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Shutter Island: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, April 15, 2003


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Product Details

  • Series: Lehane, Dennis
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; First Edition edition (April 15, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688163173
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688163174
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (957 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #331,104 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Know this: Lehane's new novel, his first since the highly praised and bestselling Mystic River, carries an ending so shocking yet so faithful to what has come before, that it will go down as one of the most aesthetically right resolutions ever written. But as anyone who has read him knows, Lehane, despite his mastery of the mechanics of suspense, is about much more than twists; here, he's in pursuit of the nature of self-knowledge and self-deception, and the ways in which both can be warped by violence and evil. In summer 1954, two U.S. marshals, protagonist Teddy Daniels and his new partner, Chuck Aule, arrive on Shutter Island, not far from Boston, to investigate the disappearance of patient Rachel Solando from the prison/hospital for the criminally insane that dominates the island. The marshals' digging gets them nowhere fast as they learn of Rachel's apparently miraculous escape past locked doors and myriad guards, and as they encounter roadblocks and lies strewn across their path-most notably by the hospital's chief physician, the enigmatic J. Cawley-and pick up hints of illegal brain surgery performed at the hospital. Then, as a major hurricane bears down on the island, inciting a riot among the insane and cutting off all access to the mainland, they begin to fear for their lives. All of the characters-particularly Teddy, haunted by the tragic death of his wife-are wonderful creations, but no more wonderful than the spot-on dialogue with which Lehane brings them to life and the marvelous prose that enriches the narrative. There are mysteries within mysteries in this novel, some as obvious as the numerical codes that the missing patient leaves behind and which Teddy, a code breaker in WWII, must solve; some as deep as the most profound fears of the human heart. There is no mystery, however, about how good this book is; like Mystic River, it's a tour de force.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Lehane is red hot--his Mystic River (2001) is currently being filmed by Clint Eastwood--and he returns with another blistering page-turner. It's 1954, and U.S. Marshals Teddy Daniels and Chuck Aule arrive at a small island in Massachusetts' Outer Harbor. It is home to Ashcliffe Hospital, a federal institution for the criminally insane, and one of the patients has escaped. Although the two men are new partners, they have already developed a wry, jocular relationship while also swapping personal, painful details. Daniels' lost his much-loved wife two years prior in a fire, while Aule requested a transfer out of Seattle after being harassed over his personal relationship with a Japanese American woman. After interviewing the hospital's medical personnel, both men have the feeling they are being stonewalled, especially by the director, who seems to alternate between a cold authoritarianism and a sudden and sweeping compassion. When the island is hit by gale-force winds and Aule disappears, Daniels must go it alone, beset by the fear that he has been fed psychotropic drugs and the belief that the hospital is performing radical brain surgery as part of a secret-ops program. Lehane throws in one mind-bending plot twist after another in a psychological thriller that will leave readers in suspense right up to the end. A master of the adroit psychological detail, Lehane makes the horrors of the mean streets pale in comparison to the workings of the human mind. Joanne Wilkinson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Dennis Lehane was born and raised in Dorchester, Massachusetts. He is the author of A Drink Before the War, which won the Shamus Award for Best First Novel; Darkness, Take My Hand; Sacred; Gone, Baby, Gone; Prayers for Rain; and the New York Times bestsellers Mystic River and Shutter Island.

Mystic River was a finalist for the PEN/Winship Award and won both the Anthony Award and the Barry Award for Best Novel, as well as the Massachusetts Book Award in Fiction given by the Massachusetts Center for the Book. Coronado, a collection of five stories and a play, was published in the fall of 2006 and includes the story "Until Gwen," which was adapted for the stage.

Lehane's work has been translated into 22 languages. He holds an MFA from Florida International University and is the writer-in-residence at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, where he runs the Writers in Paradise writers' conference. Before becoming a full-time writer, Lehane worked as a counselor with mentally handicapped and abused children, waited tables, parked cars, drove limos, worked in bookstores, and loaded tractor-trailers. He lives in the Boston area.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

