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2020 Everybody Reads Selection
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore
BY MATTHEW SULLIVAN
When a bookshop patron commits suicide, his favorite store clerk must unravel the puzzle he left behind in this fiendishly clever debut novel from an award-winning short story writer.
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. They reveal the psyche of a young man on the verge of an emotional reckoning. And 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.
Previous Everybody Reads Selections
Emily Ruskovich, Idaho
S.M. Hulse, Black River
Malcolm Brooks, Painted Horses
Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See
Erin Saldin, The Girls of No Return
Janet Oakley, Tree Soldier
Jim Lynch, Border Songs
C.J. Box, Blue Heaven
Molly Gloss, The Hearts of Horses
David Guterson, The Other
Gary Ferguson and Douglas Smith, Decade of the Wolf: Returning the Wild to Yellowstone
Gregg Olsen, The Deep Dark: Disaster and Redemption in America's Richest Silver Mine
George W. Aguilar, When the River Ran Wild!
Jess Walter, Citizen Vince
Craig Lesley, The Sky Fisherman
Chris Crutcher, Whale Talk
John N. Maclean, Fire on the Mountain
Teresa Jordan, Riding the White Horse Home