Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew J. Sullivan

I tend to gravitate towards books that take place within a bookstore or library. I can’t help it. It comes with the territory. In Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore we meet Lydia, an eccentric employee who befriends the store’s BookFrogs. I had no idea what a BookFrog was. Turns out, a BookFrog is a lost and lonely regular who spends every day wandering the aisles of the bookstore.

One particular BookFrog, young Joey Molina becomes quite fond of Lydia so when Joey commits suicide in the bookstore, Lydia’s world is turned upside down. Joey leaves all of his worldly possessions to her, including his collection of books which have been defaced and cut up to reveal secret messages. As a result of these secret messages, we are caught up in Lydia’s violent childhood and the dark memories of the Hammerman, the murderer who haunts her even now. But what does Joey’s death have to do with Lydia? How is her estranged father involved?

The author’s ability to craft characters is fantastic. Even the lesser roles are fine tuned. Sullivan’s debut is promoted as a mystery, but there is so much more to the story. Bright Ideas is a story about friendship, loss, the need to love and be loved, the danger of secrets and facing our demons. Many things come to light in this one. Absolutely worth reading.

~ Leslie M.