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The year is 1954. U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels and his new partner, Chuck Aule, have come to Shutter Island, home of Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane, to investigate the disappearance of a patient. Multiple murderess Rachel Solando is loose somewhere on this remote and barren island, despite having been kept in a locked cell under constant surveillance. As a killer hurricane bears relentlessly down on them, a strange case takes on even darker, more sinister shades -- with hints of radical experimentation, horrifying surgeries, and lethal countermoves made in the cause of a covert shadow war. No one is going to escape Shutter Island unscathed, because nothing at Ashecliffe Hospital is what it seems. But then neither is Teddy Daniels.
This is the best book I've ever read. I finished it in a day because I couldn't put it down. I own the hardcover and when I finished it I bought all of Dennis Lehane's other books and was equally impressed. This guy has talent....more info
- Really, Mr. Lehane? Really?
This book is well written, yes. At several points it had me frightened, and caught between dying to turn the next page and too scared to. It got my blood pumping, got me angry, I think, as it was intended to. I cared about Teddy, and I really liked Chuck. Cawley and Naehring were delightfully mysterious and sinister. A number of the surprises were fairly organic and quite shocking.
I know what you're thinking. How did this idiot manage to click one star, when he's obviously writing a five star review. You would be right to think this. However, you are wrong. This is a one star review, and here's why:
DO NOT READ THE BACK OF THE BOOK!!!!!!! To any person with half a brain (I know, not THAT many people have that much of a brain) the book description will give it ALL AWAY.
DO NOT READ THE BLURBS IN THE BOOK!!!!!!! To any person with half a brain that can add, after reading the back of the book, two and two, will immediately get four.
If you read these, you will know EXACTLY what's going to happen within the first couple of pages. And it will make you mad, just waiting for it, hoping that, praying that, this isn't the case. Its a trick. Please, God, let it be a trick. Its not. That's what's going to happen.
Now, for those that have NOT read the back of the book or any of the blurbs. You will have a little more fun. You will enjoy the first fourth of the book. Then you'll know too. You'll know exactly what's going to happen. Maybe you'll be like me. You'll think its a trick. A red herring. Again, I say, ITS NOT!!!!!!!!
Scorsese's movie I know will be good. Perhaps he and the screenwriter will think up a way to make the ending more organic. But, I don't think that's possible. Regardless, I can't wait to see how atmospheric and shocking the movie will be. I mean, look at what Eastwood did with Mystic River. The book was good, yes, but my God, man, not in a thousand universes could coincidences stack up like that. When everything fits like a jigsaw puzzle, you lose large amounts of realism, and tend to make people weary, and you take a lot of the punch out of it. But Eastwood's film had a transcendence to it (I'm picturing the scene at the end where Sean Penn has his arms spread like a shrugging Christ as he drinks his way from all this. . . coincidence). And Scorsese is at least twice the filmmaker Eastwood is. So, here's hoping. . . . . ....more info
- READ THIS BOOK!!! PLAIN AND SIMPLE....
Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane is a suspenseful mystery/thriller that will leave you guessing until the final pages.
Teddy Daniels is a widowed, United States Marshal who, along with his new partner, Chuck Aule, is heading to the ever-creepy Shutter Island to investigate an escapee. Shutter Island, an island off the coast of Massachusetts, is home to one of the worlds most secluded and dangerous mental institutions where escape is thought to be impossible. Who is the escapee? Rachel Solando, An escaped murderess responsible for the macabre killings of her three young children.
During their investigation, Teddy and Chuck only seem to come up with more questions rather than answers. They become convinced that there is more to Shutter Island than meets the eye, at least their eyes. As more questions arise (and the twists start unturning), a hurricane hits Shutter Island causing the facility to lose electric and then all bets are off. Without electricity and with the most dangerous "patients" running amok Teddy tries to uncover the secrets of this mysterious island and the even more enigmatic staff.
In Shutter Island Dennis Lehane brings his unique and creative style to one of the most disturbing places one human can imagine themselves, deep in the depths of the most violent ward of the most avoided mental institution in America.
You really dig deep in the head of Teddy Daniels. The agonizing pain Teddy feels for his departed, beloved wife is executed masterfully. You can really feels the pain one goes through with the loss of a spouse. Lehane is definitely a pro, and he proves it time and time again.
When you read Shutter Island you can't help but go over all the possible solutions in your head, I am happy to tell you, you will be wrong. The ending is as good as everyone is saying. Probably better.
I cannot recommend this book enough. If you are a fan of mysteries it is an absolute must. If you are not, you should still definitely read this. Every time I read one of Lehane's books I never think it could be better than the last one, but I am always wrong, until this time.
