A puzzle of a debut set in Denver bookstore and written by a former Tattered Cover bookseller.
Matthew Sullivan's debut novel is one fantastic mystery. This author is no stranger to writing and has won awards for his short stories. This book is one you'll become totally engrossed in because of the great characters and 'twisty' plot. Lydia Smith, a bookseller at the Bright Ideas Bookstore, finds one of her customers dead in the upstairs of the store. But, how does Joey's death connect to her--past and present? Elly Griffiths, one of my favourite mystery authors has this to say about this title: "This book ticked all the boxes for me: an engaging heroine, an intriguing premise, interesting characters, and a plot that involved books, readers, and the very darkest human passions. A fantastic, assured debut." I couldn't agree more.
A bit over written and his editor should be ashamed of some of her choices, but for a first book, it was pretty good. It is nice that it is a stand alone story and not just part one of series.
An enjoyable read.
Strengths? The setting(s) are deliciously bookish, and never pretentious. Lots of evocative descriptions of downtown Denver. Generally speaking, the plot is well thought out and surprisingly fresh.
Weaknesses? The protagonist and a couple of the other characters were, for me, not fully developed, with the exception of the dad. The ending was a bit specious.
This debut mystery thriller starts off abruptly with a midnight suicide on the third floor of the Bright Ideas Bookstore. In the pocket of the dead man (one of the Bookfrogs who frequently found refuge in the store) was a photo of Lydia -- the bookstore employee who discovers him -- and two friends at her 10th birthday party. As the story continues there are dark secrets revealed in some well-crafted plot twists. It was an engaging story with most if not all of the loose ends tied up by the end of the monologue.
I found Lydia to be an appealing and sympathetic heroine and would love to see more books about her and her bookstore. There are many supporting characters that we could get to know better as well. This is not a cozy mystery -- definitely a thriller with at least one foot on the dark side.
Lydia has her life in order: she works as a bookseller in Denver; she has a boyfriend; she does not think about a night when she was 10 that changed her life forever. And then she finds Joey, one of the bookstore regulars, who has hanged himself. Joey has left her his few belongings, including a crate of books with little bits cut out that form a message for her. As Lydia tracks down other messages and clues, she's be drawn back into her past and the way it irrevocably interacts with her present. I found this to be a great read. Sullivan evokes Denver of the 1990s, a city in transition as new buildings pushed out the dark corners. He also effortlessly weaves together the stories of Lydia's childhood and the present, teasing out details that make you keep turning the pages.
Really enjoyed this debut novel about a book store, a library, and a number of characters who are involved in various mysterious plots. Twist and turns and intrigue. However the author does a good job of bringing everyone together in the end when all the mysteries are solved.
Very interesting - and will look for another book by this author. Quick pleasant read.
Enjoyed this book like all the twist and turns. I really enjoyed it being set in and around Denver. I like that the author used of a books and a library since this is a part of this book.
I love books and the library is one of my favorite places to go. Hope to see more by this author in the future.
While not a perfect book, this was an enjoyable read and I look forward to more from this author. A twisty, turn-y tale of secrets from the past coming back to haunt. If you enjoy mysteries wrapped in enigmas, this should be right up your alley. I'll have a little more to say about this book and mysteries in general on my blog.
I enjoyed this story and all it's twists and turns. I hope the author writes more. The Bright Ideas Bookstore could be a fabulous back drop to a lot of mysteries.
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