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Publisher's Summary

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, her 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.
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 end.
©2017 Matthew Sullivan. All rights reserved. (P)2017 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Erin S on 07-15-17

Here's a bright idea....

While the story was a solid 4--lots of twists and turns, the narrator chose to have all of the male characters speak slowly and, as another reviewer said, robotically. I tried speeding up the narration but it made the bulk of the story (main character and exposition) too fast. I almost stopped listening when a third male character was introduced and he too spoke as if Valium were his main food source. If you haven't bought the audible version you may want to consider reading it on your favorite electronic device. I wish I had.

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22 of 23 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By Laura D. Cantu on 07-21-17

Could Not Finish

What disappointed you about Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore?

I'm sorry to say, but the reader was just not top notch. Every character spoke as if English was a second language or if they were learning how to read and speak. It was very annoying and my focus couldn't get beyond my irritation.

What was most disappointing about Matthew Sullivan’s story?

I didn't find the mystery very intriguing at all.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Madeleine Maby?

Don't know.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

I feel the reader took away my ability to like any of the characters.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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