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Camino Island: A Novel by John Grisham

Camino IslandReviewed by Allen HottCamino Island is a very interesting story by one of the top story tellers of the day. John Grisham writes about law in some fashion or another but the real fashion of his writing is just plain good writing. He gets your interest and keeps it throughout by using great description, good dialogue, and little if any sex or profanity.

Five bad guys steal some priceless original F. Scott Fitzgerald manuscripts from Princeton University. The originals are worth many, many big bucks and these five not only carry off the crime but know who and where to put the manuscripts to keep them safe for a period but also to make their value go even higher.

However they, like most criminals, are not perfect and make several big mistakes which cause them big problems. But they have done the job well enough that no one knows where the papers are so that is in their favor.

The Camino Island location however comes into focus when Mercer Mann, a young published author, goes there to revisit her grandmother’s home where Mercer spent many summer months. Her plan is to get away from her teaching job and get back into full time writing so she can finish another book or two. Camino Island is perfect for her as she is familiar with it, its beaches, and the surrounding area.

She also is familiar with the local book store but not with the current owner. She did have the opportunity to have her last book (which became a big seller) presented there but she did not appear for the festivities so she never met the new owner.

That owner, Bruce Cable, has done a great job in building not only the book store but has helped many new writers by having them come and do a meet and greet while signing their newest book. He is seemingly married to the owner of a fancy shop that is next to the bookstore and features high-priced antique items. How Grisham brings all of that into play is interesting.

One day while walking the beach Mercer is approached by a personable well-spoken woman who quickly gets Mercer’s attention. The reason for the excited response by Mercer is that she is being offered a very high paying job to do some “spy” type work for the woman and her backers. Mercer is really keyed up for the employment because she still has some heavy academic loans to pay off.

Plus the work appears to be right up her alley as it is to be done on Camino Island and it involves becoming very familiar with, and actually joining in with, the book store owner and his crowd of writers.

The deeper into the situation Mercer gets she becomes very torn between two ideals. How she responds is a Grisham specialty as he builds the story into a truly interesting read. Without going into detail I can tell you that “all’s well that ends well”. Read it and find out for yourself!

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