Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Book #64


Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane


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.


This is going to be extremely hard to review without giving anything away.

Firstly, the story has a really good pace and flow, which is quite essential in mystery novels such as these. To coin an overly-used book reviewer's phrase, it was certainly a page-turner.

The book was so interesting in the sense that you never really knew who to trust, and nothing was quite as it seemed. The story kept twisting around and throwing out complete wildcards so that there's never really any certainty of what's happening, or who is being genuine. Most scenes can be construed from two different angles; it would have been nice to read this once, find out the twist, and read it again from the other perspective had I not already known all the secrets from seeing the film.

I really enjoyed the idea that when someone is proclaimed as insane, all of their protestations to the contrary will only add to the argument against them.

Lehane slowly gives out clues to what's really happening on Shutter Island, but many don't make sense until the end. It becomes quite cluttered and chaotic in places, and at times incredibly confusing, but I think that's a nod to how the insane human mind must be.

The characterisation was also really, really good. I'd like to delve a bit more into this, but there wouldn't be much to say without dishing out lots of spoilers, so I shall refrain.

The twist is delicious. I'm a sucker for a good mindbend, and this didn't disappoint. It may be one you see coming, but it does leave you reeling nonetheless. It's one that's weaved in perfectly through the entire novel, and makes a lot of sense once you think back.

I really would recommend this to anyone with an open mind who likes mystery novels and suspense. It's one that will keep you on your toes throughout, and keep you thinking long after you've reached the last page.


64 / 66 books. 97% done!

2 comments:

THOMASSENLAND said...

Is the book better than the film? I've not read/seen either but fancy both. xx

JK said...

They are both really, really good. I hated that the film ruined the book for me, and that if I'd read the book first then it'd ruin the film for me! Haha. I'd say read the book first, though.