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?