Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Book: “Camino Island” by John Grisham

The passion for books and writing, a grand theft of rare manuscripts, a forgotten novelist turned spy and characters as vivid as real-life people all combine in John Grisham’s new novel “Camino Island”. Set on the shores of a summer resort off the Florida coast, Grisham’s plot weaves a tight, page-turning story of intrigue and what-happens-next that I found irresistible. His characters are well flushed out as is his introductions to them amidst the storyline.

Four thieves, working in conjunction with a hacker, plan and execute the theft of the century…five original hand-written manuscripts of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novels, The Great Gatsby being one of them. Callousness leads to a few of them being caught while the remaining thieves, through a series of connections, sell the priceless treasure to middle-men and rare book collectors. Enter Bruce Cable, earnest, hard-working owner of Bay Books on Camino Island whose passion for rare and collectible first editions is as headstrong as his passion (and jealousy) of writers and their talents. Does he or does he not have the stolen manuscripts? That’s Mercer Mann’s mission to discover. A published novelist whose last work gained her accolades seven years prior, Mercer is now an about-to-be-fired literature professor with a mountain of student debt. That’s when an offer too-good-to-refuse comes her way and sets her not only on a direct collision with Cable, but a confrontation with her past….all on Camino Island.

Like other Grisham novels, “Camino Island” is a great read, full of suspense, even humor. Grisham knows how to tell a story well, quite well actually, and does so with a good command of character development which I appreciated. I also found the writers’ encounters particularly humorous and Cable’s “notes” about what and how to write quite amusing.  I found myself jealous of Cable – his life, his being able to afford the luxury to do nothing but read all day, every day – and of the life that Grisham paints on Camino Island….relaxful, worry-less, sun and sand.  It’s a great book to start the summer reading campaign.