Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore. Matthew Sullivan

3 stars for this debut novel of Matthew J Sullivan. It was an interesting read with a good plot and I look forward to reading more by this author.

I felt that I was stuck on the surface for most of this novel: especially in terms of characterisation, I felt that the age-old writing advice to ‘show, don’t tell’ was reversed – we were told various facts about Lydia and the other characters but we were not really *shown* much more about them. One character in particular was unsatisfying because no plausible reason was given for their keeping silent on a hugely important part of the story, or how they lived with that silence. Hopefully future characters will be more fully drawn. However, some of the writing about childhood and childhood friendships was written beautifully and authentically.

This book was a competent mystery/thriller but, for me, it was less successful where it read as more general or ‘literary’ fiction dealing with a bookstore milieu, perhaps because of patchy characterisation.

Having made these criticisms, I did enjoy this novel and I felt it showed promise.

I received this book free from NetGalley. It was published by William Heinemann in hardback in the UK on 24 August 2017.


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