Book Review: “Camino Island,” A Book About Nothing

Publication date:  June 2017Book

Short version:  Three skunks out of a possible four.

SeinfeldLong version:

Back in the 90s there was a TV sitcom called Seinfeld.  It became iconic, famous for being “a show about nothing.”  I’m going to rephrase that slogan for John Grisham’s Camino Island:

A Book About Nothing.Book About Nothing_01

In an earlier book review I noted that, since I was having issues with a New York Times best seller, rated at 4.5 stars on Amazon, that perhaps the problem with was me, not the book.

I’ll have to take that notion to the next level with Camino Island.  I didn’t like it, but 375,462,509 Amazon reviewers (OK, I’m exaggerating a bit) give it four stars.   And it’s been on the NY Times best seller list for many weeks.  Maybe years.

In fact, because the author is John Grisham, Camino Island was on the NY Times best seller list before it was published.  No, wait – before he even wrote it.

Book torn in halfSeriously.

So here’s my issue:  It’s half a book.  A chunk of it is missing.

I’m wondering if someone out there who read a different Grisham book and realized their version was also missing a chunk – could you send your version to me?  So I can read the whole story?

writer_03Camino Island has no plot.  No what-will-happen-next? tension.  And – sorry, Mr. Grisham – no blockbuster movie potential.  Unless someone hires a highly skilled screenplay writer and says, “Put some mystery into this.  And excitement.  And, oh, yeah – a plot.”

burglar_04 ReversedHere’s what that unfortunate screenwriter has to work with:

  1. Valuable manuscripts stolen by five guys – successful.
  2. Four of the five guys caught, one killed – not successful.
  3. Valuable manuscripts returned to owner.

And how about our female protagonist, writer Mercer Mann?  She, the book’s cover description promises, “learns far too much, and there’s trouble in paradise as only John Grisham can deliver it,”  Actually, she:woman bored_03

  1. Experiences writer’s block, loses her job, moves to Camino Island.
  2. Has sex.
  3. Leaves Camino Island, gets a  new job, starts writing again.


For $28.95 plus tax.  You Canadian readers, $38 plus tax.

But maybe I’m jumping the gun here.  Maybe Grisham, as we speak, is at work on Camino Island Too.  Or Son of Camino Island.  Or Revenge of Camino Island.

You know – the part with tension.  And excitement.

And, oh, yeah – a plot.plot_03

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