Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore” as Want to Read:
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  27,939 ratings  ·  4,812 reviews
When a bookshop patron commits suicide, his favorite store clerk must unravel the puzzle he left behind. 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’ ...more
Hardcover, 328 pages
Published June 13th 2017 by Scribner
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This question contains spoilers... (view spoiler)
Betsy Whitehead I too felt bad for David. In fact, I felt poor David should have just been left out of the story altogether. He didn’t add anything to the plot.
Lisa Wright This is NOT a cozy. The backstory which the main character tries hard to keep hidden is gruesome. I really liked the story a lot, but, given the title…moreThis is NOT a cozy. The backstory which the main character tries hard to keep hidden is gruesome. I really liked the story a lot, but, given the title, I was surprised to find it was so dark.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  27,939 ratings  ·  4,812 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore
Chelsea Humphrey
May 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommended to Chelsea by: Larry H
Have you ever been scouring Goodreads and notice a particular book continues to pop up on your feed? Maybe it starts slowly, just a glance here or there, but then turns into a full blown case of THE book everyone has just finished reading. That’s what happened to me with Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore. In an attempt to be a good girl and show some restraint of my NetGalley clicking finger, I had passed early on and immediately regretted it. Miracles do happen and I received a second chan ...more
This is a moving, multilayered, imaginative, brilliant, literary mystery novel set amidst the background of a bookstore, book lovers and books, set in Denver, Colorado. The compassionate and sensitive Lydia is a book clerk at the Bright Ideas Bookstore inhabited by her beloved bookfrogs. One night, one of her favourite bookfrogs, Joey, hangs himself in the history section. A shell shocked Lydia is bewildered when she finds a photograph of a birthday party when she was 10 years old with her frien ...more
Jennifer Masterson
5 Unexpectedly Wonderful Stars! I absolutely loved this little gem of a novel! I listened to the audio. The narrator didn't grab me at first but the story did and within a half hour of audio I was hooked! This novel is tough to describe because it's unlike anything I've ever read. I never expected this book to have so much dark to it and take so many unexpected twists! Suicide, murder, books and so much more! Wow! Just wow!

The characters in this novel were very well developed and fleshed out! I
Larry H
May 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I'd rate this 4.5 stars. Nearly 5.

How do you select the books you're going to read? Oftentimes I'm drawn to books written by authors I love (and sometimes I decide to give an author another shot), and other times I choose books and/or authors which have been hyped or those about which I've heard good feedback. And then sometimes, it's something intangible, like the cover design catches my eye, so it leads me to read the description, and I'm hooked.

This is the crazy way my mind worked when I deci
Aug 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan is a Scribner publication.

Ingenious! This book was everything I hoped it would be!

This book starts off on a shocking note, with the suicide death of Joey Molina. Joey hung himself right there in the Bright Ideas Bookstore and poor Lydia was the one who discovered his body.

For Lydia, Joey’s sudden death opens a Pandora’s box from her past. It all starts to unravel when her picture appears in the newspaper, and with the discovery she was
Feb 26, 2017 rated it liked it
3 out of 5 stars to Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore, a new mystery and thriller novel set to release on June 13, 2017, by author Matthew J. Sullivan.

Why This Book
For all us readers, who wouldn't love a book with such a title? And when you read the description, learning about a horrific murder from the past, a suicide in the present, and mysterious connections between all the characters, your intrigue and suspense spidey senses will climax. I found it on NetGalley and thought i
Apr 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
How do you turn the page on one horrific, mind-shattering experience that locks into your psyche like handcuffs on a wayward criminal?

Or in Lydia's case, make that two.......

Lydia Smith works as a dedicated clerk at the Bright Ideas Bookstore in Denver. And no one had any idea of what would await her in the upper level of the store that day. Lydia has her friendly BookFrogs who perch on chairs and seek out favorite niches within the shop on a daily basis. She loves the banter and the warmth of t
Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
4 stars! I enjoyed this unique and clever mystery revolving around a past crime which is slowly unraveled through clues within several books.

