If Lupe Dávila and Javier Utierre can survive each other’s company, together they can solve a series of grisly murders sweeping though Puerto Rico. But the clues lead them out of the real world and into the realm of myths and legends. And if they want to catch the killer, they’ll have to step into the shadows to see what’s lurking there—murderer, or monster?
I’ve never been to Puerto Rico, but the author provides such vivid, immersive descriptions, I feel like I have. And the food! I drooled over several pages.
The author gives a balanced picture of Puerto Rico. While showing the horrors of drugs and addiction, and impoverished neighborhoods, she also demonstrates the deep love of culture and community, and supportive, loyal families and friends willing to do anything to protect their loved ones. And can I mention the food again?
One of my favorite things about this book is the relationships. With little parental support at home, Lupe’s relationship with her aunt and uncle is a positive influence, and portrayed so well. Javier hasn’t made good choices in his past, and battles his addiction every day with the help of Father Sebastian. Javier’s relationship with childhood friend Carlos is more of brother than friend, even though Carlos’s music career has made him an international sensation.
Mention urban legends in a book description, and I’ll show up, and El Cuco is the stuff of children’s nightmares. The opening scene is a perfect way to set up the supernatural suspense. When Javier makes the connection and realizes he’s living on borrowed time, I couldn’t read fast enough.
As a main character, Lupe is feisty, loyal, and determined – all good things. But her default mode is set to combative, and I felt it got in the way of the story. The final showdown is tense and exciting, but because it’s seen through several POVs, it stretches on for pages, when it actually lasts the length of a song.
Five Midnights is a briskly paced, dark, YA supernatural mystery that I enjoyed from the first page, and would recommend to fans of urban legends who enjoy a touch of the paranormal.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.