Author: John Grisham
Published Date: June 6, 2017
Hardcover: 304 pages
My Star Rating: 5
To purchase: Camino Island
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 loved this book! I’m a John Grisham fan, so I’ve read a good number of his books. This one was particularly appealing to me because it is a departure from his usual legal thriller, and revolves around a heist, rare books, an independent bookstore, authors, and artists. It is a land mine of goodies for a bibliophile.
The opening scene is like a scene from The Thomas Crown Affair. The heist is the original hand written manuscripts of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s five novels. I loved the setting, which is a sleepy beach town filled with an array of interesting characters. I loved the pacing of the book – it kept me interested the whole time. I loved the organization of the book, with each long chapter in the beginning introducing us to The Heist, The Dealer (the independent book store owner), The Recuit (the woman hired to go undercover), and so on. Character development was so good that I found myself sympathizing with the good guys and the bad guys, and I wasn’t sure how Grisham was going to resolve this dilemma and keep the reader satisfied. I need not have worried though, for I was in the hands of a master storyteller!
John Grisham is touring this summer for the first time in 25 years, and there is a podcast series on iTunes called “Book Tour with John Grisham”. If you want to be a fly on the wall as he tours the county, this is your chance. There promises to be lively discussions with Grisham, as well as other authors on the tour.