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Summer, 1954.

U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels has come to Shutter Island, home of Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane. Along with his partner, Chuck Aule, he sets out to find an escaped patient, a murderess named Rachel Solando, as a hurricane bears down upon them.

But nothing at Ashecliffe Hospital is what it seems.

And neither is Teddy Daniels.

Is he there to find a missing patient? Or has he been sent to look into rumors of Ashecliffe’s radical approach to psychiatry? An approach that may include drug experimentation, hideous surgical trials, and lethal countermoves in the shadow war against Soviet brainwashing. . . .

Or is there another, more personal reason why he has come there?

As the investigation deepens, the questions only mount:

How has a barefoot woman escaped the island from a locked room?

Who is leaving clues in the form of cryptic codes?

Why is there no record of a patient committed there just one year before?

What really goes on in Ward C?

Why is an empty lighthouse surrounded by an electrified fence and armed guards?

The closer Teddy and Chuck get to the truth, the more elusive it becomes, and the more they begin to believe that they may never leave Shutter Island.Because someone is trying to drive them insane. . . .

Topics: Conspiracy, Psychological, Missing Persons, Massachusetts, Island, 1950s, Suspenseful, Noir, Mental Illness, Murder, Made into a Movie, Prison, Veterans, and Death

Published: HarperCollins on Oct 13, 2009
ISBN: 9780061897221
List price: $10.99
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So entertaining! read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Teddy Daniels and Chuck Aule are U.S. Marshals sent to Shutter Island to help locate an escaped mental patient. Teddy’s true task is to find out exactly what is taking place at the Ashecliffe Hospital. It is rumored that drug experiments and surgical trials are taking place and a U.S. senator wants proof. Teddy is a very likeable guy with a few skeletons in his closet. He saw a lot of action during W.W. II and his wife died when someone burned down their house. Teddy knows who did it and is sure the killer is on Shutter Island. There are a number of characters to dislike, one being the warden and another is Dr. Cawley whose life’s work depends on continuing his trials at the hospital. But soon Teddy realizes he is being drugged and there are some who don’t want him to ever get off the island. Near the ending the plot takes a drastic turn that I didn’t see coming. Everything the reader is led to believe is wrong. Some might say it was a clever twist but I felt cheated and tricked. I would even go so far as to say I felt mentally and emotionally violated. I disliked some of these characters so much that the twist the plot took did not render them with the punishment I thought fitting. Villains should get their just desserts at the end of a book, but the twist in a way exonerates them and you aren’t sure who is the villain.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Head-twisting, stomach-dropping and absolutely gripping. An evil, tight little rip-tide of a thriller, despite its sometimes sweaty, overly-muscled prose.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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So entertaining!
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Teddy Daniels and Chuck Aule are U.S. Marshals sent to Shutter Island to help locate an escaped mental patient. Teddy’s true task is to find out exactly what is taking place at the Ashecliffe Hospital. It is rumored that drug experiments and surgical trials are taking place and a U.S. senator wants proof. Teddy is a very likeable guy with a few skeletons in his closet. He saw a lot of action during W.W. II and his wife died when someone burned down their house. Teddy knows who did it and is sure the killer is on Shutter Island. There are a number of characters to dislike, one being the warden and another is Dr. Cawley whose life’s work depends on continuing his trials at the hospital. But soon Teddy realizes he is being drugged and there are some who don’t want him to ever get off the island. Near the ending the plot takes a drastic turn that I didn’t see coming. Everything the reader is led to believe is wrong. Some might say it was a clever twist but I felt cheated and tricked. I would even go so far as to say I felt mentally and emotionally violated. I disliked some of these characters so much that the twist the plot took did not render them with the punishment I thought fitting. Villains should get their just desserts at the end of a book, but the twist in a way exonerates them and you aren’t sure who is the villain.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Head-twisting, stomach-dropping and absolutely gripping. An evil, tight little rip-tide of a thriller, despite its sometimes sweaty, overly-muscled prose.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Two marshals go to an island off the West coast housing criminally insane inmates. The isolation, location, stormy weather, and a major plot twist made this a big favorite.
