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review 2017-12-28 22:40
Eventually your past will catch up with you
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore: A Novel - Matthew J. Sullivan

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.

 

What's Up Next: Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories 

 

What I'm Currently Reading: I FINALLY FINISHED SCYTHE

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-12-13 08:15
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review 2017-11-26 10:21
"Midnight At The Bright Ideas Bookstore" by Matthew Sullivan
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore: A Novel - Matthew J. Sullivan

This is not the book that the title led me to think it was. It's darker, more compelling and much more moving than I expected.

 

For me, the title "Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore" suggested an upbeat, novel about people who love books doing slightly mysterious, clever, perhaps witty things. Maybe something similar to "Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore". That's the kind of entertaining but not too challenging read I thought I'd signed up for.

 

Of course, the publisher's summary told me that the book started with a suicide but when I read:

When a bookshop patron commits suicide, it’s his favorite store clerk who must unravel the puzzle he left behind in this fiendishly clever debut novel from an award-winning short story writer.

I thought the suicide would have all the emotional impact of a body found in a locked room in an Agatha Christie murder mystery. 

 

This book isn't a puzzle. It isn't cute. It's a story about a woman in her twenties, damaged by a night of violence when she was ten, for whom The Bright Ideas Bookstore is a place of refuge, not just a place of work. She is the bookseller who best connects with the "bookfrogs", the damaged, often homeless, always slightly lost, people who hang around the bookstore for its warmth and shelter as well as its books.

 

Finding one of the youngest bookfrogs just after he suicides in the store is not the start of a puzzle to be unravelled, it is a traumatic event that is the first tremor in a quake that will collapse her understanding of her own past and leave her scrambling to stand in the rubble.

 

Violence, rage, lust, betrayal, and deception and the damage that they inflict on the young and defenceless are the engines of this book. There is a tightly plotted mystery that is skillfully unfolded so that my perceptions of people and events are constantly challenged and changed until what really happened is revealed.

 

The heart of this book is neither violence nor mystery but how children, damaged by not receiving the love that they need and have a right to expect from their parents, find solace in books and sometimes in each other. For these people books are not just escapism, they are the sofa-cushion fort children build to defend themselves from dragons, they are a search for identity and meaning, they are objects of love. 

 

This is a book filled with sadness, with bad decisions, with love overpowered by guilt or loss and with the genuine evil that sometimes finds us.

 

It's also a book about the persistence of the need for love and the possibility of survival through retaining the ability to be kind to others and yourself.

 

img-1448_origI voted for this book in the debut novel category on the GoodReads Choice Award 2017 nominations. I'm looking forward to Matthew Sullivan's next book.

 

I listened to the audiobook version of "Midnight At The Bright Ideas Bookstore" which is perfectly narrated by Madeleine Maybe. Listen to her performance on the SoundCloud link below

 

[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/326094419" params="color=#ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true&visual=true" width="100%" height="300" iframe="true" /]

 

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review 2017-10-20 08:27
Mysteries to solve – quite enjoyable stuff
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore: A Novel - Matthew J. Sullivan

 

After a childhood event in which she is involved in a multiple murder scene, Lydia Smith now works at a bookstore in Denver where she encounters more tragedy. The bookstore serves as a port of call for various down-and-outs and lost souls. The plot brings both events together as she discovers more about the present victim.

With a good deal of characterisation of the main characters, this mystery novel is relatively engaging and interesting although the coincidences are a little hard to believe. It is enjoyable and worth a read.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

 

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