May 20, 2010

Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane

I'll admit it. My interest in this book was first sparked by the creepy trailers for the movie I saw on TV. Since I'm not one for scary movies, I figured it was not going to be for me. It wasn't until my mother in law read the book and recommended it to me that I decided to give it a go. I even made my husband read it first to make sure it wasn't going to freak me out so much I wouldn't be able to sleep. I'm that much of a wuss. When he gave it the "Safe for Sarah" stamp of approval, I busted out the Kindle and dove in. Bonus - this book was only $4.99 on Kindle!!

Shutter Island is about a pair of U.S. Marshalls who travel to a psychological treatment center for the criminally insane. It's not the tame wackos who head to this joint. They get the real crazies, the ones who murder their entire family, skin them, and make lampshades to decorate their house with. (Yup, I'm from Wisconsin) One of these prisoners patients has gone missing and Marshal Teddy Daniels and his partner, Chuck, have been called in to investigate how she could have disappeared from her locked cell, through the guarded compound, and off the treacherous island. In somewhat predictable fashion, nothing is as it seems at Ashecliffe Hospital.

Before too long, the investigation becomes less about Rachel Solando's disappearance and more about Teddy Daniels himself. There are freaky, drug-induced dream sequences that are written in creepy detail. Lehane creates a terrifying world inside Teddy's subconscious, one that draws you in to the madness of Ashecliffe.

I'm not sure how to really classify this book. Sci Fi? Mystery? Thriller? It's got a bit of all of that. Between the supposed experimental surgeries taking place at Ashecliffe to the questions surrounding the staff, Lehane leaves the reader guessing right up until the massive twist at the end of the novel. It turns out to be one of those books you want to re-read because you know the second time will be a completely different experience.

The characters were a bit on the stereotypical side - the war-affected Marshall with a tragic past and a conspiracy theory, the creepy yet brilliant mad scientist, the good-cop sidekick, the prisoner patient with a personal vendetta against the protagonist, the good-natured orderly with a knack for racial humor. Be that as it may, Lehane still writes a good one that kept me hooked right up to the end.

And I didn't even have nightmares.  4 stars.


  1. I saw the movie. I want to read the book too. How does the book end?? Does it leave you wondering if Teddy was really crazy the whole time??

  2. Well, I wouldn't want to be a spoiler!! Let's just say there's a big twist that makes leaves you asking, "Whoah...what just happened??!"


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