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Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore
by Matthew Sullivan


Overview - Goodreads Debut Author of the Month and an Indie Next Pick

"Sullivan's debut is a page-turner featuring a heroine bookseller who solves a cold case with clues from books--what is not to love?" --Nina George, author of The Little French Bistro , and the New York Times bestselling The Little Paris Bookshop

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.  Read more...


 
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More About Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan
 
 
 
Overview
Goodreads Debut Author of the Month and an Indie Next Pick

"Sullivan's debut is a page-turner featuring a heroine bookseller who solves a cold case with clues from books--what is not to love?" --Nina George, author of The Little French Bistro, and the New York Times bestselling The Little Paris Bookshop

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.​

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781501116841
  • ISBN-10: 1501116843
  • Publisher: Scribner Book Company
  • Publish Date: June 2017
  • Page Count: 336
  • Dimensions: 9 x 6.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.9 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Mystery & Detective - General
Books > Fiction > Thrillers - Suspense
Books > Fiction > Psychological

 
BookPage Reviews

Cases for literature lovers

A pair of hair-raising whodunits aimed at bibliophiles are worthy of a top place on your summertime reading list.

Magpie Murders by screenwriter and bestselling author Anthony Horowitz (Moriarty) is a wickedly clever Agatha Christie-style novel within a novel. As editor Susan Ryeland reads through the manuscript for the ninth novel from her publishing house’s bestselling author, Alan Conway, she finds that his Magpie Murders is a crisp murder mystery set in the bucolic English village of Saxby-on-Avon, a town filled with Georgian stone homes and terraces, where you “didn’t need to read Jane Austen. If you stepped outside, you would find yourself actually in her world.”

In Conway’s story, local cleaning lady Mary Elizabeth Blakiston and the wealthy man she works for, Sir Magnus Pye, have both been killed inside Pye Hall. There is no shortage of suspects: Could it have been Pye’s sister who was cut out of the family fortune? The vicar who stands to lose his lovely view when Pye sells off his land for the construction of a cookie-cutter housing development? The son of the cleaning lady who was heard shouting at his mother just before her death? Conway’s brilliant London detective, Atticus Pünd, comes to the secretive town of Saxby-on-Avon for what might be his last investigation.

But the final chapters of the Magpie Murders manuscript are missing, and Conway is now out of the picture in a very unexpected way. Susan comes to suspect that the fictional manuscript holds a darker, real-life story. As life imitates art, Susan becomes a detective of sorts as she begins to interview Conway’s associates in order to piece together what really happened to him and discover where those lost chapters are hidden. Magpie Murders is brilliantly constructed, a thoroughly satisfying read that left me dazzled.

In Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore, first-time author Matthew Sullivan creates a vivid world inside Denver’s Bright Ideas Bookstore, where 30-year-old Lydia Smith works and nurtures the store’s “BookFrogs,” damaged men who spend their days wandering the cozy aisles.

When one of the youngest BookFrogs, Joey Molina, hangs himself inside the store, it is Lydia who finds him. Joey leaves Lydia a set of books that contain coded messages within their pages. The discovery cracks open a long-held secret from her youth—the fact that she famously survived a brutal triple-murder while at a sleepover—and Lydia begins to unravel a horrifying connection between Joey and her traumatic past.

Sullivan, a former bookseller himself, weaves an intense, unsettling story. Joey is an enigmatic character, “haunted but harmless—a dust bunny blowing through the corners of the store.” And the flashbacks to that fateful night from Lydia’s childhood, narrated by her father, literally had me reminding myself to breathe.

Twisty and dark, Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore is a remarkable debut novel that will leave readers unsettled and probably yearning to pay a visit to their local bookstore.

This article was originally published in the July 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews