Camino Island by John Grisham
This is not a legal thriller, as many of Mr. Grisham’s books are. The publisher is calling it a “heist thriller”, but I would say that it is a mystery with caper elements – and that’s a compliment, because I love caper books.
Five men steal priceless F. Scott Fitzgerald manuscripts from Princeton University. Two are caught immediately but refuse to talk. One escapes to Europe. One dies. And one (the ringleader) is in the wind with the manuscripts.
The insurance company that has insured the manuscripts for 25 million dollars gets a tip on a bookstore owner on Camino Island who might have the manuscripts and goes looking for someone to infiltrate his inner circle. They find Mercer Mann, a young woman who has written one well received novel but has spent the past several years teaching (and getting no work done on her next novel) because she has a mountain of student loan debt. Mercer spent every summer at her grandmother’s house on Camino Island when she was growing up, and now her grandmother is dead and Mercer and her aunt and cousins own the house. Initially reluctant, Mercer is convinced to help the insurance company when they offer to pay off her student loans and also pay her a cool $100,000.
The bookstore owner, Bruce Cable, turns out to be incredibly charming and the community of writers on Camino Island welcome Mercer and make her feel at home. She has a terrific summer playing cat and mouse with Bruce – and, well, do the manuscripts eventually find their way back to Princeton? That is the question.
I liked this book a lot.
Camino Island by John Grisham, Doubleday Publishing, June 2017, 306 pages.
Full disclosure – library book