MIDNIGHT AT THE BRIGHT IDEAS BOOKSTORE by Matthew Sullivan: A Review

Not quite a “cozy mystery,” but nearly one, this 2017 novel by Sullivan has twists and turns, oddball characters, and is a page-turning, quick, enjoyable read. Lynda, who works at the Bright Ideas Bookstore has a special place in her heart for the “Brook Frogs,” misfits and sometimes homeless men who hang out most days at the bookstore. Joey and Lyle, two strangely-matched friends are her favorites. Near closing time, Lynda goes looking for Joey who hasn’t come by the register yet, and, well, let the author set the scene…

“…The third floor was dim and peaceful…Something squeaked…’Last call, Joey!” She could feel her eyes trying to shut out what she was seeing: Joey, hovering in the air, swinging like a pendulum. A long ratcheted strap was threaded over a ceiling beam and looped around his neck.”  The writing is masterful; the reader is there.

Joey has left two things for Lynda. There is a photo of Linda at her  tenth birthday party in his pocket (which she hides), and she is “willed” a series of books Joey owned, all cut up with razor blades, which reveal a coded message directly to Linda. Why did her friend hang himself? What is her connection to this homeless man?  As Lynda searches for answers, she consults retired police detective Moberg, who all along has suspected Lynda’s recluse father of a horrendous murder to which Lynda was the only witness. For a moment, Lynda suspects her father; for a moment we suspect him. Reconnecting with her father to determine his connection with Joey, she has flashbacks of witnessing from underneath a kitchen cupboard the night her best friend and both her parents were savagely murdered.  Lynda and her father have been estranged for years, and the job at the Bright Ideas bookstore was the safe haven of a woman trying to hide her past as the “Little Lynda” the tabloids and TV broadcasts screamed about until the next sensational tragedy came to pass.

I can’t call this a page-turner because I read it on a Kindle, but I couldn’t swipe quickly enough! It is a fine read, wonderfully written and deserves some kind of award.

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Author: Rae Reads

This year (2019) finds me with 50 years of teaching "under my belt." I have taught all levels from pre-K "(library lady" or "book lady"--volunteer) to juniors, seniors, and graduate students enrolled in my Advanced Writing class at the university where I have just completed 30 years. My first paying teaching job was junior high, and I spent 13 years with ages 12-13, the "difficult years." I had some of the "funnest" experiences with this age group. When I was no longer the "young, fun teacher," I taught in an elementary school setting before sixth graders went on to junior high, teaching language arts blocs, an assignment that was a "dream-fit" for me. After completing graduate school in my 40s, I went on to community college, then university teaching. Just as teaching is "in my blood," so is a passion for reading, writing, libraries, and everything bookish. This blog will be open to anyone who loves books, promotes literacy and wants to "come out and play."

10 thoughts on “MIDNIGHT AT THE BRIGHT IDEAS BOOKSTORE by Matthew Sullivan: A Review”

    1. It had some elements of both a cozy mystery and mystery for sure. The bookstore setting made it seem like a cozy, but in my mind a cozy has a victim who is someone you “love to hate.” Also, this one was more sophisticated than many cozy mysteries. There was a bit of romance, but not the usual found in a cozy. I was wondering how I came to be aware of the book. You must have reviewed it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am doing great. I am eating healthy, engaging in some kind of activity pretty much every day and doing a lot of reading. Now, my house is not doing as well. It needs a good cleaning, but that, I am not a big fan of doing. Maybe I should find a person to clean it for me. 🤔🤔

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I did just that (find a person to clean it for me). She comes once a month to do the mopping, vacuuming, etc. which my back problems prevent me from doing, and I find I can keep up during the rest of the time. Do it for yourself–you deserve it!

    Like

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