The main character, Lydia Smith, works at the Bright Ideas Bookstore. Lydia gets to know all of the ‘BookFrogs’, the regular customers whose loneliness is cured by daily visits to the bookstore where they often are lined up before the stores opening hour. I really liked Lydia’s character and all of her quirks. She has a tragic history that she hopes is left
Wow! Can I give this 6 stars please!?

This was the perfect book for a traveling sister read with my Canadian sisters Norma and Brenda!! We literally read the entire book together chapter by chapter chatting constantly! The author gave us so many paths to go down and yes, we ventured down each one trying to put the pieces of this mystery together. Loved every step of this journey.

There were so many moments I caught myself smiling, only to be brought to tears in the end. I am so sad it's finished!
Always Pouting
Aug 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Lydia works at a book store and can't help her soft spot for the BookFrogs, lonely or troubled regulars that spend most of their time at the bookshop, that hang out there. One BookFrog in particular named Joey becomes especially close to Lydia, and when Joey commits suicide in the shop, Lydia can't help but be affected. Lydia is the one who happens upon the body, and while there she finds a picture of herself as a young child in Joey's pocket. Lydia is taken aback by the discovery of the picture ...more
Mary Beth
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Lydia Smith is a clerk at the Bright Idea Book Store. She loves her books and the BookFrogs. Joey Molina is one of the book frogs.

One night Lydia finds Joey hanging in the air. A long strap was threaded over a ceiling beam and looped around his neck. Lydia was so upset, because Joey just committed suicide. Poking up from Joey's front pocket was a picture of her as a child. It was a birthday picture of her when she was ten years old. This haunted her from her past. It reminded her of a terrible
4.5 Stars! More than just your run-of-the-mill whodunit!

When I first laid eyes on this book-cover, I knew I had to read it, but the shocker of a beginning that leads to an even bigger....much more intense....shocker along the way turned this DEBUT into a downright page-turner for me.

Lydia is a first-rate bookseller and friend to ALL who enter The Bright Ideas Bookstore, but....she has a haunted past....and after the tragedy of a troubled friend, she is left with a saddened heart and baffling mys

Aug 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: us, mystery, netgalley

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Club is this summer new star of the bookish mystery genre. For a novel that was first published only two months ago it got a lot of fans on Goodreads. Although I was reluctant at first to follow the buzz, I am glad I did because it was a fun read perfect for my summer vacation.

The main reason why this novel is so popular is that it seems to be written specially to tingle every book lover’s pleasure receptors. First of all, the main character is a bookseller with
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I would have bypassed this one if not for some rave reviews. The cover - not all that attractive; the title, not all that luring. But, a story about a bookstore, about books and a suspicious suicide? Count me in for being intrigued.

Once I opened these pages and delved into the story it spun me into a world of death, secrets and deceit.

I will never look at a hammer the same way again.

A surprisingly refreshing read. 4⭐️
Amalia Gkavea
This book came highly recommended by dear Goodreads friends and the front cover was more than inviting. So, the time finally came for me to start reading during a week-long seaside vacation. It seemed to be the perfect spot for reading a literary thriller. Almost two weeks later, I'm writing this review. It took me so long to gather my thoughts, because I'm in the unpleasant position to say that this was a book I liked. Just that. And if I take all of my expectations into consideration, then sim ...more
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore is a beautifully sad, atmospheric mystery about the tragic events connected to a young man’s suicide.

The majority of the story is told through the POV of Lydia, a 30 year old bookseller who witnessed the horrific “Hammerman” murders when she was 10 years old. The murders went unsolved, and Lydia’s survival story turned her into her a national sensation.