249 of 262 people found the following review helpful By nobizinfla on May 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Fear, obsession, paranoia...Dennis Lehane's "Shutter Island" is the stuff nightmares are made of. It is noir psychological suspense at its finest.
An isolated island, a raging hurricane, a locked room, secret codes, a mental hospital, rumors of mysterious medical experiments frame the story.
It is a scary, deceptive, disorienting, complex story grounded in the reality of the times...cold war USA in 1954 ("I like Ike").
Mr. Lehane weaves many threads throughout the unpredictable plot. The set up is thorough and the characters are fully developed. The twists and turns play havoc with your mind.
The unexpected is the norm...a couple of times I was able to figure something out a page and a half before it was revealed, but that was rare. The ending is unguessable.
Immediately upon finishing, I reread the prolog and final chapter...and will read this book again. I have not been so dumbfounded by an ending since William Diehl's "Primal Fear."
"Shutter Island" is etched in my memory.
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385 of 418 people found the following review helpful By Jay in Phoenix on May 9, 2003
Format: Hardcover
First there were the noir detective books. Then "Mystic River", which was 70-80% different. "Shutter Island" is a 100% switch from either of those. I was fortunate enough to purchase mine at a book signing where Lehane answered questions for about an hour. He has taught writing extensively and is a very patient, cordial and articulate inverview (not all writers speak well). Lehane said something that helps understand all his work, but especially this one. He said his stories are about people who strive and strive for what they want, only to wind up with what they need instead, and is makes their soul whole. "Shutter Island" is a very tight (we know what the main character, Teddy, knows - period), freightening story. Still, Lehane laces his outstanding literary skills and fantastic story line with his usual humorous passages, and his wonderful, punchy descriptive metapors. "Shutter Island" is not literally a haunted castle story. All the characters are "real" (human) and there are no ghosts or other-world beings. But it is absolutely, positively the best haunted castle tale I have ever read. This book goes on my list of all-time favorites.
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99 of 108 people found the following review helpful By "busterboulach" on May 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
"Shutter Island" is the first book by Dennis Lehane I've ever read. I heard about this book from a movie Website. Apparently Wolfgang Peterson (director of Air Force One, and In the Line of Fire) has optioned this book to be turned into a movie. Reading this book, I can say it would make a FANTASTIC movie. But I digress...
Dennis Lehane's prose is very well paced; secrets behind every corner. Plot twists abound, but I can't say the whole book surprised me because I thought of just about every scenario Marshals Daniels and Aule could get into. At first I thought the premise of two US Marshals looking for an insane, escaped murderess on an island during a hurricane was a little to zany to work, but man, I'll tell you, the whole book is so well done! And I was TOTALLY satisfied with the denouement.
The dialogue really grabs you. Its funny at times, heartbreaking at others and completely true to life. Kudos to Dennis Lehane! Now I'm gonna have to go back and read his previous works, and I can't wait!
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on April 18, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Readers approach an established author with expectations. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Those expectations help keep readers familiar with the author, while recommending the author to friends and attending book signings --- all of those good things. So what does one do when a favorite author not only steps away from established characters, but also takes a familiar genre... and tinkers with it a bit, and thus transforms it into something else?
This is precisely what Dennis Lehane does with SHUTTER ISLAND, a book very different from what he has done in the past and also different from what others laboring mightily in the mystery and suspense idiom have done. Lehane made his bones with five novels featuring the duo of Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro. His last novel, MYSTIC RIVER, was a departure from those characters but still covered the same territory that Lehane has demonstrated an intimate familiarity with, that being modern-day, working class Boston, through the prism of the detective novel. SHUTTER ISLAND is a totally different animal.
SHUTTER ISLAND takes place not in 2003 but in 1954 and not in Boston but in view of it --- in Ashecliffe Hospital --- located on Shutter Island, an island with a history dating back to the Civil War. The tale is told through the eyes of U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels, the son of a fisherman, a man whose life has been marked by tragic violence and sorrow suffered in quiet silence. When we meet Daniels, he is on his way to Ashecliffe Hospital to investigate the disappearance of Rachel Solando, one of the patients. Her disappearance is significant because Ashecliffe is not an ordinary hospital, but a treatment and holding center for the criminally insane.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By N. Sausser on June 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Shutter Island sits off the coast of Boston and is home to Ashcliffe Hospital for the criminally insane. Teddy Daniels, U.S. Marshall, and his partner, Chuck Aule, arrive on the island to help in the search of a missing patient. What actually goes on at Ashcliffe? Unconventional psychiatric treatments? It's difficult to review this book without giving too much away. Several other reviewers have said they were unprepared for the shocking ending. So I prepared myself by paying close attention to all the clues. But it wasn't enough. As I finished this book, sitting in a well air conditioned room, I actually broke out in a sweat. That has never happened to me before. What a stunner! Some reviewers have said they thought Lehane's previous novel, Mystic River, was better. I just can't imagine that. So, I'll put Mystic River on my must-read list. It's going to take me awhile to get over Shutter Island, though.
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