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Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore: A…
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Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore: A Novel

by Matthew Sullivan

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Bookstores-who knew! ( )
  BenjaminG.Brubaker | Oct 11, 2017 |
A murder mystery in a bookstore...It's closing time and Lydia discovers the body of Joey who has hanged himself on the third floor of the Bright Ideas Bookstore. In Joey's pocket is a photograph of Lydia and friends from her 10th birthday. Where did he get it and what does it mean. As the story progresses, Lydia's past and her fraught relationship with her estranged father is revealed.
The murder to be solved isn't Joey's, but one witnessed by 10 year old Lydia almost 18 years before.
The writing is strong, with interesting book references (obligatory for the books about books genre) and the story is interesting. There weren't many red herrings, and I was able to figure out "whodunnit" about halfway through the book.
I recommend this one as a light, quick book when you're in the mood for a mystery. ( )
  tangledthread | Oct 4, 2017 |
I had trouble maintaining my interest in the first few chapters, but it gets better and better as it goes on! Wow. I never saw these twists coming. Just wow.

Lydia is a person that I would feel sorry for--it's a wonder that she doesn't have full-blown PTSD because I honestly don't know a soul who could witness something that tragic and still be a well-pulled-together adult. Raj sounds like a guy that I would love to have in my life as a best friend. He seems so sweet and genuine. Joey sounds like a soul who got a raw deal when it's all said and done. You feel sorry for him. Lydia's friendship meant the world to him.

I only gave it four stars because of the language I came across in the book. But aside from that, it's an excellent novel.

Mr. Sullivan, if your future books are as good as this one (minus the language), I'll happily read them! ( )
  caslater83 | Sep 29, 2017 |
This one surprised me. I was expecting a quirky bookstore novel, but instead found a strange mystery. Lydia witnesses the suicide of a man named Joey in the bookstore where she works. She ends up going down a rabbit hole searching through the clues that he left behind. Her own troubled past begins to surface the deeper she digs.

The book explores how a history of violence can travels down through generations. It's about the bad decisions or past traumas we try to hide to protect ourselves but really enough isolating ourselves. Lydia's life is shaped by the horrifying event that shattered her world as a child. From peaceful days spent at her friend Raj's donut shop, to living in a cabin in the woods with her father, Lydia's life has never found its balance again.

There were only a few moments in this book where the plot didn't work for me, mainly when her father was involved. Most of the time I was completely sucked in and I love the way it all came together in the end.

BOTTOM LINE: A very satisfying read and way darker than the cover and title might suggest. ( )
  bookworm12 | Sep 27, 2017 |
After a haunting past, Lydia lives a quiet life as a bookstore clerk. When she finds a favorite patron dead in the stacks, holding a photo of Lydia as a child in his hand, Lydia's life spirals out control. With her past suddenly coming closer into focus, Lydia is forced to confront memories she shares with no one else. Who was the frequent bookstore patron, really, and how is he linked to Lydia's past? Part mystery, part thriller, part crime novel, this book kept my attention until the very end. I will definitely be on the lookout for this author's next novel!


Sarah M. / Marathon County Public Library
Find this book in our library catalog.

( )
  mcpl.wausau | Sep 25, 2017 |
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Epigraph
All words are masks, and the lovelier they are, the more they are meant to conceal. --Stephen Millhauser, "August Eschenburg"
"As always, we take up again where we left off. This is where I belong after all." --Walker Percy, The Moviegoer
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For Libby
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Lydia heard the distant flap of paper wings as the first book fell from its shelf.
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Book description
When a bookshop patron commits suicide, his favorite store clerk must unravel the puzzle he left behind in this fiendishly clever debut novel from an award-winning short story writer.

Lydia Smith lives her life hiding in plain sight. A clerk at the Bright Ideas bookstore, she keeps a meticulously crafted existence among her beloved books, eccentric colleagues, and the BookFrogs—the lost and lonely regulars who spend every day marauding the store’s overwhelmed shelves.

But when Joey Molina, a young, beguiling BookFrog, kills himself in the bookstore’s upper room, Lydia’s life comes unglued. Always Joey’s favorite bookseller, Lydia has been bequeathed his meager worldly possessions. Trinkets and books; the detritus of a lonely, uncared for man. But when Lydia flips through his books she finds them defaced in ways both disturbing and inexplicable. They reveal the psyche of a young man on the verge of an emotional reckoning. And they seem to contain a hidden message. What did Joey know? And what does it have to do with Lydia?

As Lydia untangles the mystery of Joey’s suicide, she unearths a long buried memory from her own violent childhood. Details from that one bloody night begin to circle back. Her distant father returns to the fold, along with an obsessive local cop, and the Hammerman, a murderer who came into Lydia’s life long ago and, as she soon discovers, never completely left. Bedazzling, addictive, and wildly clever, Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore is a heart-pounding mystery that perfectly captures the intellect and eccentricity of the bookstore milieu and will keep you guessing until the very last page. Amazon
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