Fast forward 20 years later, and Lydia has done all she can to bury the past...until Joey, one of the
May 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
This is a beautifully written book. It drew me in from the first few pages. “Their fighting felt like weather, like clouds had been trapped behind that swinging kitchen door and were presently rolling down from the ceiling”. OMG, I was entranced by writing like that. I wanted to highlight almost every other sentence, because they were like jewels on the page.

I can't believe this is a debut novel. It portrays itself as a mystery, but it's much more than that. Sullivan’s ability to describe chara
Cathrine ☯️
May 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: net-galley
I confess to requesting this because what bibliophile can resist a cover with colorful books on it and a title indicating that the pages will turn a story inside an indie bookstore that’s open till midnight.
I knew almost nothing going in and did not read the preliminary book notes. I was kind of expecting a cozy corner book shop tale with lovable, quirky characters and that is exactly what I did not get.
What I got was a decidedly un-cozy tale of suicide, mystery, murder, more mystery,
Brenda ~Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
Traveling Sisters Review by Brenda, Norma and Kaceey.

5 Shiny, Sparkling, and Bright stars from all of us!

When we first thought about reading Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore we wanted to read it with Kaceey and Lindsay, however, the timing was not on our side and we ended up only being able to read it with Kaceey. We really missed Lindsay on this one and wished it would've worked out for all of us.

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore is an intriguing, dark, clever, and one of the most
Susanne  Strong
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
4 Stars.

Lydia Smith loves books, she always has. She also loves her job at the Bright Ideas Bookstore in Denver. The BookFrogs who patron the store everyday make her job that much more special. You know who they are... the down and out men and women who love to hang out at the store, to sit amongst the books, and talk to the clerks and other patrons and just chill.

One of her favorite BookFrogs is Joey. During the time that she has worked at Bright Ideas, she has gotten to know him quite well - o
Diane S ☔
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another debut author who on this his first outing shows a considerable amount of talent. A suicide in a book store of a young man with a short but sorry past, a book clerk with a terrifying event in her ownpast, the return of a childhood friend, and a mystery to solve.

Hard to classify this one because it mixes many different elements of the mystery genre. It starts as a puzzle mystery involving books and then turns into an exploration of the past of both the young man and Lydia's past. It is wel
Kylie D
I was looking forward to this book with great anticipation, as friends had said good things about it, but it just didn't hit the mark for me. The characters were all unlikeable, and because of this I wasn't able to connect with any of them, and didn't really give a hoot with what happened. Having said that the plot was quite interesting, however when I finished the book I said to myself "thank goodness that's over." I will leave you to make up your own minds however, as others have rated it, but ...more
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This time around our full Traveling Sisters Review can be found on Brenda's Goodreads Review or on our Sister Blog. Traveling Sister Read with Brenda & Kaceey!

5 Shiny, Sparkling, and Bright Stars!  Well that was one impressive and great read!

When I first noticed this book on my Goodreads feed and seen that cover and read that awesome title, I just knew it was a book that I would have to read with my Traveling Sisters right away and what an enjoyable reading experience this was! Our discussion al
May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Matthew Sullivan’s debut novel begins in a place that probably all of us are familiar with: a bookstore. That haven from the outside world that offers us a way to bring some of that essence home with us to keep for our very own, and in the case of the Bright Ideas Bookstore in Denver, it offers a special sort of haven for Lydia’s BookFrogs, those patrons who come and settle in, read, on a daily basis. They’ve become part of the store’s ambiance.

