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Camino Ghosts


Camino Ghosts

Most readers associate John Grisham with courtroom novels. Some of his best-known works have involved deep dives into the world of noble attorneys and the American justice system with all its flaws. But Grisham is not content to simply turn out legal-themed stories on a regular basis. His success allows him substantial latitude in the books he writes and the subjects he covers.

In 2017’s CAMINO ISLAND, Grisham introduced readers to the eponymous fictional island off the coast of Florida. In the small resort town of Santa Rosa, we met Bruce Cable, the owner of an independent bookstore and a dealer in rare books, and Mercer Mann, an author struggling to complete a second novel following the success of her debut. Three years later, Grisham gave us a follow-up, CAMINO WINDS, and now we can celebrate his third Camino release.

"CAMINO GHOSTS is a joyful adventure. The characters are well-known to Grisham fans, and the story will keep you turning the pages until the conclusion."

CAMINO GHOSTS begins on the beach at Camino Island, where Mercer and Thomas celebrate their wedding with close friends. Mercer, who is an important character in the series, is also a creative writing teacher at the University of Mississippi. In addition to allowing Grisham to promote his alma mater, Mercer’s work as a novelist affords him the opportunity to enlighten readers on how the publishing industry operates.

Mercer is planning to write and publish a book based on the lives of a group of Black Africans transported to America as slaves. Their travel to the South is interrupted by storms, and they end up on a small barrier island off the Florida coast known as Dark Isle. There they live secretly for centuries as free individuals until new storms eventually make it uninhabitable. Bruce hopes that Mercer can turn these events into a book. For the story to be told, Mercer must work with Lovely Jackson, an 80-year-old Black woman who is the last surviving heir of Dark Isle. It will not be an easy task.

The history of Dark Isle is mysterious. No one has populated it for centuries, and legends abound as to why. Many are convinced that the area is cursed, and that belief is encouraged when a land developer emerges with plans to build residences, a golf course and a casino on the island. But the situation become a little dicey when those sent to begin the development meet with death. To add to the mystery, there is one more Grisham ingredient for a great story: a lawsuit over who actually owns Dark Isle.

It's a typical Grisham novel. The bad guys have big plans, while the good guys hope to stop them. Along the way, Grisham shows his talent for poking fun at the foibles of publishing, as well as the legal system. It’s a gentle poking since both of these enterprises have provided him with a permanent and deserved position on bestseller lists.

CAMINO GHOSTS is a joyful adventure. The characters are well-known to Grisham fans, and the story will keep you turning the pages until the conclusion. It’s a great summer read from a gifted writer.

Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman on May 31, 2024

Camino Ghosts
by John Grisham

  • Publication Date: May 28, 2024
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday
  • ISBN-10: 0385545991
  • ISBN-13: 9780385545990