CAMINO WINDS by JOHN GRISHAM

Disclosure time.

On our first outing to a bookshop since lockdown in March, I was quite clearly not concentrating properly.

As I excitedly browsed real books, as opposed to online shopping, I thought I heard the bookshop owner say “The latest from John Grisham”.

My husband heard “The latest Camino from John Grisham.”

Which is how I happily read “Camino Winds” without even realising it was a sequel. But since it reads as a stand-alone, never for a moment did I feel lost or bewildered by the plot and characters, which is testimony to Mr. Grisham’s talent. I didn’t even realise there was a prequel, until I Googled “Where is Camino Island?” (as one does).

Anyway, back to “Camino Winds, which is a great read, and a cracking whodunit.

The pretty and prosperous community of Camino Island, off the Florida coast, with a bookshop as its social centre, is ravaged by a devastating hurricane. Many of the island’s residents leave before the storm hits, but a few opt to stay put and sit out Hurricane Leo. Bruce Cable, the owner of Bay Books, decides to stay, as does another of his friends Nelson Kerr, a writer.

Hurricane Leo is a character in its own right, and the descriptions of the storm are vivid and terrifying. The power and the devastation are brilliantly described, and when people start to emerge from their battered, damaged homes after the hurricane has past, we share in their exhaustion and their relief at having survived.

Sadly, Nelson Kerr is found dead in his garden, apparently felled by trees or debris during the powerful hurricane.

Bruce, Bob Cobb, an ex-con and also a writer, and the delightful crime-novel-obsessed youngster Nick Sutton are not convinced by this theory, and as they dig ever deeper into the death of their friend, the issue of his unfinished manuscript comes to the fore. Meanwhile, all around them, the island is very slowly returning to life, and the police have more pressing matters than a theory that Nelson might have been murdered for his manuscript. Flying debris seems so much more plausible.

The 3 friends are convinced that the topic of the book must be very explosive if it warranted his death, and they set out to find out what it is about, and who would want Nelson dead.

I won’t plot-spoil any more for you.

Enjoy this literary whodunit, and when we hear in the closing paragraphs of the book that Hurricane Buford is looming over the Atlantic, with the same projected trajectory of Leo, we can only hope that there will soon be sequel to this fast-paced, fun read.

Meanwhile, I’m now going to read Camino Island.

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