Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew J. Sullivan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

SYNOPSIS
When a bookshop patron commits suicide, his favorite store clerk must unravel the puzzle he left behind. 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.

                                                              BOOK REVIEW


A woman, a bookstore, hidden memories, and a murder. Lydia, a bookstore clerk has a mysterious past that is alluded to frequently throughout the telling of this mystery that starts with the suicide of one of Lydia's beloved "book frogs", Joey.  He kills himself in the store and leaves clues for Lydia to suss out the mystery that is his life. Yeah, there is more than one mystery that you'll need to follow. The story has multiple layers that eventually will come together in a way that you didn't really expect coming. The characters are developed. The plot is executed well. I will say that I was expecting the bookstore to be the actual focal point of the story, which would have been interesting. I listened to this on audible. The narrator did a good job of delivering the story and the production was well done.  I gave it a three because for me there were scenes that added no value to the story and took away from what could have been, should have been a tension-filled story. 


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