Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew J. Sullivan
Review by Lauren
source: copy from Netgalley; all opinions are my own
Official Summary (add on Goodreads): 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.
Review: I’m always immediately intrigued by books that deal with libraries, bookshops, or readers in general. As someone who has been a lifelong bookworm, this type of setting or character is obviously something that connects with me. I’m also a fan of mysteries, so Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore was certainly a book I was excited to read. On Goodreads, I rated this 5 stars. No, it’s not completely perfect and I did guess an aspect of the mystery before it was revealed, but that doesn’t matter. I found myself eager to read this one and was always very engrossed while doing so.Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore: A book filled murder mystery. #bookreview Click To Tweet
Lydia Smith has a past history with violence and a murderer dubbed the Hammerman. This person was never caught, but they’ve haunted Lydia’s life ever since. In the present time, she is working at a bookstore called Bright Ideas. A young man who frequented the shop often is found dead by Lydia one night. This discovery leads Lydia on a quest of sorts to learn more about Joey. She finds herself digging further into her past at the same time too, delving into secrets and wondering if the Hammerman is still nearby.
Like I said, there is one aspect of the mystery that I guessed before it was ever revealed, but there was still plenty for me to be surprised by. It didn’t take away my enjoyment of the book. The book follows Lydia in the present, but it also gives some perspectives from the past when the Hammerman terrorizes a small town. Both timelines are easy to follow and just add more suspense and intrigue to the mysteries Lydia hopes to unravel.