Book Review: Camino Island by Grisham

Camino Island by John Grisham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The wildest thing about this John Grisham book is that it’s not about lawyers. Our man John instead focuses on writers, books, heists, and French furntiure. It’s a welcome and pleasant departure for the reader as much as I’m sure it is for Grisham. It’s a fun little novel that would probably make a nice little Netflix limited run series. Or Paramount+, mayhaps. If you like fun but relaxing beach reads with a little bit of danger and sexiness – here you go.

Mercer is a middling author stuck teaching English as an adjunct. When her adjunct contract isn’t renewed, she hits a new low point. What’s next? Finally get back to writing – find another teaching job – something else? Before Mercer can make a decision one is made for her. The myterious disappearance of several Fitzgerald manuscripts from Princeton’s library means that the feds and insurers for the ultra-rich need an inside (wo)man to infiltrate the world of shady black market book deals. Mercer is thrown fistfuls of money to take on that role, and then she’s thrown onto the shores of a lazy southeastern beachtown called Camino Island. As Mercer ingratiates herself into the local writer community, she becomes torn between making real friends and making real money.

The mystery itself is fine, but the book is most interesting when Camino Island’s little writing community is talking about the woes of writing, their love for books, and how annoying it is that romance sells so well. I’m not a Grisham expert, but I’m not sure if he’s written so much before about the quirks and frustrations and anxieties of writing. January Lavoy reads the audiobook and her excellent southern accent for Mercer reminded me a lot of young Andie McDowell. So if you like beaches, writerly nerouses, or Andie McDowell – this is one you can reserve at the library!

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