Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore

A Novel

Book - 2017 | First Scribner hardcover edition
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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. When Lydia flips through his books, she finds them defaced in ways both disturbing and inexplicable. 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.​
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2017
Edition: First Scribner hardcover edition
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9781501116841 (hardback)
1501116843 (hardback)
Branch Call Number: M SULLIVAN
Characteristics: 328 pages ; 24 cm


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Nov 28, 2018

I enjoyed the book and believe its strength was in taking us into the world of bookstore personalities and quirky patrons. The author nicely integrated Denver settings into the story and kept up the who-done-it suspense until near the end. The ending didn't match the quality of the rest of the story, but overall, it earned a solid four stars.

Oct 31, 2018

There are certain engaging elements to this book. The setting reads as lived-in and authentic, though I've never been to Denver so I don't know if it lines up well to reality. The plot is compelling and the characters are intriguing. However, more than a few plot points feel either predictable, soap opera-y, or both. I enjoyed it well enough as a nice, light read in the mystery genre, but I don't think it fully lives up to the hype or feels particularly innovative.

Sep 19, 2018

If you do you want to wait to read this book, try a similar title and plot, The Bookshop of Yesterdays by Amy Meyerson. Mostly a good read, a bit predictable toward the end.

Jul 25, 2018

Have no idea why this book gets such good ratings. A dreary read about dreary people's dreary unhappy lives. Gave it 1 star for the interesting plot idea of the coded messages but not a book that extends your vocabulary or your knowledge in any way. The supposed underlying psychology on which the plot hangs is thin.

Jun 12, 2018

I loved this book. It had all the elements I love. The setting was in and around a bookshop with bookish people. There was murder, suspense and intrigue. Together with a code made out of second-hand books, the book was fabulous.

JenniferG_OshLib Jun 11, 2018

For some reason I didn't expect this to be as much of a dark mystery as it was. Lydia was a very sympathetic, realistic character. There were a few elements of the story that were somewhat unrealistic and a bit too coincidental for me, but I was willing to overlook them. There's a sadness to this story that some may not enjoy, but that only lent to the realistic quality for me.

Jun 01, 2018

I am a sucker for any book that takes place in this great state of ours. That is why I picked it up - and I am glad I did. I enjoyed this book a great deal. This is an incredible debut for this local author. I will keep my eyes out for other books that he writes.

Although this book was recently written the 'adult years' of the main character take place in Denver 30ish years ago. They never called out the year, but they mention LoDo before the baseball field. I thought it was a really interesting choice that provided a subtle details that I appreciated.

You would think a mystery that begins with a suicide in a bookstore couldn't get any more shocking than that, but this book had so many twists and turns I got whiplash. I'd finish a chapter and have to keep reading to find out what happens next.

JCLMelodyMK May 09, 2018

a very enjoyable book and quick read if you like cold cases with a lot of twists.

Mar 25, 2018

Tangy is the daughter of a light-colored mother who has fathered several children, each with a different father. Although no longer wanting to serve as a maid in a white family’s house, she forces Tangy and her older sister into prostitution to support their brothers and sisters. Filled with sadness most often caused by the mother’s insanity, Tangy still hopes she will graduate from high school and find a peaceful life for her and her younger sisters. Poignantly written, this story shows how determination and stubbornness help people survive in a life in which they have no control.

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