- Spine-tingling Tension, Some Very Bad Guys & a Hurricane too
The time, 1954. The place, Shutter Island, Massachusetts. There is a place for the criminally insane out on the bleek and isolated island called Ashcliffe Hospital and it is home to some of the most warped criminals in America and one of them, Rachel Solano one of the most dangerous, a woman who has murdered her own three children, has gone missing.
US Marshalls Teddy Daniels and Chuck Aule arrive on the island to find Soldano and return her to custody. However Daniels has his own private reasons for wanting to get on the island, because he believes the man responsible for his wife's death is also an inmate at the hospital.
However when the marshalls get to the island, they find more than they bargained for. It appears that the patients have been used in experiments on the brain and have been victims of illegal drugs trials and more. And as they dig for info they find even more secrets and soon it begins to look like they may be in danger of never leaving the island alive. And to top it off, a hurricane is on the way.
This is a fast-pased suspense novel that you will find extremely hard to put down. I know I couldn't. Dennis Lehane draws you right into this gripping story with his well written characters and spine-chilling tension. This book is just too good to be missed. It is full of twists and turns that will keep you guessing right up until the end. It's just fabulous....more info
- OK but bad ending...
The first 2/3rds of the book are great. Really draws you in as the mystery develops. But the end is very anti-climactic, with a very predictable "surprise" ending...lame!...more info
Am an admirer of Lehane's books and his writing style but this one blew me out of the water! I couldn't believe the ending and found myself re-reading the last 10 or so pages several times - brilliant!...more info
- "Some men take to it. Some men it takes."
Welcome to Shutter Island, Dennis Lehane's high octane thriller roller coaster where nothing is was it seems. Who can you trust? What can you trust? Where are the clues leading? These are the questions that, like a TV like Lost, gives you one answer and then leads you to ask 3 more. Dennis Lehane gives us a great protagonist in Teddy Daniels and his partner, Chuck Aule. They are led to Shutter Island to investigate the escape of a female mental institution patient named Rachel. Lehane tops it off with a wonderful backstory of Teddy's dead, murdered wife and haunting flashbacks (his wife was killed by a current patient that Teddy is searching for). What ensues is conspiracy theories about what is REALLY going on the island. And the most haunting question...what lies inside the lighthouse? Lehane gives great dialogue between the characters and plenty of humor without interrupting the suspense. As you race through the pages, you will ask, "Can Teddy escape the island?" If he can break the codes and his own fears, he has a shot. My only problem with this novel was excessive swearing, which seems typical in Lehane novels. Other than, though, this was the best book I have read this year!...more info
this was a good book not lehanes best. occasionally had poor flow but overall came together. it left the reader with deep thought about ones prospective in life. ...more info
- Too Much Prose
What could have been a great book was rendered tiresome and redundant by too much prose. It was a wonderful plot but is it really necessary for the lead character to profess his love for his wife in so many passages? I found myself flipping pages just to move the plot along. It was a page turner, but not in a good way....more info
- Three and a half stars Mystery
This is a typically well written Lehane stand alone story. Just a bit too obvious for me. A good brain vacation book, page turner, but no Mystic River, and not as fun as one of his Kenzie/ Genarro novels,but Shutter Island is still good enough to keep your mind off of a flight delay.
If you like detective books you should enjoy Shutter Island, but if you haven't read Lehane before, I would suggest Mystic River, or any and all of the Kenzie /Genarro tales....more info
- Love Lehane; hate this book
Lehane's detective novels are the very best in the genre among current writers. But this book is too gimmicky. You will be disappointed by the ending if you don't see it coming. You will be disappointed by the ending if you do see it coming.
But if you must read this book, read it BEFORE you read his excellent detective novels. I read those first, and this book has left a bad taste in my mouth for several years. That taste can only be washed out by another Gennaro / Kenzie novel. Well, Lehane, I'm waiting....more info
Pedestrian writing and poor plotting. Scene after scene that does not advance the story. (Lehane could have begun the book on page 200 and lost very little of the plot.) Characters get stuck in a mausoleum for twenty pages and nothing happens. Characters play cards with hospital workers for twenty pages and nothing happens. Then: Dream sequence! Seriously, Mr Lehane: get an editor. SHUTTER ISLAND would have made a fine short story, but as a novel it's terribly padded and your twist ending is insulting to intelligent readers. Awful, awful....more info
- Great suspense. I hope to find many more books that engage me like this.
Shutter Island's only inhabitants are the patients in a mental institution and the instution's employees, and Federal Marshal Teddy Daniels was sent to the island to investigate the highly unlikely disappearance of a patient. While on the island Teddy cannot tell if the puzzles he encounters are clues to solving the case or if they are all an elaborate setup to keep him from ever leaving.
For a long time I read nothing but mystery/suspense novels because it was only within their pages that...well it was only these books that could challenge me. Some authors in the genre are so good that the books become almost interactive. As the main character tries to sift through the case, I am a puppet on a string. There is nothing better than a good thriller that makes you sit up in bed and talk to yourself while you read. This was that type of book.
