Book Review- Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore

Thursday, 28 December 2017
Title: Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore
Author: Matthew J. Sullivan
Published: 13th June 2017
Pages: 336
Genre: Fiction, Mystery

Rating: 4/5 stars

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.​ -Goodreads
I received this novel from Net Galley in return for an honest review. 
I honestly read this book quite a few months ago so this is going to be a pretty brief review!!
The first thing that attracted me to this book was the title and the cover. I love stories set in bookstores (who wouldn't?) so this was an obvious request on Net Galley and I was super excited to see I had been approved!! 
This novel is quite a mix of genres; it's literary fiction, it's mystery and it's a thriller. It isn't a detective novel however, there are no police involved, which was a refreshing change for me. I enjoyed reading a novel where all the detecting was done by normal members of the public. 
This novel has a brilliantly dark murder scene in it, which is so well described by the author, and elevated this novel in my mind from just any old mystery novel. If you are a little squeamish perhaps this isn't the novel for you, but apart from this murder scene, and a suicide scene there isn't much graphic violence. 
This novel balances both the present day, and Lydia's childhood as two narrative threads, which it soon becomes apparent are tightly intertwined. The author cleverly built this narrative structure to keep the reader as engaged as possible, and it worked perfectly with me, I found this novel very difficult to put down. 
I was also completely enthralled with trying to solve the cryptic puzzles that Joey left behind in the novels. I thought this was a ingenious idea for a puzzle and was very cleverly used by the author.
I thought the characters in this novel were excellent. Lydia was very interesting to read about, and once we learn more about her childhood, her adult personality makes much more sense. I also really enjoyed reading about the relationship between Lydia and her father. They both experienced such a trauma in their past, it was fascinating to see how that had affected them in the present. There was an eclectic mix of supporting characters in the novel, all of which were well developed and well written by the author. 
Overall I really enjoyed this novel and gave it 4/5 stars. It was an interesting, and at times dark take on a mix of genres which made for a moving and exciting novel. 

Happy reading!! 

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