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Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore: A Novel

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore: A Novel

Scris de Matthew Sullivan

Povestit de Madeleine Maby


Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore: A Novel

Scris de Matthew Sullivan

Povestit de Madeleine Maby

evaluări:
4/5 (213 evaluări)
Lungime:
9 hours
Lansat:
Jun 13, 2017
ISBN:
9781508236047
Format:
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Descriere

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 McGinty, a young, beguiling BookFrog, kills himself in the bookstore's back 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.​
Lansat:
Jun 13, 2017
ISBN:
9781508236047
Format:
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Despre autor

Matthew Sullivan received his MFA from the University of Idaho and has been a resident writer at Yaddo, Centrum, and the Vermont Studio Center. His short stories have been awarded the Robert Olen Butler Fiction Prize and the Florida Review Editor’s Prize for Fiction and have been published in many journals, including The Chattahoochee Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Fugue, Evansville Review, and 580-Split. In addition to working for years at Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver and at Brookline Booksmith in Boston, he currently teaches writing, literature, and film at Big Bend Community College in the high desert of Washington State. The author of Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore, he is married to a librarian and has two children.


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  • (4/5)
    Minor nitpick: How is this bookshop staying open? The current economic climate has booksellers internationally at quite tight margins!This story features suicide by hanging.Lydia Smith used to have a different name but she achieved notoriety as the survivor of a serial killer attack (Nora Roberts has used this trope a few times). She works in a bookshop (that seems almost like a library) and tries to keep her life going. Sometimes almost going through the motions. She hasn't talked to her father in several years.When one of the men who use the bookshop as a refuge (they call them bookfrogs after the frog in the Wind in the Willows) hangs himself in the bookshop he leaves Lydia all his treasures and she follows some clues he leaves into her past and the mystery of the murder at the centre of her life. He uses books to send her a message but it's complicated and messy. It will change her life and her attitude to everything.Thinking back I don't recall a single functional relationship that involved sex in the story. It's not a bad read but it just felt like a lot of effort for not a lot of gain.
  • (4/5)
    As I was finishing this novel, I began to think of this mystery as basically a tragedy, where things happen that devolve to the final page as we find out the inexorable workings of family relationships. To describe this would make reveal spoilers. An interesting task presented was presenting a weird cryptanalysis of partial words cut fro books. The bookstore is a big one, maybe like the Tattered Cover in Denver, where there are clear departments. And have a variety of worker and customer personalities.
  • (4/5)
    I don’t normally read crime novels but this was my book club’s pick. Surprisingly, I thoroughly enjoyed it! From the beginning, I had an affinity for the main character. The twists and turns that the author leads you through kept my interest and I didn’t want to put it down. Read it in a day!
  • (4/5)
    Its actually a fairly good mystery - interesting characters, but I didn't like the stereotypes of the Patel's - I thought it was a cheap plot line, and didn't help the story.The plot was well done, what happened to Joey Molina and how did his death connect to Lydia's Father was well written.
  • (4/5)
    3.5*** From the book jacket: 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 Book Frogs – the lost and lonely regulars who spend every day marauding the store’s overwhelmed shelves. But when Joey Molina kills himself in the bookstore’s upper room, Lydia’s life comes unglued. Lydia is bequeathed Joey’s meager worldly possessions. When Lydia flips through his books, she finds them defaced in ways both disturbing and inexplicable. They seem to contain a hidden message. What did Joey know? And what does it have to do with Lydia?My reactionsA puzzle, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in a mystery. Sullivan’s novel kept me guessing and off balance. There were some very interesting twists and I liked the way he created the “puzzle of Joey’s books.” However, as the jacket blurb might indicate, I found it somewhat overwritten.It took me some time to get really caught up in the story because it was so fractured at the beginning. The multiple puzzles and flashbacks to Lydia’s youth and the horrific events surrounding “The Hammerman” had me so off balance that I kept wondering where this was going. Granted, that these are lost people; not just Joey and the other Book Frogs, but Lydia and her fellow booksellers also seemed rather lost. I never really got much of a good feel for Lydia and for what drove her away from her father. It seemed to me that the trauma of her youth would drive them together more than apart. Still, Sullivan’s inventive narrative did eventually capture my attention and kept me turning pages. And while it took me longer than usual to get truly wrapped up in the story – especially for a mystery/thriller – eventually I was staying up late to finish. Ultimately, I think it’s a better than average mystery thriller, and I’m looking forward to my F2F book club discussion.
  • (4/5)
    A well-written mystery set in a bookstore with a bibliophile as the protagonist. I liked the author's writing style, how three dimensional his characters are and the slow unfolding of events with suprising twists and turns. Although I had an inkling who Hammerman is early on, it took me a while to catch on to his motives. Lydia is a very likeable character who I empathized with all throughout the book, even though there are moments she acted foolishly. My only qualm is the abrupt epilogue, all that slow build-up needed a more satisfying ending. Inspite of that, it's a page-turner that will delight the mystery-loving bibliophile.
  • (3/5)
    sigh. gimmicky, contrived. feels tired out like it took so long to write that it has no momentum now it's done? Almost, but not quite, like it was turned down as a movie script but got resurrected here as a novel ?

