Book Reviews: Day Shift by Charlaine Harris and Lowcountry Boneyard by Susan M. Boyer

Day ShiftDay Shift
A Novel of Midnight, Texas #2
Charlaine Harris
Ace Books, May 2015
ISBN 978-0-425-26319-8
Hardcover

From the publisher—

There is no such thing as bad publicity, except in Midnight, Texas, where the residents like to keep to themselves. Even in a town full of secretive people, Olivia Charity is an enigma. She lives with the vampire Lemuel, but no one knows what she does; they only know that she’s beautiful and dangerous.

Psychic Manfred Bernardo finds out just how dangerous when he goes on a working weekend to Dallas and sees Olivia there with a couple who are both found dead the next day. To make matters worse, one of Manfred’s regular—and very wealthy—clients dies during a reading.

Manfred returns from Dallas embroiled in scandal and hounded by the press. He turns to Olivia for help; somehow he knows that the mysterious Olivia can get things back to normal. As normal as things get in Midnight…

It’s practically impossible for Charlaine Harris to disappoint me so I can really only say one thing negative about Day Shift—it’s not my favorite of all her work. You could look at it another way, that this falls behind such series as Sookie Stackhouse, Harper Connelly, Aurora Teagarden and Lily Bard, not to mention various non-series books. However, placing it behind all those other Harris books that I love so much doesn’t exactly say it’s no good, now does it? Let’s face it, the woman can’t be perfect ALL the time, just close to it 😉

Midnight, Texas, is a most unusual place as are its inhabitants. In fact, psychic Manfred Bernardo is probably a tad more normal than some but he certainly never expects to find Olivia in a deadly situation or, worse yet, himself. It’s Olivia the town turns to in hopes of solving the case and returning Midnight to its usual obscurity when the ravenous press follows Manfred home. In the meantime, there is a lot of mystery surrounding the renovation of an old hotel into a home for some senior citizens and lodging for temporary workers. Why anybody would want to open such a place in this dusty little town is a matter for much conjecture and some alarm.

As can be anticipated in any Charlaine Harris book, there’s a good deal of humor in Day Shift along with the relatively slight mysteries and the various characters are all a tad strange and very interesting. All that aside, I didn’t quite connect with the players or the story but it’s my own fault for not reading the first book before this one. Normally, reading out of order doesn’t bother me in the least but it was a mistake this time so I caution readers new to the series—read Midnight Crossroad first. I intend to rectify my error forthwith 😉

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, June 2015.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Lowcountry BoneyardLowcountry Boneyard
A Liz Talbot Mystery #3
Susan M. Boyer
Henery Press, April 2015
ISBN 978-1-941962-47-3
Trade Paperback
Also available in hardcover

From the publisher—

Where is Kent Heyward? The twenty-three-year-old heiress from one of Charleston’s oldest families vanished a month ago. When her father hires private investigator Liz Talbot, Liz suspects the most difficult part of her job will be convincing the patriarch his daughter tired of his overbearing nature and left town. That’s what the Charleston Police Department believes.

But behind the garden walls South of Broad, family secrets pop up like weeds in the azaleas. The neighbors recollect violent arguments between Kent and her parents. Eccentric twin uncles and a gaggle of cousins covet the family fortune. And the lingering spirit of a Civil-War-era debutante may know something if Colleen, Liz’s dead best friend, can get her to talk.

Liz juggles her case, the partner she’s in love with, and the family she adores. But the closer she gets to what has become of Kent, the closer Liz dances to her own grave.

I’m drawn to crime fiction set in the South, partly because I’m a Southerner myself but also because there’s a certain “feel” that makes such books just a little more interesting to me. Can’t identify or explain it; it’s just there. Whatever my nebulous reasons might be, Lowcountry Boneyard and Susan M. Boyer did not let me down.

Liz Talbot is a woman who knows who she is besides being really good at what she does so she gives the impression from the beginning that she will, indeed, get to the bottom of the task in hand. In this case, the disappearance of a wealthy society girl will lead Liz and her significant other and partner, Nate Andrews, in a number of different directions and there is no shortage of dark secrets in Kent Heyward’s family. Twists and turns abound before Liz will ultimately find herself in grave jeopardy.

I truly enjoyed this third book in Ms. Boyer‘s series (having read the first, Lowcountry Boil, a few years ago) and Liz is a woman I’d like to have as a real-life friend but Colleen, Liz’s long-deceased best friend, appealed to me the most. She’s a ghost who proves herself to be helpful when needed but also adds a humorous touch, especially when she shows up in unexpected places. Still, Colleen should be considered the invaluable third investigator on the team.

This is one of those series that can be read out of order if need be although, naturally, it’s probably best not to. I didn’t feel there were gaping holes because I hadn’t read the second book but I do intend to go get it; that will tide me over till Lowcountry Bordello comes out in November.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, June 2015.

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3 thoughts on “Book Reviews: Day Shift by Charlaine Harris and Lowcountry Boneyard by Susan M. Boyer

  1. I have Low Country Boil and I loved it. Why I don’t have the second in this series, I don’t know. An oversight I plan on correcting. And this one sounds great, I love Charleston and would enjoy taking a peek behind some of those lovely high garden walls.

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  2. I heard Susan Boyer speak on a panel of southern writers at Malice. The panel was so much fun and had us laughing so hard that I had to get a copy of “Lowcountry Boil.” It is at the top of my to-be read stack, and I look forward to reading it–in order.

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