When Hurricane Leo threatens Florida’s Camino Island, the Governor is quick to issue an evacuation order. Most residents flee but a small group of diehards decide to ride it out. Amongst them is Bruce Cable, proprietor of Bay Books in downtown Santa Rosa.
The hurricane is devastating: homes and condos are levelled, hotels and storefronts ruined, streets flooded, and a dozen people are killed. One of the victims is Nelson Kerr, a friend of Bruce’s who wrote timely political thrillers. But evidence suggests that the storm wasn’t the cause of Nelson’s death – he had received several mysterious blows to the head.
Who would want Nelson dead? The local police are overwhelmed with the aftermath of the storm and in no condition to handle the case. Bruce begins to wonder if the shady characters in Nelson’s novels were more fact than fiction. And somewhere on Nelson’s computer is the manuscript of his new novel – could the key to the case be right there, in black and white? Bruce starts to look into it and what he finds between the lines is more shocking than any of Nelson’s plot twists – and far more dangerous.
Seeing the sequel to Camino Island out in paperback, I decided to grab it despite my friend Maxine’s brutally honest assessment about her reading of it – “it’s shit” – when it first came out in hardback. This almost stopped me but curiosity is a powerful thing and I had just been paid.
It’s hard not to agree with Maxine’s assessment of the novel, and I won’t even bother trying. It was a big letdown, aside from the beginning which retained the feel of the first book with familiar characters and their bookish banter.
Camino Winds quickly gets rid of most of the established characters, and with them goes a lot of what made the first book so enjoyable; the talk of books, publishing, buying, and the opinions of other writers, that was bliss. There is a lot less of all of the above in Camino Winds, and the only noteworthy character addition was student Nick, who wasn’t particularly interesting or likeable. Continue reading “Camino Winds – John Grisham”