M. K. Theodoratus, Fantasy Writer, blogs about the books she reads--mostly fantasy and mystery authors whose books catch her eye and keep her interest. Nothing so formal as a book review, just chats about what she liked. Theodoratus also mutters about her own writing progress or ... lack of it.


Monday, April 6, 2015

Must a New Series Mirror the Old Ones? Charlaine Harris' Midnight Crossroad

Midnight Crossroad (Midnight, Texas Series #1)New Series.

New Style.

Iffy  Mysteries

   Finally found a paperback of Charlaine Harris' new series--Midnight Crossroad--and was first annoyed with the arm's length point of view of the tale. Harris chose to reveal the action from mulitiple viewpoints of the rather strange inhabitants of Midnight. At first I didn't care much for the distance, then it grew on me.

   From the beginning, Midnight, sounded intriguing. It screamed small town with deep currents to me. Then, the name Bobo Winthrop popped up on page three. Harris recycled a character. Or, if you want to be more generous, you might say she put Bobo front and center in the plot line, giving him a main role in a new story, if not his own story. If you've only read the Sookie Stackhouse series, you might not recognize Bobo. He was a secondary character in Harris' Lucy Bard series. Poor Bobo, he's still unlucky in love...and family. But Harris creates two interrelated mysteries out of his problems.

   Everyone one of the dozen or so inhabitants of Midnight have secrets, some more hidden than others. Midnight Crossroad concentrates on a newcomer to town, Manfred Bernardo, a psychic, who may or may not be real deal and runs an online psychic business. The poor fellow soon finds himself awash in people acting strangely.

   Harris use of multiple viewpoints gives the reader an intriguing impression of the three most normal people in town. Hints of danger come when two strangers come to an infrequently patronized restaurant. Danger builds when they threaten Bobo for information about a cache of weapons belonging to his super-racist grandfather. But the plot really takes off when the decayed body of Bobo's missing lover is found on the first and only annual town picnic. The mystery plays out until the end.

   The plodding pace of the book is my biggest criticism of the book. First, Harris spends a long time to introduce us to her interesting cast of characters without revealing very much. But, being a master, she still manages to create people rather than stick characters. The weakest link, unfortunately, was her villain. Harris needed to develop his motivations, like she should have explained why he needed an aging arsenal while he seemed to have loads of money. Thought Harris should have made it more front and center why he was chasing a Patriot rumor. After all in this country, rich guys can buy armaments of many kinds of lethal until doomsday.

   My biggest disappointment was the ending, but can't say much about it because of dumping a huge spoiler on you. Just let me say I thought reactions of the characters were too passive.

Recommended with reservations, basically because I felt Harris left too many questions unanswered. Still, Midnight Crossroad is an intriguing read, if not exciting.  

Interesting Stuff I Wasted Time On

   Ever wondered how to get more out of your writing time? I've given up being fast, but Anne Allen wrote a wonderful comprehensive blog with useful links on how to get the most out of your writing time: The 10 Commandments of Highly Productive Professional Writers. It might give you some insights on how those best-selling, big name authors manged to complete two novels a year. Yeah, I spent a lot of time chasing through her links.

   Care to be entertained? Doing a search on something or other, I happened upon the Fantasy Name Generator, a site that's much more than its name implies. Someone named Emily curates, babysits, and manages the effort. The site can be many things to many people. Click the link to see what intrigues you.  I spent a whole afternoon there and enjoyed my discoveries much more than doing marketing. One of the reasons I'm linking here is so I can easily return again. [I lost my bookmark button.]

Writing Chores

   Still can't use a website builder worth a limp noodle. Oh, the mistakes I make! Have made three calls to the help center to solve, but the page is still shrunk to the size where I can't read the print. The new snippet of On the Run is delayed in the process. This is the revised version featuring Pillar Beccon...whose strange ancestry makes fitting into any of the Andor factions easy. Given all the linear story bits and pieces, I think this is going to be a longer effort than I've self-published in the past. Whatever, my critiquers are liking the change. Maybe someday readers might be able to see what I'm writing now.

One funny note. The Ghost in the Closet still is my "best seller", though can't say I sell much. Most people download one or more of my free stories in spite of my not doing any promotion of them.

And, an alert.
Next week I may not be posting a blog. My daughter's coming in from out of town to visit.
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