Camino Island

Camino Island

Book - 2017
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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, New York : Doubleday, ©2017.
ISBN: 9780385543026
9781524797157
Characteristics: 290 pages ;,24 cm.

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t
TobyD
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.

c
cambridgedon
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.

d
DorisWaggoner
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 Ancestry.com 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.

t
talk2terih
Aug 09, 2018

If Grisham had written Camino Island under a pseudonym, I probably would have found it a mildly enjoyable, lightweight, tale that gives the book industry outsider a glimpse behind the scene. As a long-time bookstore manager, I can attest to the accuracy of much of what Grisham writes about authors and their interactions with each other and with the people who sell their books. That accuracy is the strength of this book.

But this is Grisham, and so much more is expected. Having just read The Rooster Bar, which I thoroughly disliked, I will say that Camino Island was much more enjoyable, for me at least.

m
Memawrayne
Jul 25, 2018

It has been years since I have read one of his books. I didn't enjoy it as much and thought it was the author's fault or maybe the reader's fault (age). It seems others weren't as impressed so I haven't lost my mind.

m
MikeHanafin
Jul 20, 2018

Just okay--not one of his usual "can't put down" books. But certainly not his worst (that would be "Skipping Christmas" ...couldn't finish it). 290 pages so a relatively quick read. And almost no lawyers! A NYT book critic put it best: "Grisham takes a vacation from writing Grisham novels"

This is the latest John Grisham novel - but I didn't find it nearly as interesting as his earlier novels - such as The Firm or The Runaway Jury.

plymc_lindsAy Jun 26, 2018

First book I've ever read of Grisham's. I think he has a new fan. I really enjoyed this one.

2
20hallben
Apr 29, 2018

He's getting worse with his newer writings

ontherideau Mar 20, 2018

This is cozy crime. Literary commentary amongst the characters who are writers interested me more than the actual crime. The resolution sort of slid into a puddle with little splash.

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j
jimg2000
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.”
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I learned with my first novel that writing books is far easier than selling them.
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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.

j
jimg2000
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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