WARNING. THIS BLOG HAS SPOILERS, SO IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE MIDNIGHT MAN BUT INTEND TO, YOU SHOULD AVOID THIS!
I read Mae Clair’s reviews every week on her blog https://maeclair.net/. I’ve found lots of books I love from her recommendations. So I need to thank her for alerting me to The Midnight Man by Caroline Mitchell. https://www.amazon.com/Midnight-Man-gripping-introducing-Detective-ebook/dp/B09BVGYMD3/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1VQUU9SZHK6AB&keywords=the+midnight+man+kindle&qid=1650336968&sprefix=the+midnight+man%2Caps%2C72&sr=8-1
I read more straight mysteries than suspense, but every once in a while, I like to change things up–both in my reading and my writing. That’s why I wrote Posed In Death. The Midnight Man hooked me because of the wonderful characters in the story. Sarah is a detective who took a year’s leave of absence because her husband, another detective, died with plastic over his face while looking at child porn, not to commit suicide but some kind of sexual game. She never realized his obsession and couldn’t face her fellow officers, ashamed of what they must think about her. The author was clever! She introduced us to Sarah, who was arguing with her husband. I didn’t realize that her husband was a ghost whom she talked to until much later in the book. And I thought the trick the author played on me was wonderful! And she had a couple more up her sleeve.
There were SO many characters I fell in love with. I’ll buy the next book just because I liked Sarah so much. She’s caring and wonderful. Life has given her more hard knocks than any person deserves, but she keeps struggling to overcome them. Then there’s her friend and her son, Elliott. Elliott “sees” things no one would ever want to see, and he’s only seven, so he doesn’t always understand the images that play in his mind. They frighten him. Then there’s Elsie, who went to school with Sarah. I really felt for her and her son. Elsie is so overweight she can hardly get out of bed, and her son dedicates himself to caring for her. But Elsie has secrets, and once the reader learns them, they understand why Elsie is the way she is.
Every character is well-drawn. They sucked me into the story. And the Midnight Man with his sick Halloween game is enough to keep the reader turning pages. My only problem with the book was the reveal of the killer at the end. It worked but barely. It almost felt, to me, as though the writer intended one thing when she started the book and waffled at the end. The killer killed the first girl he “invited” to the old manor house. The second girl escaped. And he used the third girl to lure Sarah to her old childhood home. I won’t say more, or I’ll spoil too much, but the ending felt a bit contrived, and I felt a bit deceived, but I’ll still buy the next book. I just plain liked the people I met in the pages too much.