Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore

A Novel

Book - 2017
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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. But when Lydia flips through his books she finds them defaced in ways both disturbing and inexplicable"--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2017
Edition: First Scribner hardcover edition
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9781501116841
Characteristics: 328 pages ; 24 cm
Call Number: SULLIVAN, M


From Library Staff

Petehere99 Jul 20, 2020

Part mystery, part love letter to books, booksellers, and book lovers alike (and even includes a shout out to the gang back in receiving), Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore is a very clever mystery about a suicide, a triple murder, and the lone survivor who has to put all the pieces together... Read More »

coloradobuck Jan 22, 2018

If you aren't scared off with a book that starts with a suicide, which was intriguing, then this is a great read. The author did a good job at interweaving the characters' story lines and their interconnectedness to each other throughout the book. Loved the local Denver references as well.

A murder takes place in a Denver bookstore. It's no coincidence that the author worked for several bookstores, including Denver's Tattered Cover. Available in book, e-book, audiobook CD, e-audiobook, and Playaway formats.

Best Debut Goodreads Author Finalist

jabberbooky Nov 13, 2017

A puzzle of a debut set in Denver bookstore and written by a former Tattered Cover bookseller.

From the critics

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Petehere99 Jul 20, 2020

Part mystery, part love letter to books, booksellers, and book lovers alike (and even includes a shout out to the gang back in receiving), Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore is a very clever mystery about a suicide, a triple murder, and the lone survivor who has to put all the pieces together. The novel is set, I believe, in early 1990's Denver, when the baseball stadium was being built and the lower-downtown area was just beginning its long transformation from urban blight to imposing glass edifices and impossible to park. The Bright Ideas Bookstore was a place to escape the cold and lose yourself in three stories of books, a coffee shop, and a newsstand.

I came onto the scene in 2001, and by mid-year was working for an eerily similar bookstore in Denver. We didn't stay open until midnight back then, but I do recall closing on weekends at 11:00 pm, the bars in full swing and many a colorful character wandering (sometimes staggering) in for a last look at the books or a quick trip to the restroom (perhaps to vomit). I remember having my lunch at the 16th and Wynkoop intersection late in the summer. Today, hundreds and hundreds of people and vehicles pass by in a hurry going this way and that. But back then on that day there was not another soul in sight, until...a very old man came upon me violently swing his cane. I was sure he was going to hit me with it, but he eventually calmed down and we had lunch together. It was nice. I only saw him one more time after that, still swinging the cane.

But getting back to the book. At the onset of the story, star bookseller Lydia discovers one of her regulars, Joey, hanging by his neck on the third floor of the bookstore (that's right, the third floor). Based upon my lower-downtown experience of those years past, I don't find that scenario implausible at all. The hanged man leaves a clue on his person that connects Lydia to a dark incident in her past. So begins a humble bookseller's fascinating journey through gritty downtown Denver and into the snowy mountains as she attempts to solve the riddle of a suicide and the identity of a murderer.

Longtime Denver folks will recognize the many so accurately described landmarks in the novel including the Wazee Supper Club, the 16th Street mall, a certain independent bookstore, Capitol Hill, Colfax, the dive bars, the slushy alleys. Very longtime Denver folks and booksellers may even recognize themselves. Who could guess a book about suicide and homicide could be such fun to read?

Jan 22, 2020

I liked this story about am underacheiving bookseller still suffering some PTSD from a childhood trauma. Closing her bookstore one night, she discovers a suicide in the history section...a young man she knew only as a regular at the bookstore, who, curiously, had a childhood picture of her protruding from his pocket. Slowly she discovers who he was, and some loose ends she's always lived with are finally tied up.

MissAnnie Nov 06, 2019

This one is a little more graphic and grizzly than I typically enjoy; however, the plot unfolds beautifully and Lydia and Raj are a sympathetic pair.

Oct 27, 2019

2.5 stars
The plot did not engage my interest; I felt minimal connection of interest toward the main characters because the author created too much enigma and "shadowed silence" too early in the story....and...Lydia's story... rather scary. etc. etc.

Sep 25, 2019

So I don't read a lot of mystery/thriller books but this one hooked me in. I was kept guessing until the end and even then there were twists I never could have predicted. Less of the bookstore then I would have liked but that's okay! Thank you Matthew Sullivan for creating this awesome novel that got me back into mystery novels!

Aug 03, 2019

An OK read, but the bookstore setting has little to do with the plot. I thought of giving up a few times, but stuck with it to see if the astounding co-incidence that sets up the whole plot was explained as more than just an astounding coincidence (which it wasn't.) And the whole cut-out-in-book code was ridiculous. If Lydia and Raj appear in another book they'll do so without me.

Jul 29, 2019

Its been awhile since I've read a mystery and wasn't disappointed. Was able to figure out the ending about 2/3rds through, but still enjoyed how the story played out.

May 24, 2019

This book made me consider reading more mysteries. Great read.

Kristen MERKE
Mar 05, 2019

While I loved the idea, this novel falls flat in terms of it's endless attempts at "plot twists." It's certainly not as dark as some reviewers describe, in fact at times elements such as the name "Hammerman" I feel undercut any sort of poignancy towards Lydia or Joey's situations. That being said, I read it quickly and did enjoy it. But I braced myself mid-way for what I knew would be a disappointing ending which perhaps allowed me to better enjoy the story.

Feb 23, 2019

The main character, Lydia, was believable and, from my vantage point, well fleshed out. The author gives her an inner life which I found realistic. Male authors sometimes find female characters a bit tricky in my experience. (I wonder if men find that true of female writers and male characters.). I may have missed how Lyle was able to obtain Joe's ashes which is not easily done, even when you are a family member. So that nags at me a bit. I enjoyed the book and would definitely read other mysteries by this author. Especially if set in bookstores, my favorite of all places. After libraries that is.

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Kristen MERKE
Mar 05, 2019

Kristen MERKE thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over


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