Saturday, October 1, 2011

Book Review: Shutter Island, by Dennis Lehane

Shutter Island is a really interesting, twisted story, and the audio version was excellent. I’ve seen this movie, but it has been a while ago. I remembered the ending, but I still enjoyed the telling of the story. It’s very intriguing.

I can’t tell you much about the plot – I’ll just set it up for you. Teddy Daniels and his partner, Chuck Aule, are US Marshalls in 1954 who go to Shutter Island, off the coast Boston, to investigate an escaped patient, Rachel Solando. Ashcliffe Hospital, on Shutter Island, is a facility that houses the violent criminally insane. The only access to the island is by ferry, so it is assumed this patient has to either be drowned in the ocean or hiding somewhere on the island. Things start to not make sense in the investigation, and Teddy begins to think this is an inside job. Things get more complicated because of an impending storm, which cuts off communication with the outside. The storm turns out to be a hurricane and does extensive damage to the facilities. Teddy is certain that the administrators on the island do not intend to let him leave.

Lehane writes a really sinister book. Rachel, who has murdered her three children, leaves coded messages, which Teddy solves. This leads him to believe there is another missing patient. There’s another patient that has been beaten, who Teddy doesn’t believe belongs in this facility. Teddy finds Rachel, who claims to be a doctor, not a patient. Teddy believes they are performing lobotomies on the island. Chuck goes missing, and Teddy fears he may be dead.

All of this, plus a really twisted ending leave the reader gasping for breath. I had the urge to go back and read it again, after the reveal at the end, just to see if there were hints that I missed.

The audio version of this book is nothing short of superb. I’ve rarely enjoyed a narrator as much as Tom Stechschulte. His voices are perfect, his inflections are natural. Nothing is over the top, but everything is smooth and fitting to the story. Amazing.

If you’ve seen the movie, you might still enjoy the book. If you haven’t seen the move, read the book first! Fans of a thrilling psychological mystery with a wonderful twist will enjoy this. I really don’t see how anyone could anticipate this ending, and we know how difficult that can be for a writer.

Published by William Morrow, 2003
Audio by Harper Audio, 2009
Audio book obtained from the library
336 pages

Rating: 4.5/5

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  1. This was a good book but I did figure it out which took away my enjoyment overall.

    I liked the movie enough.

  2. I bought this book after I saw my first preview for Shutter Island because the movie looked so good. I absolutely loved the book :) Loved the movie too (who doesn't love Leo!) but thought the book was spookier. The movie also left out some of my favorite lines toward the end.
    Loved reading your take on it :)

  3. This certainly does sound like an interesting mystery. I haven't really seen too many reviews of Shutter Island around but your review has made me want to read it soon :)

  4. I haven't seen the movie or read the book (or listened to it) but it sounds like I might have to! I love a good, spooky story.

  5. I've seen the movie, which I thought was really good, and have the book on my shelf. I hope it's still a good read even though I know the whole story :)


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