Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
by Robin Spencer
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012. 288 pgs. Fiction.
Clay Jannon is not much of a paper pusher. In fact, he is so connected electronically that before he gets a job as the night clerk at Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore he rarely has any reason to touch paper. All that changes when he loses his job as a web designer for NewBagel and is hired on by Mr. Penumbra, mostly to scale the very tall sliding ladder that reaches the tops of the shelves in the back of the bookstore and retrieve books for the late-night clients. Penumbra's clients are not really customers. They rarely buy a book, but check them out instead on special card issued to members of what Clay later discovers is a secret society seeking the secrets of immortality. Three unusual characteristics set this book apart: print and paper types and computer geeks work hand-in-glove to solve the mystery; there is no swearing in this book (and, yes, it was published in the 21st century); and finally, the cover of the book glows in the dark. What's not to like?