‘Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore’ – Matthew Sullivan

Scheduled for publication in June 2017, this is a book that I only saw how clever it was after I’d finished it.

If you want to hide something, often the easiest place to hide it is in the open. It’s a much-repeated phrase in Literature, and it certainly rings true here. Everything is very much apparent – once we have it all laid out for us, and can see just how the various bits of the puzzle inter-connect.

Lydia, our main character, works in the Bright Ideas bookstore. When one of the regular customers kills himself there, it kickstarts a deeply unnerving set of events. For Joey, the young victim, is found with a picture of Lydia as a child in his pocket.

At the point that Lydia starts to try to establish why Joey had this picture, and why he felt compelled to leave all his possessions to her, we get introduced to Lydia’s horrific past. The stuff of prime-time TV drama, we get to learn all about a night in Lydia’s past that she had tried hard to bury.

Slowly, and with an ominous sense of inevitability, we learn how Lydia and Joey are linked, and we get the full details of that night. Claustrophobic in mood, but I was desperate to know exactly what happened.

Unsettling, desperately sad but very very readable. Thank you to publishers Scribner and NetGalley for allowing me to read a copy in advance in exchange for my thoughts.