Staff Review: ‘Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore’ by Matthew Sullivan

Imagine this: a juggler has three red balls, a bowling pin, his left shoe, a lit candle, and a full glass of beer in the air. How’s he going to catch it all without either burning himself or spilling any of his beer. This juggler is Matthew Sullivan and throughout his novel, he has multiple plots points in the air. He tricks you throughout the book by making you think he’s going to drop that bowling pin or a drop of that beer is going to spill, but Sullivan doesn’t drop a single thing. He catches everything flawlessly in front of an amazed and mystified audience.

The book starts of with our protagonist Lydia, a clerk of a Denver based bookstore, discovering the dead body of one of her most beloved customers, Joey, who took his own life in the store. What makes this even more puzzling for Lydia is the photo she finds in Joey’s pockets of a young Lydia. Does this have anything to do with the Hammerman, the brutal murderer whom she heard slaughter a whole family from under a sink when she was a child? Why did she survive that all those years ago? Why did Joey leave coded clues for her? And how is her estranged father involved in all of this?

When long lost people come back into her life and people she thought she knew reveal new sides of themselves; Lydia’s life will get thrown into chaos and she will have to deal with things she’s kept buried for years. This murder mystery crossed with a cold case investigation will keep you hooked to each page as you see Sullivan give you a shocking and satisfying ending to Lydia’s seemingly chaotic story. This dark and mystifying tale will make you see the city of Denver in a new light.

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore will be released Tuesday, June 13th. Matthew Sullivan will also be doing a reading and signing at the BookBar at 7pm on Saturday, June 17th. Who knows, maybe we’ll get him to juggle.

-Lance Morgan