Dennis Lehane's Mystic River was a pretty good book, but I would not really compare the two. Shutter Island was much more intense and in my humble opinion, a much better book.
The book is short and a lightning fast read and my recommendation to you is to read it in as few sittings as possible. Lehane weaves a web of intricate and minute details and fewer sittings will hopefully allow you to enjoy seeing how each detail is important. If you have to, or even prefer to, read the book more slowly, the overall thrill of the book should not be lost on you at all. I really liked this book and I hope someone out there has some suggestions of books like it for me to read.
- Too Smart for My Own Good
I solved the anagram on page 205 and from that I predicted the entire last half of the story. LeHane should have hidden such a revelatory clue a little better. It is like a major spoiler right in the middle of the story, making the last half a bit of a chore instead of the breathless progression it was intended to be. The finale still stung my heart, but if I had learned the twists when they were properly revealed, I would have called this story a masterpiece....more info
- Makes me "Shudder"
After having thoroughly enjoyed Lehane's previous PI series and Mystic River I regret having stayed up so late last night to finish Shutter Island. I feel cheated by the grade school type ending and am glad that I borrowed the book from the library rather than waste my money! ...more info
- Different Lehane
Once again, Dennis Lehane writes a completely different book. Although I probably like his Patric Kenzie novels better, this is excellent. There is a fantastic twist ending, but the characters are much flatter than I would have liked. They aren't very memorable, although a few are complex. It is very well written also. Overall, a great read....more info
- Better than most psychological thrillers I have been exposed to.
I thought this book was highly entertaining and apparently I was too stupid to figure out the twist, so that made it all the better. This is the only Lehan book I have read but I would recommmend this easy read to anyone. I did notice some anachronisms but they did not detract greatly from the book. The characters make you care and this read is excellent....more info
- Lesser Lehane
It is, I guess, brave of the author to try something different, especially since he probably got a big boost in name recognition after "Mystic River." And, if you've never read his other books, especially the Kenzie-Gennaro detective novels, which are as good as any in their genre,you may find this diverting. I'm afraid long-time fans will be disappointed because I don't think "Shutter Island" works on a number of levels. Readability is a problem - it feels like Lehane had a hard time with this. The plot jerks along with numerous stretches where nothing much happens. None of the characters, including the protagonist, is very interesting, and the final plot revelation, instead of providing the heart-pounding "Oh my God!" moment the author expects, instead evokes more of a shrug and a "glad it's over" feeling. I almost think Lehane was trying to write a 21st century "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" but this doesn't even come close. There are a million better books vying for your attention....more info
- Very Different, Very Original
This book grabbed me from page one. Very nice twist at the end....more info
- fun and intriguing read
This is the second Lehane I have read, following Mystic River (before the movie came out), and I wasn't at all disappointed. The theme of this book is very different from Mystic River in that it is less realistic, but I found myself buzzing right through it. I was always looking to figure out the next turn. I am a person who bores with books very easily (I can't even count the number of books I have read half of), but this book really kept my attention and interest. The end, when everything is pulled together, is pretty brilliant as well. Looking forward to Scorcese's movie....more info
- Shutter Island will make you shudder!
I just finished reading this book for my book club selection and I have to say, I couldn't put it down. It both intrigued and amazed me. Mr. Lehane has done a powerful job of showing us how two US Marshalls go to Shutter Island off the coast of Boston to look for an alleged escaped patient from this asylum for the crimminally insane. Teddy, one of the marshalls is running from horror in his own life, only to find the doctors here are performing experimental and horrendous surgery on the "patients." But, what will grip the readers is the unexpected and quite shocking ending to this book. It definitely is a keeper. ...more info
- Such a disappointment after MYSTIC RIVER
I listened to this novel set in Massachusetts read by Tom Stechshulte and he was absolutely the wrong person to read this book. He turned every African-American character into some trash-talking ignoramus from the South.
The novel itself has suspense and if I had read it instead of listening, might feel more positive toward it. The ending was so farfetched that I just had to laugh.
I need another story like MYSTIC RIVER to make me believe in Dennis LeHane again....more info
- Boring beginning, great middle, horrible cop-out/rip-off ending
This is my first Dennis Lehane novel, and I read this because I know this is the next Scorsese/DiCaprio movie. And having read this novel, I think this will be the first and LAST Dennis Lehane I'll read.
The story starts off VERY slowly--two US marshals investigate the disappearance of a crazy woman who'd killed her three kids. This woman is in the loony bin on Shutter Island, where the story takes place exclusively.
So the beginning unfolds, and I can say this much: Dennis Lehane is not a great writer. His dialog is often witless and overly long, and his prose quite pedestrian. When he tries to be poetic, he is often pretentious and nonsensical, like writing "he had a silkworm of a smile." And structurally the story would've been better if he'd sped up the pace a bit.
