Camino Winds
by Grisham, John






The best-selling author of Fair Warning presents a follow-up to Camino Island that finds novelist Mercer Mann's continued efforts to find literary inspiration in the idyllic region complicated by mysterious intrigues.





JOHN GRISHAM is the author of thirty-four novels, one work of nonfiction, a collection of stories, and seven novels for young readers.





Returning to the setting of Grisham's Camino Island (2017), Bruce Cable is still running his bookstore, but, frankly, he's worried: a hurricane is bearing down on the island, promising to bring with it widespread destruction. Which it does, but it also brings something else: murder. In the middle of the worst storm to hit the island in years, a local writer, Nelson Kerr, is killed. The police have a lot on their plate in the aftermath of the storm, and they seem content to put this particular problem on the back burner, so Bruce decides to solve the mystery himself. The problem is, he has few clues and even fewer potential suspects. Camino Island was a delightful, rather laid-back small-town mystery involving writers and their craft. Here the focus remains the same-Bruce soon learns that Kerr's murder probably had something to do with the writer's work in progress, possibly the fact that the new novel's plot may have strong links to real-life wrongdoing. Readers who enjoyed the previous novel's character and island ambience will been equally taken with this one. A fine sequel. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.





A tempest is bearing down, and murder most foul is afoot in Grisham's latest whodunit. Call it a metamystery: Grisham, prolific producer of courtroom thrillers, moves the action to a Florida resort island populated by mystery writers. In the wake of a ravaging hurricane, one of them turns up dead—a nice, affable fellow named Nelson Kerr, a former trial lawyer who "ratted out a client, a defense contractor who was illegally selling high-tech military stuff to the Iranians and North Koreans." It's not hard to understand that the client might want Kerr dead. But then, so would others whom Kerr has written about, including money launderers and—well, let's just say other entrepreneurs who wouldn't like their activities to be described in any detail. Enter bookstore owner Bruce Cable, friend, drinking buddy, and sometime editor and adviser of Kerr and other members of Camino Island's literary crowd, including "an ex-con who'd served time in a federal pen for sins that were still vague." Cable is perhaps Grisham's least sympathetic hero; he drinks night an d day, sleeps around, and has few apparent scruples. At least he's not a lawyer. Neither is he a cop, though he's quicker on the scene than the island's homicide investigator—"I didn't know we had a homicide guy," Bruce allows, since murder is rare in these parts. That leaves it to him, an intern, a girlfriend, and assorted other players to piece together what happened to the unfortunate Mr. Kerr, who, it must be said, is dispatched in a way nicely in keeping with Floridian lifestyles. Grisham's tale unfolds at a leisurely pace, never breaking into a sweat, and if the bad guys seem a touch too familiar, the rest of the cast make a varied and believable lot, and some might even be fun to ride out a storm with, at least if they're unarmed. A pleasure for Grisham fans and an undemanding addition to the beach bag. Copyright Kirkus 2020 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.





1.


Leo spun to life in late July in the restless waters of the far eastern Atlantic, about two hundred miles west of Cape Verde. He was soon spotted from space, properly named, and classified as a mere tropical depression. Within hours he had been upgraded to a tropical storm.
     For a month, strong dry winds had swept across the Sahara and collided with the moist fronts along the equator, creating swirling masses that moved westward as if searching for land. When Leo began his journey, there were three named storms ahead of him, all in a menacing row that threatened the Caribbean. All three would eventually follow their expected routes and bring heavy rains to the islands but nothing more.
     From the beginning, though, it was apparent that Leo would go where no one predicted. He was far more erratic, and deadly. When he finally petered out from exhaustion over the Midwest, he was blamed for five billion in property damages and thirty-five deaths. 
     But before that he wasted no time with his classifications, advancing swiftly from tropical depression to tropical storm to a full-blown hurricane. At Category 3, with winds of 120 miles per hour, he hit the Turks and Caicos head-on and blew away several hundred homes, killing ten. He skirted low beneath Crooked Island, took a slight left, and aimed for Cuba before stalling south of Andros. His eye weakened as he lost steam and limped across Cuba, once again as a lowly depression with plenty of rain but unimpressive winds. He turned south in time to flood Jamaica and the Caymans, then, in a startling twelve-hour period, he reorganized with a perfect eye and turned north toward the warm and inviting waters of the Gulf of Mexico. His trackers drew a line straight at Biloxi, the usual target, but by then they knew better than to make predictions. Leo seemed to have a mind of his own and no use for their models.
     Once again he rapidly grew in size and speed, and in less than two days had his own news special on cable, and Vegas was posting odds on the landing site. Dozens of giddy camera crews raced into harm's way. Warnings were posted from Galveston to Pensacola. Oil companies scurried to extract ten thousand rig workers from the Gulf, and, as always, jacked up their prices just for the hell of it. Evacuation plans in five states were activated. Governors held press conferences. Fleets of boats and airplanes scrambled to reposition inland. As a Category 4, and veering east and west along a steady northbound trek, Leo seemed destined for a historic and ugly landfall.
     And then he stalled again. Three hundred miles south of Mobile, he faked to his left, began a slow turn to the east, and weakened considerably. For two days he chugged along with Tampa in his sights, then suddenly came to life again as a Category 1. For a change he maintained a straight course and his eye passed over St. Petersburg with winds at a hundred miles per hour. Flooding was heavy, electricity was knocked out, flimsier buildings were flattened, but there were no fatalities. He then followed Interstate 4 and dumped ten inches of rain on Orlando and eight on Daytona Beach before leaving land as yet another tropical depression.
     The weary forecasters said farewell as he limped into the Atlantic. Their models ran him out to sea where he would do little more than frighten some cargo ships.
     However, Leo had other plans. Two hundred miles due east of St. Augustine, he turned north and picked up steam as his center spun together tightly for the third time. The models were reshuffled and new warnings were issued. For forty-eight hours he moved steadily along, gaining strength as he eyed the coast as if selecting his next target.






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