Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan (5 out of 5)

This was a pleasant surprise. I didn’t quite know where this was going at ANY part of the book. You could call it a murder mystery centered around a suicide. You could call it a broken family dynamic, between the lead character and her father. You could call it the broken hearts club and look at various people on that pathway throughout the book. You could even call it a reawakening of two adults who lost an incredible friendship at the cost of tragic childhoods. You could call it lost chances at the hands of bad decisions to keep families intact. You can also call it (a little bit) a love of bookstores and those who frequent them (and work for  them). What you could also call it-and I do- is an incredible book. A bit darker than some bookstore fare I have read, but infinitely flawless. 

Lydia’s been at the Bright Ideas Bookstore for a long time. It helped her escape her nightmare childhood. Lydia’s single father couldn’t let her have her sleepover with her friend because he has to go work. Her friend’s father offers to host the sleepover instead. What happens next is beyond anything a kid should have to go through. Someone breaks in and murders her friend and her friend’s family while Lydia hides under the sink. Her father grows concerned when he can’t get ahold of the family the best day and goes to the house, finds the carnage, and takes his bloodied and psychologically scarred daughter out of there. The perpetrator- dubbed “The Hammerman” by the press- is never caught. Lydia’s father is a suspect, but he is never formally charged. He and Lydia leave town and move to Rio Vista, where her once docile librarian dad totally changes his appearance, personality, and begins working all hours as a prison guard. When Lydia is left alone, she hides under the sink to keep herself safe. She and her father continue to grow apart in their new existence. Flash forward to present day Lydia, working as a clerk at the Bright Ideas Bookstore. One of her favorite customers, Joey, hangs himself in the store. Lydia inherits what’s left of his belongings, including tons of books. The books are defaced, however, and Lydia finds herself in the middle of a puzzle around Joey’s suicide. Around this time, her long lost childhood friend Raj enters the picture. Lydia is thrilled to see him, and even more thrilled with his help trying to unravel the circumstances of the suicide. The problem is, once they begin poking around in the past, it has an errie and often frightening way of coming full circle in the present. This is a book that kept me guessing until the very end. It was a satisfying and not cliched ending to several stories going on. I highly recommend this book. It’s out on June 13, 2017, from our friend at Scribner Book Company (an imprint of Simon & Schuster).   

 

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~ by generationgbooks on June 1, 2017.

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