Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore

A Novel

eBook - 2017
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"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."--
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2017
ISBN: 9781501116865
Characteristics: text file, rda
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc. - Distributor

Related Resources


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
MissAnnie Nov 06, 2019

This one is a little more graphic and grizzly than I typically enjoy; however, the plot unfolds beautifully and Lydia and Raj are a sympathetic pair.

Oct 27, 2019

2.5 stars
The plot did not engage my interest; I felt minimal connection of interest toward the main characters because the author created too much enigma and "shadowed silence" too early in the story....and...Lydia's story... rather scary. etc. etc.

Sep 25, 2019

So I don't read a lot of mystery/thriller books but this one hooked me in. I was kept guessing until the end and even then there were twists I never could have predicted. Less of the bookstore then I would have liked but that's okay! Thank you Matthew Sullivan for creating this awesome novel that got me back into mystery novels!

Aug 03, 2019

An OK read, but the bookstore setting has little to do with the plot. I thought of giving up a few times, but stuck with it to see if the astounding co-incidence that sets up the whole plot was explained as more than just an astounding coincidence (which it wasn't.) And the whole cut-out-in-book code was ridiculous. If Lydia and Raj appear in another book they'll do so without me.

Jul 29, 2019

Its been awhile since I've read a mystery and wasn't disappointed. Was able to figure out the ending about 2/3rds through, but still enjoyed how the story played out.

May 24, 2019

This book made me consider reading more mysteries. Great read.

Kristen MERKE
Mar 05, 2019

While I loved the idea, this novel falls flat in terms of it's endless attempts at "plot twists." It's certainly not as dark as some reviewers describe, in fact at times elements such as the name "Hammerman" I feel undercut any sort of poignancy towards Lydia or Joey's situations. That being said, I read it quickly and did enjoy it. But I braced myself mid-way for what I knew would be a disappointing ending which perhaps allowed me to better enjoy the story.

Feb 23, 2019

The main character, Lydia, was believable and, from my vantage point, well fleshed out. The author gives her an inner life which I found realistic. Male authors sometimes find female characters a bit tricky in my experience. (I wonder if men find that true of female writers and male characters.). I may have missed how Lyle was able to obtain Joe's ashes which is not easily done, even when you are a family member. So that nags at me a bit. I enjoyed the book and would definitely read other mysteries by this author. Especially if set in bookstores, my favorite of all places. After libraries that is.

ArapahoeAnnaL Feb 08, 2019

So satisfying the way all the plot lines come together. Interesting characters and a great setting - Denver and the mountains!

Jan 23, 2019

Lydia works at the Bright Ideas Bookstore in a gentrifying area of Denver. She is the queen of customer service, building relationships and experiences with the regular customers, whom she refers to as “BookFrogs”. Her life is fine and dandy, if a little dull, until one of her BookFrogs commits suicide in the store.

BookFrog Joey was a troubled kid who found solace in reading, and if his sudden suicide wasn’t shocking enough, he left no note, only a photograph from Lydia’s 10th birthday in his pocket. And evidently left all his meager worldly possessions to her as well.

So now Lydia’s on a quest to figure out why the hell Joey did all this. He wasn’t some crazy stalker, was he? Fortunately, no. Unfortunately, the answer is a lot more complicated than that. It involves secret coded messages and long-lost best friends and estranged fathers and 20-year-old cold cases.

The twists and turns in this book are astounding as Lydia’s backstory is slowly revealed, along with Joey’s connection to it. It’s definitely a mystery that kept me guessing.

Don’t let the title/name of the bookstore fool you. There is very little “bright” about this novel. Except perhaps the ending.

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability
Kristen MERKE
Mar 05, 2019

Kristen MERKE thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further


Subject Headings


Find it at PPL

To Top