The year is 1954. U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels and his new partner, Chuck Aule, have come to Shutter Island, home of Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane, to investigate the disappearance of a patient. Multiple murderess Rachel Solando is loose somewhere on this remote and barren island, despite having been kept in a locked cell under constant surveillance. As a killer hurricane bears relentlessly down on them, a strange case takes on even darker, more sinister shades — with hints of radical experimentation, horrifying surgeries, and lethal countermoves made in the cause of a covert shadow war. No one is going to escape Shutter Island unscathed, because nothing at Ashecliffe Hospital is what it seems. But then neither is Teddy Daniels.
If you are a fan of detective novels, you should be pretty familiar with the works of Dennis Lehane.
Alternatively, if you are an avid movie-goer, you should have heard of "Mystic River" and "Gone Baby Gone", two highly-acclaimed movies adapted from the literary worlds of Lehane.
In his 2003 novel, "Shutter Island", Lehane brings us back to the year 1954 post-war Boston. Two U.S. marshals, Teddy Daniels and Chuck Aule are sent on a journey to Shutter Island, home of Ashecliffe hospital for the insane, in other words, a highly secured mental institution to investigate a missing female patient named Rachel Solando.
The setting no doubt is eerie and claustrophobic, all thanks to Lehane’s amazing description that we dear readers are able to submerge ourselves in his fictional world. The various characters are clearly defined, not that there are a lot here in "Shutter Island". But as the page turns, you definitely yearn to know how the plot develops. Who is this Rachel Solando who murdered her own kids? And is there an ulterior motive for Teddy to come to this island? Is he seeking revenge on a certain Andrew Laeddis who incidentally kill his wife?
The success of "Shutter Island" thrives on the fact that it’s set in a world whereby communications is stripped to the minimum, it’s the 1950s remember? A storm is brewing, the two marshals from the city are 'trapped' on the island and the orderlies, wardens and Chief of Staff, Dr J. Cawley seems far more sinister than the patients. It’s tense, atmospheric, chilling making it far more difficult to differentiate between what’s real and what’s not in Teddy’s world.
Now I wouldn’t go so far as to rate "Shutter Island" as a first-rate suspense thriller. It sure has its merits to be a taut read and unlike other 'chunk-them-at-your-bedside-novels', you might find "Shutter Island" hard to put down till you reach the final revelation.
"What joke?" Teddy said. "I just want to know if he's here."
"Who?" Cawley said, a hint of exasperation in his voice.
"Chuck?" Cawley said slowly.
"My partner," Teddy said. "Chuck."
Cawley came off the wall, the cigarette dangling from his fingers. "You don't have a partner, Marshal, You came here alone."
by Linus Tee