Book Review: ‘Midnight At The Bright Ideas Bookstore’ Is A Thrilling Read With Lots Of Twists And Turns

The debut novel from Matthew Sullivan is a gripping, twisted story that brings the past back with the present in a thrilling, dark way.

Lydia Smith works at The Bright Ideas Bookstore in Denver. It’s a popular bookstore which has a group of regulars that hang out all the time called the BookFrogs. They don’t cause any problems and are considered to be friends with the staff. One of them is Joey. No one is really too sure about him. He seems like a lost soul. Lydia has become somewhat close with him. One night after they close they discover Joey has hanged himself on the third floor. When Lydia finds his body she also finds a picture of herself from when she was 10 years old. She can’t figure out why he would have this.

This sets Lydia on a path to figure out why he had it. When she gets a visit from Joey’s landlord, she’s told what he has left belongs to her. She finds these books with cutout letters and has no idea what it all means. She slowly pieces together the clues and it leads her to revisit her past. She was at the scene of the Hammerhead murders from when she was 10 years old (a case that was never solved). One of the prime suspects was her father with whom she is estranged. Through flashbacks we learn the backstory of her childhood and why she tries to keep her past hidden.

When she runs into her childhood friend Raj it brings the past back in a big way. She and Raj start searching for answers and what they find shocks them both. The answers they find are not what they were expecting at all.

Midnight At The Bright Ideas Bookstore (Scribner; in stores June 13) is just a stellar debut novel that has everything you’d want in a thriller. I look forward to reading more books from Matthew.

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