Lockdown reads – Camino Island

Lockdown Reads  – John Grisham – Camino Island

I wish I’d had a moment to race around the library, in those moments before lockdown, and scoop dozens of books from the shelves. I would have been like one of those people who win the supermarket or hardware store “Ten Minute Trolley Grab” or whatever they call those things. Manic and desperate.

Fortunately, I do have a “to-read” shelf of books here at home, so I have some reading material. There are too many books on that shelf.

As a side note, two or three years back, I made a conscious decision to read through those books. Years of having thirty or so books waiting to be read seems like something therapists might consider worthy of long conversations about my missing pieces.

Despite that intention (to read through them) the number of books on the shelf has not shrunk. As I’ve read the books and put them aside, new volumes have taken their place.

I suppose the therapist might call this “magpie behaviour”. I have a friend who lumps it in with the “Ooooh, shiny!” category (which I guess amount to the same thing).

I am told that is something many people share.

Lockdown, however, is keeping me from purchasing replacement shelf-filler, and having me read some of these books.

One that sat for a while was John Grisham’s Camino Island. This came out in 2017, though I’m pretty sure I only bought it last year. Maybe the year before.

Grisham is known for his legal thrillers. You know the kind of thing, a junior lawyer finds herself confronted by the borderline policies of the firm and takes on a case that challenges plenty of moral scruples and she ends up going in to bat for the underdog.

Camino Island is something different. It’s about rare books and theft and double-crossing and a fabulous island, with barely a lawyer, courtroom or judge in sight.

On the back it has the text; “Just when you think you know Grisham, he surprises you”. I guess that’s meant as a warning for those expecting a legal thriller.

The writing is pacey, the story engaging and the characters lively, complex and likeable. Likeable for the most part.

The City Library does have copies, in regular print, in large print and as an audiobook.

There’s a sequel too, Camino Winds, set in the same location, with some of the same characters. The library also has copies of that.

There are numerous other Grisham books which steer away from the legal thriller too, Skipping Christmas, Playing for Pizza, Bleachers, and available through the library (those last two as ebooks, so, assuming they’re not out on loan, they’re available during lockdown).

By Sean Monaghan