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Book Review: Shutter Island by Dennis LehaneThis was an extremely nice distraction from all the thought-provoking literature I’ve been reading nowadays. I think one of the HUGE differences between “literature” and “popular fiction” is the reading level the book is written on. No, I don’t think one is better than the other--they both have their place in life. Honestly, popular fiction is usually a much quicker read for me and I’m riveted to my seat to discover what happens next. But that’s the subject of a different post :)Set in the 1950’s, Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane is about a U.S. Marshal, Teddy Daniels, who is called to a criminal psychiatric hospital to search for an escaped patient, a woman who murdered her children. This is my first introduction to Lehane’s work--I’ve not read or seen his best known work, Mystic River--and I enjoyed it. In Shutter Island, the point of view placed you over Teddy’s shoulder. This is probably my favorite point-of-view for a story--it’s also one of the most used for the advantages it gives. For this novel, it was key--you see the story’s reality through the eyes of the character. Any other character’s point of view would have given you a completely different story and not had the effect that Lehane was looking for. If I was going to suggest a few of the best examples of the use of this particular point-of-view, this novel would definitely be on the list.The story works and works well, however I will admit that the ending wasn’t a huge surprise. No, I didn’t see it coming, but I also didn’t try to figure out (most of) the clues when they were given. That's fine with me--when the ending was finally revealed, I was definitely engaged with the characters and, by that time, surprise wasn’t an issue. I could swear that I’ve seen this entire story done before in a different way--ending and all--so, for me, it doesn’t have that comepletely “unique” feel to it. And that's ok too.Sometimes it’s nice to sit back and just be led down the story by the author rather than to try to figure out what the author was doing. Suspense is nice--the reader should always WANT to know what’s going on. Adding clues the reader can figure out is fun as well, but you want to be careful about revealing too much through those clues. I’ve read a few reviews of this novel that say the ending was obvious--I think those readers figured out the clues before the author actually wanted them to. So, for a quick and fun read, this was a really good book. I’ve heard there’s a movie out based on the book with Leonardo DiCaprio and a few other stars directed by Martin Scoresce. I think I’ll pass on the movie. While yeah, it might be entertaining, I don’t feel the need to see it performed on the screen. 4 out of 5 stars.
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Ashecliffe Hospital sat on the central plain of the island's northwestern side. Sat benignly, I might add. It looked nothing like a hospital for the criminally insane and even less like the military barracks it had been before that. Its appearance reminded most of us of a boarding school. A mansarded Victorian housed the warden and a dark, beautiful Tudor minicastle served as the quarters of our chief of staff. The compound was composed of lawns and sculpted hedges, great shady oaks, Scotch pines and trim maples, apple trees whose fruit dropped to the tops of the wall in late autumn or tumbled onto the grass... This rather charming depiction of the setting, from the prologue by our narrator, the elderly Dr. Lester Sheehan, comes in sharp contrast with the disturbing quality of events that transpired over a four-day period in 1954. The story begins as U.S. Marshals Teddy Daniels and his partner Chuck Aula are making each other's acquaintance on a ferry bound for [13697::Shutter Island]. They have been sent there to find a patient, one Rachel Solando, a delusional woman interned for murdering her three small children. The case quickly takes on surrealistic overtones when it becomes apparent that the patient has vanished from her locked room which offers no possible exits, in a building heavily guarded by numerous staff members. Marshall Daniels becomes convinced that a cryptic note left behind by the woman holds important clues. But a thorough search of the island fails to produce any trace of Rachel Solando and the note proves impossible to decode. Concluding that he and his partner can't help with the case any further, Daniels soon decides they should leave island, but is told there will be no ferry service and that the lines of communication have been cut off from the mainland due to a violent storm that is rapidly headed in their direction. I found it difficult to form a fair opinion about this book, as I saw the movie adaptation only a few months ago. While the book does leave a little bit more to the imagination, the movie was a fairly accurate rendition of the story, so that the reading of it proved disappointing since the surprise elements of this psychological thriller were lost on me and there was little else to sink my teeth into. Because of this, was inclined to give the book a fairly low rating. However, I decided to take into account the positive impressions of the movie which I found engrossing, filled with unusual characters and situations (not to mention visually stunning). The first half of the story held me captive. I was awed by the thrilling twists and turns and more than willing to suspend disbelief and go along for the ride, but about halfway through it all began to fall apart for me as one improbable thing after another kept piling up and I caught on to the outcome much too early. Again, to be fair and give credit where it's due, the payoff at the end is quite good and I won't give anything away so as not to spoil the experience for anyone. Unfortunately for me, I saw the signs all along and while I wanted to root for Lehane for the way he built up all the elements of what is ultimately a well told fantasy, I couldn't help but wish the surprise element had been greater. All in all a good book. Just be sure to see the movie after reading it.
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