Monday, February 17, 2014
Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
This is the story of Clay Jannon, a young man living in San Francisco who finds himself out of work. He stumbles across a "Help Wanted" sign and goes into Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore and gets a job on the spot. But when he is hired, he is told not to look into the books that are available there.
Soon after starting, Clay notices that strange things are happening in the bookstore. Regular customers come in (and he must record every detail of their visit in a log book) and borrow books, but they never purchase them. Even though he has been told not to, Clay decides to look at the books to see what is inside. He finds a series of symbols that don't make sense to him and stumbles across a secret society trying to crack the code.
Conveniently, his girlfriend works for Google and his roommate works for Industrial Light and Magic. Having these two at his disposal makes it easy for him to try to find out more information and even crack part of the code that takes some of the members decades to do on their own.
From here, it lost me a little. It was a little too convenient that he had people working for Google and ILM available to him. Also, the secret society part seemed like it was trying to be a bit Dan Brown-y. I don't like Dan Brown, so for me, that's not a good thing.
It was good, not great, but a fun, quick read.