    what kept me reading (and what relieved me from not feeling totally cheated of the time i spent with this book) is that many of the characters and settings are set up and introduced with a great care that makes them immediately recognizable or knowable. These moments in the book are wonderful stepping stones across an otherwise dark and morbid landscape.
  • (4/5)
    Mystery? Bookstore? Seriously creepy backstory? All good. A fast-paced thriller, great for a cold weekend afternoon read.
  • (4/5)
    I had no idea of the treat I was in for when I began reading this debut novel by Matthew Sullivan. I admit the word “bookstore” in the title was what caught my attention. I was pleasantly surprised by how the story played out with the bookstore, a library and books being central to the setting. The story begins with a young man’s suicide. Lydia, an employee of the bookstore, soon becomes drawn into a trail of messages he has left for her to solve. The story gets even more interesting as Lydia realizes that his messages have something to do with her past as well.Lydia had survived a traumatic event as a child, and as the story unfolds, we learn that the things from the past were never resolved. Her search to decipher the messages reveals the truth about why the young man committed suicide, as well as the truth about what really happened to Lydia many years ago.This one kept me guessing as to what would be revealed. It was also a bit creepy/scary at one point. There are some serious topics involved, but the writing is not dark. The story has some interesting characters, most especially Lydia’s father, who is a former librarian.I really enjoyed this one and recommend it for book clubs or anyone who loves books, and mysteries. Great debut novel!Many thanks to NetGalley and Scribner for allowing me to read an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
  • (5/5)
    When Lydia discovers Joey Molina has hanged himself in the upper reading room of the Bright Ideas Bookstore she also discovers that he has a photo of her in his pocket. It shows herself and two friends celebrating her birthday just days before the Hammerman struck. She struggles to understand how this photos has come into his possession and then she realises there is only one person he could have got it from.Lydia has told her husband David only very bare details of her life before they met, but now, as she unravels the mystery of why Joey killed himself, the past comes flooding back.Joey has left a series of messages for her cleverly coded into the books in the book shop.
  • (3/5)
    I shouldn't travel with library books. I started/finished this on the plane so now I'll be lugging it around and have to buy another book.My work book club picked this book. It's a mystery so not my usual fare but since it's set in Denver with the main character as a bookseller I enjoyed it. I was able to call the ending and there were a few too many coincidences but overall a good read.
  • (3/5)
    I just shouldn't read mysteries....ever! I had a hard time putting this down and kept picturing scenarios in my head of who Hammerman could be, what the deal with Joey's clues are and how everything came together. My ending was much better....any of my endings were better actually (and I honestly had a way figured out about how poor little Carol could have done it...figure that one out). I was hoping it would have been more complex than it was but apparently simple and expected was considered to be the best option. Whatever! So disappointed. At least the first 3/4 of the book was good.
  • (5/5)
    Lydia works in a bookstore that's frequented by a number of people she mentally refers to as "the BookFrogs": lonely, eccentric men who seem drawn to the bookstore because they have no place better to be. Then one night, one of the BookFrogs -- a troubled and intelligent young man named Joey -- hangs himself on the upper floor of the store. On his body, Lydia discovers an object with personal meaning for her, and as she tries to make sense of his death, she also finds her own past, in which she survived a horrific crime, coming back to haunt her.I liked this one much more than I expected to. It's a story that seems like it really could have felt contrived and manipulative, but somehow everything about it just worked for me. The characters feel extremely believable. And while some of the revelations didn't come as much of a surprise, that didn't remotely feel like a problem. In the end, everything seemed to fit together in a very satisfying, if also very sad kind of way.
  • (4/5)
    This book is quite a page turner! I could not put it down once I hit the half way mark! I had to know what was going on! I think some of the twists and things that happened seemed a bit far fetched, but overall found this book to be pretty good. I enjoyed the writing a lot and really liked the main character. I am not sure how I feel about the ending. I definitely felt anxious and spooked at times. Very well written, kept me on the edge of my seat wanting to know what was going on and feeling emotionally invested in Lydia. I would give this 3.5 Stars (wish you could give half stars on here) and would recommend it.
  • (4/5)
    I bumped into this title while gleaning through book reviews... hm.. *placed on Hold*

    I was very pleasantly surprised. Attn: NOT a cozy mystery, don't even think it. Quite a bit of gruesomeness, which leaves behind effed-up individuals.