And on this day, at the end of
Jun 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
A young man named Joey commits suicide in the upper level of The Bright Ideas Bookstore at midnight one evening. Lydia, one of the booksellers who works there is close to many of the "Bookfrogs" the ones who hang around the store and read. Joey has bequeathed Lydia his belongings, as he has no family, including a lot of books that have been cut up to leave messages to her.
This is really good, in part a mystery, a little suspense, but also a story of friendship, sacrifice, and it's an emotion
Aug 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: xx2017-completed
When Lydia was a child of 10 and her father was a Librarian, she witnessed an act so horrific and terrifying that her entire world was turned upside down. Her father moved them from Denver to a small town in the mountains where they could escape the media and try to put their lives back together. Lydia’s father ended up working in a prison, and Lydia grew up with her terrors never far from her side. A chasm grew between father and daughter. Lydia felt her father was keeping secrets from her and ...more
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a marvelous acquisition by Scribner (arguably one of the most prestigious imprints around) so I knew that I was in for a treat. Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore is a debut novel but it sure doesn't feel like it. Sullivan has the control of his material that you would expect from a much more mature author. This is a book about about books, booksellers and bookstore patrons which is something that Sullivan knows a great deal about being a former bookseller himself. It's also about a ...more
Diana | Book of Secrets
Poor Lydia, she's had a difficult life. As a child, she was the lone survivor of a murderer - the "Hammerman" - who was never caught. Estranged from her father, she now spends her days as a clerk in a Denver bookstore hiding from her past. When Joey, one of her favorite young patrons, kills himself in the bookstore, Lydia is shaken. Things get weirder when she finds out Joey has left his meager worldly possessions to her, and that they hold clues to why he committed suicide.

Quirky characters, a
Carol (Bookaria)
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
A mystery that begins with a death in a bookstore? Yes, please!

Lydia works at the Bright Ideas Bookstore in Denver. One day before closing the store she finds that Joey, one of the book patrons, has committed suicide in the back room, an event that saddened those who knew him. After Joey's death his possessions are given to Lydia who realizes that he left behind books with strange inscriptions in it. This is the beginning of the mystery as Lydia devotes herself to finding out more about the puz
Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Firstly, despite its cover and cheery title, this is not a cosy mystery. It is a real honest to goodness mystery with several deaths and some suspense filled moments. I did enjoy the setting though and sincerely wish there was a bookshop like that within driving distance of my house!
The author writes well - nice prose and some great characters especially Joey who really deserved a much better time of things! Lydia was a bit of a saint but she had her reasons. The story was well thought out and I
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Bookshop of Yesterdays
  • Eight Perfect Murders
  • The Midnight Library
  • The Sun Down Motel
  • Anxious People
  • Moonflower Murders (Susan Ryeland #2)
  • All the Devils Are Here (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #16)
  • One by One
  • Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts
  • Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore (Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, #1)
  • The Lost and Found Bookshop
  • The Lost Apothecary
  • The Secret, Book & Scone Society (Secret, Book, & Scone Society, #1)
  • The Bookish Life of Nina Hill
  • The Library of Lost and Found
  • Midnight at the Blackbird Café
  • The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
  • The Guest List
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Matthew Sullivan grew up in a family of eight children in suburban Denver, Colorado. He received his B.A. from the University of San Francisco, his M.F.A. from the University of Idaho. His writing has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and has won the Florida Review Editor's Prize and the Robert Olen Butler Fiction Prize. In addition to working for years at Tattered Cover Book Store in Denver a ...more

Articles featuring this book

Calling all bibliophiles! What better way to celebrate the joy of reading than with a book about, well, books? To create this list, we took...
225 likes · 61 comments
“Something’s wrong in the air, you know, when a book costs less than a bullet. Or a Coke. Values-wise.” 15 likes
“If you want to pay respects, by the way, he's at the zoo."
"At the zoo? As in the zoo?"
"Joey liked to walk the zoo on free days. I didn't know where else to put him. I thought about leaving him on a shelf upstairs, with Flannery or Fante or Rimbaud. But I figured there were rules against leaving bodies in here."
"So I put his ashes in a duffel bag and snipped a tiny hole in the bottom and walked the length of the zoo. But I didn't make the hole big enough so there were these tiny pieces left over in the bag. I shook them into the grass. But then all the geese thought he was bread crumbs and started charging me. Horrifying, Lydia, the way they gobbled him up. A frenzy. Joey would've abhorred all the attention.”
More quotes…