Then the middle act is absolutely terrific when we find this giant conspiracy, and Teddy and his partner Chuck (the protagonist and his sidekick) have to escape the entire island because of this giant conspiracy. Yes, Lehane's prose is still pedestrian, but you can write inelegant prose and the novel can still pack a wallop. So I was very excited reading this middle part.
*** SPOILERS AHEAD ***
Finally, though there's the climax, and when Teddy gets to the lighthouse and confronts the mad doctor, and the mad doctor starts babbling away, I was like, You got to be kidding me?!! This is A TOTAL RIP-OFF of the 1920s movie The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari! I was like, No, it can't be. At some point, we would see the mad doctor truly IS the mad doctor, and he's just trying to trick Teddy into thinking he's insane. But noooooo, Teddy really is insane, and everything in the story is just his delusion. Even cheesy action movies like Arnold Schwarzenegger's Total Recall don't stoop to: "Ohhh, everything's just a dream." I mean, this is grade-school storytelling!
Cop-out ending + ripping off a famous movie = a crappy novel. I gave it 2 stars instead of 1 because Lehane had me fooled it was a decent novel in the middle....more info
- The best kept secret in modern fiction, until the movie comes out.
Many of you probably know Dennis Lehane by his most popular work, Mystic River, a highly regarded book that spawned an Academy Award nominated film of the same name starring Sean Penn and Tim Robbins, both of whom won Oscars for the film, even though the film did not.
Lehane is a fluid and versatile writer, hard to categorize except maybe by saying that most of his books written so far are about crime, and many are set in Boston. That is a gross simplification, and you know that if you have read him. I have read every one of his novels and this one will get a second reading, no question about it. All of his books are excellent and, amazingly, he does get better with each successive story.
Shutter Island is very different than anything he has written, possibly the closest thing he will ever write to a ghost story. Surprisingly this book seems to be the least well known, but I expect that to change since Martin Scorsese is going to make this into a film, likely starring Leo DiCaprio.
Though they may not know it yet, that is going to be very good news to a lot of readers, who will undoubtedly want to read the book after seeing the film. I recommend that you beat the rush and read it now.
It is really hard to discuss the story itself without simply summarizing it, but that would be reducing it. It is one of those books that you should read completely cold. Its impact will be 10x greater if you don't know anything about it from the get-go and just stride right into chapter one. If you absolutely need labels to get you to try it, then "murder mystery", "ghost story", "crime novel", "sharpest most eviscerating story twist ever put to print" is the best I can think of right now.
While the ending twist could very well cause you temporary damage (you will finally know the true meaning of the word shock), reading the book gives you the sensation usually found in nightmares: Imagine, you are on a suspension bridge, just before dawn, in an unknown place, you can't see the ends of the bridge for the fog but you know it is very long. You hear nothing but silence for a long while, and then you hear the first ping of a bare cable thread snapping. Then another. Another, and the bridge shifts slightly. The rest of the strands blow like a machine gun burst and the bridge heaves. Now pretend that I can write.
Through most of the story, you literally feel as if the floor could drop out from beneath you at any time. The vertigo in Shutter Island is palpable. While over 400 pages, it reads faster than a novella and so much of its impact comes from the accumulation of details that come flying at you like metal shards in a hurricane. Again, best read completely ice cold.
After the movie, and the inevitable huge print run to follow, everyone will be talking about this book. Don't wait if you can find a copy sooner. ...more info
- Good for an easy read, but not engrossing.
To keep is short, the reason why I think this book is just ok is because, although you do keep wondering what's going to happen next, there is never a point where you feel connected to the characters to the point where you care. Because you never start to care about the characters, you continue reading simply to find out what happens in the plot, and not about what happens to the characters themselves. This is an ok book and you shouldn't completely disregard it, but it could've been a lot better in regards to character development....more info
- Exceptional - One of the best of all time
Shutter Island was my introduction to Mr. Lehane. I was not disappointed. You realy do not know what is going on until the last hand full of pages and even then you are left wondering.
Just an all around excellent psychological thriller, one of my most favorite of all time. Superior story telling. A psychological drama second to none. Definitely in a class by itself.
- Uh, wow...
That's my reaction after rolling thru the last 75 pages. You'll stay up late to finish it, I think. Some of the bad reviews on here, people complaining they gave up on it halfway through -- spot on, I don't doubt it. Lesser Lehane...yeah, it sure seemed like it for much of the book. But most of those people who didn't finish it made a big mistake. The last third of the book makes all the crap that came before it worthwhile.
I wish I could say more, but I'm not into spoilers. Suffice it to say that this is NOT bad Lehane, but his story made it useful for him for a while for you to think that it was. That's why I'm only giving it 4 stars...lots of eye rolling early...but I'm not sure he really could have done it any other way.......more info