    Enough said. Pick it up, give it a read, bet you have trouble putting it down!
  • (4/5)
    Lydia has a dark secret, a traumatic incident in her past that she tries to keep hidden. Estranged from her father and separated from her childhood friends, she now works in a bookshop. She befriends the lesser people of society, those she calls BookFrogs, who frequent the bookshop for shelter and entertainment. One special BookFrogs is Joey, a sad and troubled young man. Just how troubled is apparent when he commits suicide in the store's upper floor. His death sends Lydia on a quest to uncover the truth about Joey but eventually leads into her own troubled past. This novel has it all: suspense, twists, great characterizations, and a well thought-out and developed plot. Dark in nature, it is a compelling read you won't want to put down.
  • (5/5)
    This is one of the creepiest and compelling books that I've read in a long while. It had my interest from the beginning because of the book references. And then it held my interest because of the beautifully protrayed, but flawed characthers. There is Lydia the damaged child. She has never recovered from a terrifying event that happened to her when she was about 11 years old. There is her father Tomas, who has raised a daughter on his own after the death of his wife, and how he tried to protect her all of her young life, until that terrifying event, when he forever loses the daughter that he once had. There is Raj who is Lydia's best friend, but who grows up in a home full of hate of and mistrust, and then there is Carol, another of Lydia's friends who consistently gets herself and Lydia into trouble. She tries to find herself In a world where she is left to grow up on her own as her parents are too busy with their own intrigues and secrets to spend much time as parents. When Lydia grows up she is working at the Bright Ideas Bookstore in Denver, and she is sent on a quest of discovery after one of her customers is found hanging in the bookstore. While searching for answers to Joey's suicide, she is forced to face all of her past demons, and she sets out with her old friend Raj to unravel the mystery. On the way, Raj finds out some devastating information about his own family that rocks his world and changes it forever. The book was captivating and as the terrible events unfolded one by one, it drew me in. The only reason that I dropped 1/2 a star in this review is that I had figured out who the long ago killer was about 1/2 way through. I do recommend this though to anyone who loves psychological suspense. This book has that in spades.
  • (4/5)
    This book had me at "bookstore", sucked me in as it headed toward cozy mystery, then hooked me to the finish with the thriller/ bookstore noir developments. All this and good characters/writing too? A great start to the new year. When I turned the last page, I was genuinely distressed that it didn't go on longer so I could stay immersed in the story. What a great first novel!
  • (4/5)
    Although not the style of mystery that I prefer, I couldn't stop reading this and in fact finished it in one day. Lydia worked at the Bright Ideas bookstore and it figures in the entire story. Although the story seemed to be a bit of a stretch I realized when I finished that it was entirely plausible and it did work for me.
  • (5/5)
    Unexpectedly and wonderfully dark. A couple of twists surprised me, a couple I guessed correctly where they would go. No matter, it was still an enjoyable ride. Recommended!
  • (5/5)
    I didn't read a lot about this book before I read it - just going by the cover I thought I was in for a quirky read about people at a bookstore. I was so very, very wrong. This was an amazing mystery story that took me completely by surprise. Yes, there were some quirky characters but the plot was anything but that. This is a full blown mystery - complete with Indiana-Jones-style codexing and an outcome I didn't see coming. Super enjoyable. Totally original. Highly recommendable.
  • (2/5)
    A quick read. Kind of thin, in the end. It felt like the author was leering at the female characters -- especially the protag, but also the moms. Gross.
  • (3/5)
    Overall, I enjoyed this book but found it a bit more dark and disturbing than first anticipated. The dual plot lines revolving around Lydia's childhood experience and Joey's suicide helps draw the reader through an intricately plotted storyline. However, the more you read the more you realize how damaged all these characters really are. I was probably most disturbed by Raj's character in terms of his uneasy reentry into the action and the part he played in the final resolution of the mystery. I found I had to keep Joey's relationship with Lydia's father forefront once his identity started to evolve to balance the reality of how all of these characters interplayed over the years. Overall, an interesting read.
  • (5/5)
    I guessed at the solutions to the mysteries in this story and I missed solving them! Great CD read by Madeleine Maby. Great characters with complicated descriptions as Sullivan developed their appeal.
  • (4/5)
