John Grisham forgoes his trademark courtroom drama for a multi-layered caper story, which isn’t much of a thriller or mystery, but is entertaining nonetheless. His latest is a lightweight page-turner, hardly vintage, but ensures a few hours of escapism.
Camino Island opens with a heist strangely lacking in suspense, but high in stakes. The prize? The five manuscripts of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s only novels, valued at $25 million, under lock-and-key in a high-security vault located deep beneath Princeton University. But there’s no such thing as the perfect crime, and this gang of five made mistakes, which result in a couple of arrests. Despite pressure from the FBI’s Rare Asset Recovery unit, the remaining thieves vanish without a trace, and for a time, their investigation stalls, until a man on their watch list – an infamous bookseller on Camino Island named Bruce Kable – comes to their attention. More specifically, his collection of rare manuscripts. Determined to employ a mole to get close to Kable and assess his possible criminality, Mercer Mann, a struggling writer burdened by debts – and coincidentally, a former frequent-traveller to Camino Island – is somewhat reluctantly pulled into the fold.
Grisham’s unravelling of this cat-and-mouse tale is rather perfunctory, if not overwhelmingly sedate. Camino Island is never boring; it just never threatens to get your pulse pounding. The manner in which Grisham ties his various plot threads is impressive, and showcases his skillful plotting, but is stylistically bland. It’s a fine thriller, just not a sparkling one, to be read and enjoyed, then shelved and forgotten.
Format: Paperback (234mm x 153mm x mm)
Imprint: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General Division
Publish Date: 6-Jun-2017
Country of Publication: United Kingdom