I picked up this novel at Blackwells in London. It was part of a wonderful display that could almost have been put together just for me – books about books.
And what a funny, page-flipping, enjoyable read this turned out to be.
Set in San Francisco, redundant web designer Clay Jannon finds himself night shift work in the curious Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. It doesn’t take long for him to work out that the store is a front for some larger operation as it only has a handful of dedicated customers who never buy anything. They simply borrow huge, heavy obscure volumes all according to a bizarre arrangement with the likeable yet eccentric owner, Mr Penumbra.
Suspicions aroused, Clay plugs in his laptop and ropes his friends (including Google genius Kat) into embarking on a high-tech analysis of the store and the strange behaviour of its customers. Soon they find themselves mixed up in a global cult with ancient secrets, codes and conspiracies. And then Mr Penumbra mysteriously disappears. Continue reading