    I had hoped to keep up the momentum and actually post a new review every single day leading up to New Year's but I got super busy with mom in town and...ah well. :-)I thought I made notes about every single book that I've read this year and then it's time to review Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew J. Sullivan and I've got nothing. This leaves me in an interesting predicament because I read this book quite a while ago (September to be precise) and so this is going to be a test of the narrative's sustainability in my memory. (Full disclosure: I had to look up the synopsis because all I remembered was 'mystery, death, and bookstore'.) Without being too spoiler-y, the book follows a young woman named Lydia who works at the Bright Ideas Bookstore. Lydia has a secret. Well, it's at least a secret from her closest friends and co-workers. At the very start of the novel, Lydia discovers the body of one of her favorite patrons hanging in the bookstore where she works. (This isn't giving anything away because it's on the book jacket, ok?) This sets her off on a journey to not only discover why he killed himself but how the two of them might be interconnected beyond the clerk/customer relationship. Full of suspense (and not a little gore), this was an enjoyable read. I felt a bit like Sherlock Holmes trying to suss out the real clues from the barrage of information that the author threw my away but it wasn't too overwhelming. This is definitely a novel full of drama so if that isn't your jam I don't recommend this one. (And if you're squeamish I think you'd better steer clear.) 8/10 with a few points lost because I predicted the ending somewhat.
  • (4/5)
    Lydia works at the Bright Ideas Bookstore, where some of the regulars are ex-cons or guys with mental issues, but she affectionately calls them her "BookFrogs" and treats them kindly. When one of these young men, Joey, hangs himself in the stacks, she finds him with a picture of her and her friends from her tenth birthday. Why does Joey have this photo, and what secrets from his past coincide with hers?I was expecting a story a little more like Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Book Store with its codes and homage to reading and technology. This is more of a straight mystery, though bookstores and libraries and a love of reading do also fit into the story. Lydia's search to understand Joey leads her back to the past and a horrific event in her childhood that remains an unsolved mystery. Some of the details of the cold case were hard for me to read; this is definitely not a cozy. The story was fast-paced and compelling. I figured out the "whodunnit" kind of early, but didn't figure out all the whys until the last revelations at the end. Perhaps because it's Lydia's story of an event that can't have a happy ending, I was left with a bit of an unsettled, unhappy feeling rather than the satisfaction of a typical mystery ironed out.
  • (4/5)
    There is lots to like about this mystery A setting of a book store, a twisty, turning plot, and well developed characters, all of which come together to make a book to recommend.As a child, Lydia experienced an event which forever haunted her. The lone survivor of a murderous rampage at the hands of a man with a hammer. Sleeping over at a friend's house, all members of the family were brutally hacked, save for Lydia who quickly hid beneath the sink cabinet.When her father rescued her, the media quickly posted the photo of "poor little Lydia." As an adult, Lydia tries to move away from the horror and start a new life. When Joey, one of her favorite visitors to the bookstore hangs himself in the upper levels of the store, leaving her his meager possessions, once again she is thrown into questions of why.Finding books in his small, sparse apartment, she notes that many are cut out leaving the puzzle of words connecting a secret about her past.
  • (5/5)
    Fascinating novel about a suicide at an independent bookstore, and the investigation into why it happened. So many unexpected connections and twists in this story, and the characters are so well written, that I was reading as fast as I could. The story kept me guessing up to the last minute. I loved this book.
  • (4/5)
    Engaging characters (& the bibliomystery angle) grabbed me almost immediately & rarely let me go. Tightly plotted mystery within mysteries all character-driven & essential to the story. The only negative was a nagging want of more detail & Roth on tertiary & some secondary characters, but that would have unbalanced its tightly wound mystery.

    FYI I received this ebook via Netgalley.com & the book's publisher free for an honest review.
  • (4/5)
    Poor Lydia, she's had a difficult life. As a child, she was the lone survivor of a murderer - the "Hammerman" - who was never caught. Estranged from her father, she now spends her days as a clerk in a Denver bookstore hiding from her past. When Joey, one of her favorite young patrons, kills himself in the bookstore, Lydia is shaken. Things get weirder when she finds out Joey has left his meager worldly possessions to her, and that they hold clues to why he committed suicide.Quirky characters, a couple of twisty mysteries, devoted bibliophiles, and a bookshop, MIDNIGHT AT THE BRIGHT IDEAS BOOKSTORE had all the right elements to pull me in. While not a fast-paced read, this book is well worth waiting for the pieces of the puzzle to come together. Lydia's search for the truth about the Hammerman and Joey's death kept me guessing.The audiobook was narrated by Madeleine Maby, whom I always love listening to. She did a wonderful job capturing Lydia's disposition as well as the accents of other female characters, while the male characters were read a bit too slowly. Still, listening to the audio format was an entertaining experience.Disclosure: I received a copy of this audiobook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.