Clay Jannon is an out-of-work graphic designer. Desperate for a job, he wanders into a bookstore with a Help Wanted sign - and into a very strange plot. Most of the customers of Mr. Penumbra's store aren't there to buy the few popular books on the front shelves; they're there to borrow from an extensive collection in the back of the store, where the books are full of random and seemingly meaningless codes. But when Clay's friends - an abstract artist and an up-and-coming software designer - take a look at the books, they suspect something more interesting is going on. Because Mr. Penumbra's store might just be the key to humanity's biggest question: What is the secret to immortality?
Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore is a quirky adventure that combines two conflicting impulses facing readers in the modern world: the love of old books and the pull of new technology. Clay and his friends chase down a mystery that takes them through collections of dusty old tomes, favorite childhood novels, the gleaming offices of Google, and computer networks that stretch worldwide. It's a light, fast-paced story for anyone who's curled up with a cup of tea and a well-worn paperback with their computer glowing in the background. - Michelle (Sunset)