The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco Web-design drone—and serendipity, sheer curiosity, and the ability to climb a ladder like a monkey has landed him a new gig working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after just a few days on the job, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few customers, but they come in repeatedly and never seem to actually buy anything, instead “checking out” impossibly obscure volumes from strange corners of the store, all according to some elaborate, long-standing arrangement with the gnomic Mr. Penumbra. The store must be a front for something larger, Clay concludes, and soon he’s embarked on a complex analysis of the customers’ behavior and roped his friends into helping to figure out just what’s going on. But once they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, it turns out the secrets extend far outside the walls of the bookstore.
This is Robin Sloan’s first full length novel, and if you are a book lover, or you love to hang out in bookstores and/or libraries, this book is for you. Also, if you are a techie and/or Google lover, you will love this book.
The story is full of mystery and intrigue and fascinating characters. I found myself having a hard time putting the book down. This is a very unique story and it connects libraries and bookstores with current technology, as well as revealing some interesting historical facts about publishing.
Mr. Sloan wrote great descriptions that brought the places and the characters to life. I never felt the story dragging nor did I ever feel lost.
I thoroughly enjoyed the story because I liked the characters and wanted to see them solve the mystery. I also love history and enjoyed learning the history of a typing font. The story was filled with fascinating things both history as well as some futuristic ideas. I look forward to reading more from Robin Sloan.