novels, Manfred from the Harper Connelly series, Bobo Winthrop from the Lily Bard series, Arthur Smith from the Aurora Teagarden books – and really develops them. I vaguely remembered some of the characters, but I always wanted to know more about Quinn and Manfred in particular. Harris cleverly brings these lesser-known characters together, and gives them voices of their own.

(If you haven’t read Harris’ other work, go, read, now. They’re brilliant, all of them.)

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Night Shift focuses on Fiji, the bubbly, caring witch, and the development of her powers, as well as her self-esteem. She’s a strong, powerful witch and woman, but it seems she’s the only one who doesn’t realise it. She bases a lot of her self-confidence on how men (Bobo in particular) and society view her, but in this book, it seems as if she truly finds herself and her worth. Although the process is somewhat dubious, and something I won’t spoil here, Fiji’s realisations are something to be celebrated.

It’s definitely all about the women in this book. We learn more about Olivia and her dark past, and her surprisingly equal relationship with Lemuel, the vampire. And it’s also about friendship, solidarity, grouping together against an enemy, despite your differences. Harris always makes reference to current issues – race, sexuality, body image – and gives them a very real feeling. By this I mean, instead of preaching to us from her book, she gives us real, human views, allowing you to observe a certain situation through a characters’ eyes. She may even make you think twice about something, a belief you thought firmly held.

Despite all the magic and supernatural goings-on, Harris still manages to remind you that these characters are people too, and have very human, natural thoughts and responses. Harris’ writing is an example of true magic.

Night Shift is available to buy now, and NBC is developing a TV series based on the books.

Read my reviews of Midnight Crossroad and Day Shift, which also includes a Q&A with Charlaine herself, and her ‘Ask The Author’ interview from a couple of years ago.

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