I can't believe it is October already! Reading Shutter Island was akin to a rollercoaster ride; it was a little scary but thrilling and once I got going, I couldn’t really stop. I read its 325 pages amazingly quickly, pretty much over the course of one Sunday.
The initial plot set up is quite simple: two Federal Marshals are sent to investigate the disappearance/ escape of a female inmate at the seemingly impregnable Ashecliff Hospital for the Criminally Insane located on a remote island off the coast of Massachusetts.
“From the sea it didn’t look like much. You have to picture it the way Teddy Daniels saw it on that calm morning in September of 1954. A scrub plain in the middle of the outer harbor. Barely an island, you’d think, so much the idea of one. What purpose could it have he may have thought. What purpose.”
The story is told in close third person from the perspective of Agent Daniels who is mourning the death of his wife from a few years prior and also probably suffering from what we now call PTSD as a result of his experiences in WWII. As Daniels investigates the mystery with his new partner Agent Aule, it soon becomes clear that Daniels has a lot of personal baggage that he is lugging around. The reader quickly starts to wonder who Daniels really working for and does he have an ulterior motive for taking this case? And how legitimate is Ashecliff Hospital? Are the rumors of experimental therapy true?
As the story progresses there are secrets upon secrets to be unearthed and nothing is what it seems or rather, situations can be misinterpreted…what could be considered sinister from one perspective could appear completely benign in a different light. Lehane did a great job of keeping the reader slightly off balance for about the first half…then the book slips into nightmare-mode filled with acute paranoia and one's sense of reality is dangling only by a thread…
I knew part of the “twist” in the plot, even though I’ve never seen the film, but there were plenty of other reveals and details that I didn’t know that made reading it enjoyable none the less.