What is your first scary memory? For me, it was the horrible murder of a family by the hands of a stranger that took place in my hometown of Aurora, Colorado. I won’t go into the details – it would be a spoiler alert. But like me, author Matthew Sullivan remembers what every local child in the 1980s remembers about that night and asks themselves, “Could it happen to my family?”
I could never sleep downstairs in my house again.
In Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore, the debut author with a string of awards for his short stories, creates a fictional character who has a tie to the retelling of that infamous event. He handles the subject deftly – this is not a scary book by any stretch. But it is one that enchantingly juggles suspense, mystery, intrigue and a bit of romance with equal agility. All in the setting of an independent bookstore.
And, as lovers of books, don’t we all want to know what might happen after hours in a bookstore?
The story begins at midnight in the Bright Ideas Bookstore, where employee Lydia, who has a soft spot for the misfits who call the shop their second home, discovers the body of one particular “Book Frog” upstairs as she locks up. She is heartbroken at the loss of the young man who has remained aloof during his visits. But when she finds a note in his pocket that is meant for her – and references a dark secret from her childhood that she has worked hard to conceal – she sets out on a journey to uncover his connection to her and to revisit old haunts that awaken the ghosts of her past.
Will the revelation bring Lydia the peace she desperately longs for? Or are our secrets best kept buried?
You’ll have to read Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore to find out.
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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, and has been a resident writer at Yaddo, Centrum, and the Vermont Studio Center. His writing has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and other awards, 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 and at Brookline Booksmith in Boston, he has taught writing and literature at colleges in Boston, Idaho, and Poland, and currently teaches writing, literature, and film at Big Bend Community College in the high desert of Washington State. He is married to a librarian, Libby, and has two children, Milo and Lulu, and a scruffy dog named Ernie.