When readers describe a book as being a page-turner, do you believe them? I tend to be skeptical. Admittedly, it’s an overused term and I try not to use it. Much. To consider a book a page-turner is high praise and for me, books like that are rare. Anyway, I picked up Dennis Lehane’s “Shutter Island” (2003) when it first came out and read the first chapter and immediately set it aside. It was so slow! Plus, I was really wanting him to get back to the Patrick/Angie series that I enjoyed so much.
Well, after waiting him out for several years, I caved and gave “Shutter Island” another look. I finally got past chapter one and after chapter three, I found myself unable to put this book down. I stayed up late reading knowing I had to get up early the next morning. I would think about this story while at work and would rush home, lock my door so I wouldn’t be disturbed. The story, literally, took off after the first three chapters. Talk about a high octane story.
The premise: two federal agents arrive on Shutter Island to investigate a missing patient. For added fun, a hurricane is headed towards the island and knocks off the power, leaving the island completely closed off. The rest of the story is a like a wonderful, intense psychological mind game racing toward the finish line.The burning question I had though was: how in the world did a mental patient escape off an island that is surrounded by water and rock?
The story has a gothic feel to it that I loved. There’s a sense of urgency for the truth behind a war widow’s disappearance from a locked down institution for the criminally insane. As you read, things are not what they seem or appear to be. You are fervently trying to figure out what is going on and trying to sort out what’s real and what’s not?
The author did a wonderful job with the atmosphere of the story. That ending though. What a surprise! Endings like that are why I read. I like surprises and I think I understand the ending. Readers today still are searching for an explanation. Can anyone really explain that ending? I know Dennis Lehane has not officially said anything as far as I know. He leaves it up for readers to interpret.
I haven’t seen the movie and don’t really care to ever watch it. If you like puzzles, I think you would enjoy this book just for the sheer fun of analyzing and tearing apart the story & that ending. A taut mystery that grips you and won’t let you go? That’s “Shutter Island” by Dennis Lehane. A+ read. I’m sure the book has flaws but I was too busy turning the pages (read as swiping my phone) to really care. Read this book. It is seriously good.
Ran across a few articles since reading “Shutter Island” that may whet your appetite to read the book or maybe not.
–Interview: Dennis Lehane Talks Shutter Island and Martin Scorsese
–The Obsession In Shutter Island (Daily Beast, Feb 2010)