Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane

Review from my 2005 book journals:

In summer 1954, two U.S. marshals, protagonist Teddy Daniels and his new partner, Chuck Aule, arrive on Shutter Island, not far from Boston, to investigate the disappearance of patient Rachel Solando from the prison/hospital for the criminally insane that dominates the island. The marshals’ digging gets them nowhere fast as they learn of Rachel’s apparently miraculous escape past locked doors and myriad guards, and as they encounter roadblocks and lies strewn across their path-most notably by the hospital’s chief physician, the enigmatic J. Cawley-and pick up hints of illegal brain surgery performed at the hospital. Then, as a major hurricane bears down on the island, inciting a riot among the insane and cutting off all access to the mainland, they begin to fear for their lives. All of the characters-particularly Teddy, haunted by the tragic death of his wife-are wonderful creations, but no more wonderful than the spot-on dialogue with which Lehane brings them to life and the marvelous prose that enriches the narrative. There are mysteries within mysteries in this novel, some as obvious as the numerical codes that the missing patient leaves behind and which Teddy, a code breaker in WWII, must solve; some as deep as the most profound fears of the human heart.

◊        ◊        ◊         ◊          ◊        ◊         ◊

I had found this book through Swaptree and when it arrived I looked at the cover with a picture of a prison on an island on it and thought. “What was I thinking?”  How did this book get on my wish list?  Then I remembered, Dennis Lehane wrote Mystic River, which I loved (the book anyway, the movie I hated).  So why not a book on a prison?

This book turned out to be a two day read that I could hardly put down.  US  Marshall Teddy Daniels is a strong character who had a mission on the island to find a missing prisoner who has done the impossible and escaped somewhere on the island.  Yet Teddy’s motives are not all one sided.  Lehane keeps this book flowing forward with twists and turns and when it is all done -

You sit back and can’t believe that you didn’t see that coming, yet knowing that Lehanes’ clues are so well woven into  the story itself that how could you have known?

An absolute delight to read.  This book which came out in 2004 and I am looking forward to the movie, although I do not remember the book being as scary as the movie sounds.

I highly recommend this read.


Have you read the book or seen the movie?  Are you planning to?


About Sheila (Book Journey)

Bookaholic * Audio Book Fan *Bike Rider *Rollerblader *Adventure Seeker *Want To Be Runner*Coffee lover *Fitness Fan * Movie junkie

Posted on February 23, 2010, in Book Review and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 37 Comments.

  1. Wow, this sounds chilling! I didn’t read “Mystic River” and liked the movie—probably because I hadn’t read the book first! I’m usually disappointed in a movie when I’ve read the book.

    So…I’m wondering. I’m such a movie buff, that I’ll probably see this one…should I read the book?

    Sounds like it would be worth checking out. Thanks for a great review, Sheila.

    • The book was so good Laurel and I was so excited for the Mystic River movie but I found the language in the movie to be so over the top – bad.

      I left the theater before it was over.

      I would highly recommend the book – it was such a good mystery read with a twist i did not see coming. I loved it.

  2. I didn’t read Mystic River, but yeah I hated the movie. If it enthralled you so much I’ll be willing to try this book. It does in fact, sound interesting. Good review :) thanks for the info.

    • Thanks Karoline. Mystic River disappointed in the theater because of the filthy language. It really bothered me. The book was not like that, or if it was (it was so long ago now) it was no where near as much.

  3. Oh i’ll have to put this on my must read list! I never got around reading Mystic River but its on my shelf of TBR… Great review!
    Natalie :0)

  4. I thought this was an entertaining book. It was thunderstorming in my area when I read it, so the atmosphere was perfect. I hope to read more Lehane in the future. Mystic River has been on my list for a while.

  5. I’m glad to hear it’s so good. This is one that I want to read in advance of the movie, so I got it on audiobook. I can’t wait to read it now.

  6. The movie definitely looks scary. Good to hear the book isn’t, so much.

  7. I loved the movie Mystic River but I never read the book. I really should pick up both that one and this one.

  8. I was wondering if it was worth reading the book and now, thanks to you, I have it on my Kindle. I am looking forward to making this my next read!

  9. I liked the book but loved the movie – go see it!

  10. I just saw the movie and didn’t think it was as scary as the previews made it look. After seeing the movie decided I wanted to read the book so have my name on the reserve list at the library. I am reading Lehane’s book Prayers for Rain and can’t put it down.

    • Hi Cindy,

      I am glad to hear the movie is not as scary as the previews look. I dont recall the book being gorey. I havent read Prayers For Rain – thanks for the tip on that one Cindy! :)

  11. That commercial cracks me up and I’m not one for watching commericals much.

  12. I just saw the movie this weekend. :) I saw the twist coming, but it was still interesting to watch how it was done!

  13. I’m trying so hard to get ahold of this book before I see the movie, but I’m not sure if that plan ends up working out.

  14. I have been trying to find this book since this past weekend and everyone is sold out!!! Even B&N!!! I looked at Kroger, I looked at Walmart, Target and then finally a new little independent trade-in store that opened up about 30 minutes from my home had ONE copy! I bought it for $2.13!!! Now is that a bargain or what?!?

    I had read the prologue through Amazon this past weekend and had seen the movie trailer which was why I was so anxious to read the book FIRST. I’m glad I found your review…makes tonight’s reading under the covers going to be all the more enjoyable!

  15. This longer trailer make the movie all the more intriguing. I don’t go to the movies often. Now I really want to read the book. Would prefer to do that before seeing the movie anyway.

  16. This book is one my coffee table right now. I have to read it before I see the movie this weekend! Thanks for the great review-I might have to start it tonite.

  17. Heya i’m for the first time here. I found this board and I find It truly useful & it helped me out a lot. I hope to give something back and help others like you helped me.

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