Camino Island by John Grisham

Camino Island by John Grisham
Publisher: Doubleday
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full Length (304 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

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.

Steal the F Scott Fitzgerald manuscripts? The heck you say… But maybe it can be done.

I’ve mentioned I’m a sucker for a Grisham book. I usually race through the books and can’t wait to see what happens next. This book was no exception. The more I read Grisham, the more I get mildly irritated with the occasional head-hopping, but I’ve learned to deal with it.

Mercer is a struggling author. She hit the semi-big time once and can’t produce another work. It happens. Ask most authors and they’re struggling. She was a believable character. I didn’t agree with all of her decisions, but she had to make them, not me. She gets in over her head and needs a way out…oh and a chance to write. I could identify with her desire.

Then there are the missing manuscripts. Holy moly. Imagine stealing the F Scott Fitzgerald original manuscripts… I can’t. But it happened. I can’t begin to fathom these being taken, then the school opting to pay the thieves blows my mind. I wonder if that really happens. Seems like it wouldn’t, but I don’t know. If they want the priceless piece back that much…it could happen.

Although I liked the book, some of the characterizations were odd. The women writing romance…they felt a tad stereotyped and that done badly. That said, I could see them. The woman who wrote the vampire books… gee wonder who the reference was? Haha. But again, the author made her seem ditzy and almost unrealistic. I don’t know if the romance crowd is that voracious for ‘garbage’ as it was called, but I can see the glut of ‘books’ that maybe aren’t quite ready for publication being rushed through because someone believes they can and will make a buck from them.

That said, the mystery wasn’t as tough to figure out as I’d hoped. Still, I raced through this book and wanted to know what would happen to Mercer. I liked reading about her grandmother, Tessa, and wanted to see how things would shake out on Camino Island.

If you’re looking for a book with intrigue, excitement, mystery and authors, then this might be the book for you.

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