TITLE: Camino Island
AUTHOR: John Grisham
TRIGGER WARNING: none that I can think of
WHERE DID I RECEIVE THIS?: HachetteNZ sent this to me in exchange for an honest review!
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.
I had to admit, as soon as I read what this book was about ( A woman going undercover to find the lost manuscripts of F. Scott Fitzgerald ) I was SOLD. This is technically a thriller but feels much lighter and is a fast and entertaining read. This novel follows Mercer, a writer who had to turn to teaching to pay the bills who loses her job. A private investigation company finds her to be the perfect person to go undercover on Camino Island and infiltrate the writers world there. Bruce, the well known bookstore owner is suspected of having the manuscripts and as time goes on, Mercer gets closer and closer to the truth.
I have to admit, often in thriller novels I find that the ending is never very satisfying, that there’s always characters stories who weren’t wrapped up nicely, or that the plot devolved too quickly. But with this novel I felt like it was wrapped up well ans come the last page of the novel, I was happy with the ending and curious to imagine how the characters would move forward with their lives after the events that passed.
My favourite part of this novel was the world that was built, the location teeming with life & constantly revealing new tidbits. Camino Island is an island located in Florida where writers go to stay or live, and is home to the best independent bookstore in America. while the Island was an obvious holiday retreat the people who lived there on a permanent basis were like a mismatched family who squabbled but loved each other. Another big point of this book was the characters, they were well rounded and realistic, but especially in the case of the main character, Mercer, they didn’t just change their opinions to suit another person or the plot line, they we’re themselves.
The plot was slightly choppy in the sense that you were jumping back and forth between two different plot points, Mercer & Bruce on the Island, getting to know each other and the Thieves as they tried to relocated the manuscripts. I think it was rather well done for having two plot lines going at once, but it still was a bit jarring to jump back and forth.
Overall I didn’t give this book a high rating because it really was just quite average, but it was fun in that way you’d take a book for a holiday read and devour it in a day or two (and at 290 pages, that’s not hard to do) I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to fans of John Grisham or people who want a good book with a few twists and turns in it.
Until next time,