Review by Lajpat Ray Chandani
Edited by Vipul Murarka
Every time I read a book by John Grisham, I am consistently reminded of what a great storyteller he is. His style is compact, direct and to the point, and pulls you into the book immediately. I wasn’t 10 pages into his new book “Camino Island” and I knew that I would be spending most of the day focused on reading it. The good news is that it was worth it.
Rather than focusing on lawyers, it takes aim at the world of bookstores, publishing, and writers. It begins with a skilful heist of five John F. Fitzgerald manuscripts from a secure vault below Princeton’s Firestone Library. The manuscripts end up in a secondary black market and a young female writer, Mercer Mann, is hired to go undercover and investigate a popular independent bookstore owner and prominent dealer in rare books who is thought to have or know who is in possession of the manuscripts.
Using a background that is second nature to Grisham works well and provides interesting titbits and name dropping throughout the book. The plot develops fast and flows well. His prose is easy to read and take in as the pages meld together in character driven adventure that captures your attention. Even though this book is one of his shorter ones (just under 300 pages), it is well worth the time.
Overall, Grisham knows how to tell a story that readers enjoy. I especially appreciated his respectful name dropping of Stephen King, support for independent bookstores, a nice small shot at Amazon. The question I ask myself is if I have ever really read a bad Grisham book? Although some are better than others, the answer is no. All of them have been good, better, or best. If you’re honest, you are probably nodding your head right now. “Camino Island” is one of the better ones. Just try it.