What's a Peach Fest without peaches? It's a ten K run dubbed "Midnight Peaches, a cool race through a hot town."
Melissa, daughter of a B&B's late founder, takes center stage in "Midnight Peaches." She and her two young sons return to small town Sydonia, a pinpoint by the Metroplex. They're fleeing not only a monstrous hail storm but the unsettling discovery that her husband, Greg, is a cross-dresser. She seeks refuge with her mother's friends, but serenity does not hold sway in Sydonia. The Ladies Farm is undergoing renovation in the form of a fitness shed which, much to Della's delight proves ideal for indulging Tony, her ex-husband, in his "penchant for sex in risky places." And, softball-size hail has destroyed all peach crops on the brink of the annual Peach Fest. There is little joy in Sydonia.
Melissa's experience as an event planner comes to the fore and she suggests a midnight run complete with luminarias and peach shaped trophies. Her enthusiasm for this project is spurred by the appearance of Ethan, her high school crush.
For a while it appears that Melissa and Ethan may rekindle past feelings, but their pairing is complicated by the appearance of Greg. Melissa fears he's brought his "frillies" with him, and suffers acute discomfort when they walk past a Victoria's Secret.
Subplots include current lives of the other B&B owners. Gladys and her cancer stricken husband, Ray, have moved to Alpine. She tends a small green plot, growing marijuana which offers Ray some relief. Hairdresser Rita is as acerbic as ever; taking a dim view of Della's sexual antics with ‘I know you get the hots for anything that wears a tool belt." And, Kat, still with Dave, tries to keep everyone's emotions on an even keel.
Toss in two very bad boys who plan to lace water with GHB and sell it to "a bunch of dancing white kids, spoiled party boys." No good will come of this, and it doesn't.
Despite such machinations the run is headed for success with registrations mounting and the closest available hotel room "up in Tarrant County." Preparations reach a fevered pitch until all of Sydonia is awash in Peach Fest t-shirts, caps, peach tea, peach coffee creamer, peach-scented-candles, peach bath salts, even peach salsa. On the great day floats shimmy past the judge's stand, and Miss Peach Fest is crowned.
While Ms. Litman drops every soap operaesque hook from sex to lost love to terminal disease to drug addiction to murder, interest wanes as "Midnight Peaches" suffers from narrative interruptus. When characters from the author's previous books make brief appearances, readers may find themselves wondering who this or that person is rather than focusing on the pressing peach predicament.
This report prepared by The Snide Gail Cooke