Book Review: Camino Island by John Grisham

Camino Island
Title: Camino Island
Author: John Grisham
Publisher: Doubleday
Release Date: June 6, 2017
Pages: 290
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library/Overdrive
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction

A gang of thieves stage a daring heist from a secure vault deep below Princeton University’s Firestone Library. Their loot is priceless, but Princeton has insured it for twenty-five million dollars. Bruce Cable owns a popular bookstore in the sleepy resort town of Santa Rosa on Camino Island in Florida. He makes his real money, though, as a prominent dealer in rare books. Very few people know that he occasionally dabbles in the black market of stolen books and manuscripts. Mercer Mann is a young novelist with a severe case of writer’s block who has recently been laid off from her teaching position. She is approached by an elegant, mysterious woman working for an even more mysterious company. A generous offer of money convinces Mercer to go undercover and infiltrate Bruce Cable’s circle of literary friends, ideally getting close enough to him to learn his secrets. But eventually Mercer learns far too much, and there’s trouble in paradise as only John Grisham can deliver it.
John Grisham deviates from his usual legal suspense thriller and presents us with this highly entertaining story about a heist that just happens to involve stolen F. Scott Fitzgerald manuscripts. To be honest, and I've reviewed his books before, there isn't a Grisham book I haven't liked. Some weren't particular favorites but this one was special for a couple of reasons.

Although the premise of this story promises something more like a suspense thriller, it really isn't one. Yes there is a heist, and there is Mercer Mann, a woman who fits the perfect bill to act as a cover to possibly bust the people behind the heist, but aside from the heist itself, the story really settles in and gets comfortable on Camino Island, a sleepy island off the coast of Jacksonville, where authors abound and gossip is cheap.

And if you love studying up on books and authors (and how they lived their scandalous, and not so scandalous lives), this book is particularly for you. There is nothing I can really add that hasn't already been written about John Grisham, an author with a particularly interesting background as well because as the story goes, he was rejected by dozens of publishers with A Time to Kill -- but this story was so unexpected in the best possible way.

The unrelenting pacing, and characters possessing an abundance of charm, including the unique angle of a story involving books and an underground criminal world makes this a perfect summer read. And for added bonus, even if it isn't your preference, try this one on audio (as I did) because Grisham's southern style of prose shines through and is brilliantly read by January LaVoy.


  1. It's been too long since I've picked up one of his books. This sounds good!


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