Clay Jannon is an unemployed web designer who has taken a job as a clerk at Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore in San Francisco. After a few days of working, however, Clay realizes that this is not a normal bookstore. The same handful of customers comes in to the store regularly, but they never buy anything. Instead, they simply check out impossibly obscure volumes written in incomprehensible code. Clay embarks on an adventure to try and determine exactly what is going on at Mr. Penumbra's. With the help of some techie friends, Clay attempts to unravel the mystery of a bookstore whose secrets extend far into the reaches of the universe. It's a true literary adventure, with an ancient mystery and modern computer programming wizards to decipher clues. Part mystery, part fantasy, and pure fun, this book reminds me of the magic of bookstores: "the right book exactly, at exactly the right time."
After a layoff during the Great Recession sidelines his tech career, Clay Jannon takes a job at the titular bookstore in San Francisco, and soon realizes that the establishment is a facade for a strange secret. Reprint.