Published by Random House Audio, Doubleday on June 6th 2017
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.
n#CaminoIsland #Princeton #StolenManuscript #FScottFitzgerald #RareBooks @JohnGrisham @justjanuary @PRHAudio
John Grisham is an author whose work I’ve always enjoyed because I like legal thrillers and he is primarily known for his legal thrillers. Camino Island is a bit of a departure for him, but one I found intriguing. Many of the characters in this book which centers around the theft of a valuable manuscript are in varying stages of being on the wrong side of the law, but there is never any great mystery for the reader or listener as to who the bad guys are. The mystery lies in whether or not any of them will get away with their various crimes. This is my first Grisham audiobook and I found that his writing style lends itself very well to the audio format. Camino Island also appealed to me because it’s about books and authors and in addition to the captivating story, I found it to be filled with interesting information about the world of books and booksellers. The story opens with a group of shady guys stealing some valuable old manuscripts from the Princeton University Firestone Library. Their plan seems well thought out initially, but quickly goes south because the old cliché about no honor among thieves is a cliché for a reason. Time goes by and a highly esteemed but unscrupulous bookseller winds up in possession of the manuscripts. The best part of the story revolves around the bookseller, Bruce Cable, and a down-on-her-luck author, Mercer Mann, who has been hired to get the goods on Mr. Cable. Bruce is such a likable character despite an obvious lack of integrity — or should I say he has integrity but on his own terms. How could Mercer resist his charms even though she is there to nail him? As Mercer becomes involved with the writing community on Camino Island, we meet even more interesting characters. What the storyline lacks in mystery and suspense is more than offset by the quality of the characters.
January LaVoy turns in an excellent performance. The dialogue and banter between the characters are the best things about the book and her voices for them are exceptionally good. I especially loved her interpretation of the irascible Myra Beckwith and her writing partner Leigh Trane.
Camino Island will certainly give listeners insight into the book business, the writing business, and maybe even into the book stealing business. Those who love Mr. Grisham’s legal thrillers may be disappointed in the story, but if you are a book lover, you will find it fascinating. I highly recommend it to those who like character-driven storylines. You may or may not like the conclusion if you are a stickler for making people pay for their crimes, but it is one I found satisfying.