Camino Island

Camino Island

A Novel

Book - 2017 | 1st ed
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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.
Publisher: New York : Doubleday, 2017
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780385543026
Characteristics: 290 p. ; 24 cm


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Sep 28, 2020

A departure from his legal thrillers, this book takes on the rare book business. An enjoyable read with quirky characters, but don't bother with the sequel, Camino Winds.

Aug 10, 2020

Great story; not what I expected and I very much enjoyed it!

Jul 07, 2020

This is my first John Grisham novel so that may explain why my opinion differs from several of the earlier low rankings. I found that the action started at a high pitch in the first chapter; and then moved along at a brisk pace as the point-of-view switches between the amateur spy; the thieves; and the rare book fence. It's a made-for-movie script with scenes in Florida, France, and patrician Princeton, NJ. [Grisham must have received a Canada Council Grant as 'Canada' is mentioned three times in this crime thriller.] Grisham is a writer's writer in this novel as he describes the psychological trials of a struggling author; and offers tips on plot development and writing pitfalls.

Jun 26, 2020

For starters this is NOT the book for you if you’re looking for big actions and what not at the beginning as (atleast in my opinion) the book didn’t really get going until about 100 pages in. That being said, once it did get started I really enjoyed it! Fun characters and I was super happy there was an epilogue! I’m Really excited to read Camino winds!!

SPL_jennifer Apr 21, 2020

A great read from the start to the finish. An interesting departure from his other books, it was refreshing to read a book during quarantine that was not gruesome and gritty. Great plot and characters.

Sep 30, 2019

Haven't read Grisham for a while and this seemed to be a departure from his lawyer stories, I enjoyed it.

Mar 07, 2019

I was satisfied with the book. It's not great Grisham, which usually entails detailed courtroom drama or attorney hijinks, but it was a pleasant interlude of an afternoon and evening. It is an airport book, one you pick up on the way to somewhere else. In this somewhere else, I wish I had been physically in Camino Island, but no.

Grisham seems to be trying to renew an old maxim of mystery writers, that every author should try to shine a spotlight on a world that the reader has no knowledge of: poisons, locked room murders, how to use poisons, conmen and their cons, and in this case, Rare book thievery. As ever with Grisham, it's touch and go if the criminal gets away with it.

Sep 24, 2018

Another interesting premise for a story. Reads like headlines in a newspaper. I thought it was more like a rough draft or sketch for a book. I'd give it an incomplete for a grade.

Sep 14, 2018

Grisham seems to be heading downhill with these recent efforts. 'Camino Island' is even more disappointing than 'The Rooster Bar' as it is slower than molasses and drier than soda crackers. Grisham rips off a real-life university heist for his first chapter but the writing goes south from that point. Even the eventual and expected sex scene fizzles into nothingness. I had to prod myself to stay awake or pry myself away from more enjoyable things like a root canal to return to the novel.

Aug 18, 2018

I enjoyed this book, though it's not typical Grisham. It begins with an exciting, well planned heist of all 5 original manuscripts of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novels from the Princeton Library by a group of thieves. They might all have had time to get far away, if not for a single drop of blood left in the library vault. The FBI processes the DNA faster than will do yours or mine. This man and another are caught by the FBI within two days and languish in jail because they won't talk. The others, who, lucky for them, have the manuscripts, scatter, following Plan B. We then switch to less probable doings. Mercer, a young novelist with writer's block, a professor who's lost her job, is approached by a mysterious woman who offers a lot of money--and payment of her student loans--to spy on the top suspect for the receiver of the manuscripts. He's an independent bookseller who collects first editions, pretty women, and writers. The rest of the book becomes something of a satire, with, unfortunately, Mercer a fairly weak character to hang a Grisham book on. Still, a fun, quick read with lawyers only in the background. Even without a courtroom scene, this one will sell. It will probably make him a movie too.

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Sep 25, 2017

Only 9 quotes in goodreads. Here are a few more:

“I did manage to ditch my prologue, add quotation marks to my dialogue, take out the big words, and I would have cut some more but there’s not enough to cut.”
I learned with my first novel that writing books is far easier than selling them.
Writers are generally split into two camps: those who carefully outline their stories and know the ending before they begin, and those who refuse to do so upon the theory that once a character is created he or she will do something interesting.

Sep 25, 2017

Deep in the Left Bank of Paris, in the heart of the 6th arrondissement on Rue St.-Sulpice, Monsieur Gaston Chappelle ran a tidy little bookshop that had changed little in twenty-eight years. Such stores are scattered throughout the center of the city, each with a different specialty. Monsieur Chappelle’s was rare French, Spanish, and American novels of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Two doors down, a friend dealt only in ancient maps and atlases. Around the corner, another traded in old prints and letters written by historic figures.

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