cover image Camino Island

Camino Island

John Grisham. Doubleday, $28.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-385-54302-6

The opening chapters detailing an elaborate scheme to steal five F. Scott Fitzgerald manuscripts from Princeton are the best part of this thriller from bestseller Grisham (The Whistler). A sophisticated gang pulls off the theft after faking a campus shooting that causes widespread panic. The university’s insurance company, liable for millions, reaches out to unemployed academic and struggling writer Mercer Mann, who has just lost her position at the University of North Carolina and is in desperate financial straits. Mercer grew up spending summers on Florida’s Camino Island, where Donna Watson, the shadowy insurance company representative, believes the stolen manuscripts are; she thinks they’re in the possession of Bruce Cable, who runs a successful independent bookstore there. Despite Mercer’s initial misgivings about functioning as a spy, she agrees to return to Camino Island and insinuate herself into its literary community as a precursor to gaining Bruce’s confidence—and determining whether he has the stolen goods. But after this promising setup, the plot follows predictable lines to a conclusion that genre fans have seen before. [em]Author tour. Agent: David Gernert, Gernert Company. (June) [/em]