In 1954, U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels visits Shutter Island, home to Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane, with his new partner Chuck Aule. They've been sent to investigate the escape of Rachel Solando, a dangerous murderess. As they discover more and more disturbing information surrounding this institution, it becomes clear that nothing at Ashecliffe is remotely what it seems.
Wow. I still (even after previously seeing the movie) cannot wrap my mind around this shocking ending. This is certainly the biggest twist in a novel that I've read in my entire life, and I'm dying to tell you what happens. But, you'll have to read it for yourself. And let me tell you - you're going to be blown away.
The whole atmosphere of Shutter Island is creepy, eerie and disturbing. I think that seeing the movie before reading the book had a huge impact on me. I've never experienced this before - I was able to remember each scene in my head while I was reading and watch it unfold. If you're one of those people who are frustrated when movie producers change too much of the story, I recommend Shutter Island to you. The movie was practically identical to the novel, often right down to the same words spoken by the same characters.
But this is a book review, so I shall continue with my thoughts! Dennis Lehane's writing wasn't bad at all, but it's nothing to get excited over either. I have to admit that I was reading extremely fast and not fully absorbing all his words. (I was anticipating the ending too much for my own good!) But like I said before, his descriptions weren't that effective on me simply because I've seen the movie. If I didn't see the movie before I read the book, I'm not sure the novel would have had the same effect on me.
Recommendation: This book should be read by everyone, even if you're not a mystery or thriller lover. I say this purely because of the ending. I can't get over it! It's incredible and unlike anything I've ever read. I wouldn't call this a literary masterpiece by any means, but you honestly forget about Lehane's flaws once you finish the last page.
As an ending to this post, I'd like to include a quote that I found on the back of the novel from Washington Post Book World that sums up this book pretty well:
"Shutter Island...is brilliantly conceived and executed...Its shocking outcome kept me awake deep into the night as I began to grasp what the author had done to my innocent mind."