Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Shutter Island, by Dennis Lehane

(hb; 2003)

From the inside flap:

"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 on them.

"But nothing at Ashecliffe 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."


Twisty, sometimes spooky, psychological thriller that's a fun, burn-through afternoon read.

Some of the twists aren't unexpected, but they're necessary to the plot, to lead readers to the unexpected twists. I guessed most of the key ones, but the ending, like the novel, is still impressively written and powerful.

Atmospheric period-piece page-turner, this. Check it out.


Appropriately enough, this has been made into a film.

Set for a February 19, 2010 stateside release, it was directed by Martin Scorsese , from a script by Laeta Kalogridis.

Leonardo DiCaprio played Teddy Daniels. Mark Ruffalo played Chuck Aule. Ben Kingsley played Dr. John Cawley. Emily Mortimer played Rachel Solandro. Michelle Williams played Dolores Chanal. Max von Sydow played Dr. Jeremiah Naehring. Jackie Earle Haley played George Noyce. Elias Koteas played Andrew Laeddis. Patricia Clarkson has an unnamed role. Ted Levine plays the Warden.

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