Saturday, November 21, 2009

CBII: Crazy Going Slowly Am I - Book 6: Shutter Island - Dennis Lehane

An admission: I can't remember the last time I read a thriller (I'm not going to count The DaVinci Code as that falls into it's own special category that also includes poop and Hitler) they just really aren't my bag. That being said, I believe I went into the book with no preconceived notions and no expectations. As a matter of fact, I've seen the trailer for the movie version starring DeCaprio and being directed by Scorsese and thought it looked pretty fucking spine-tingly-dingly.  I can now say that something was tingling, but it may have just been my hand falling asleep. (Hey, I'm a fan of The Stranger, shut it!)

Teddy Daniels and Chuck (no last name) are U.S. Marshalls on their way to Shutter Island to investigate the escape of a patient by the name of Rachel Solando. Shutter Island is not only a psychiatric facility, but also a prison that houses the purveyors of the most heinous crimes imaginable. The facility tries to identify and treat their psychological disorders so they can at least have a version of a life while incarcerated. Upon reaching the island they are taken to see the head psychologist Dr. Crowley who describes Rachel's condition and circumstances of her escape. There's just one extremely unsettling issue with all of this: There's no way that Rachel could have escaped.

Upon investigation of the cell they find a poster with a coded message that Teddy must break. It is also apparent that Rachel could not have gotten out of her cell without help. The orderly has an air-tight story as does the rest of the staff and Teddy immediately comes to the conclusion that this was an inside job. The staff at the facility are aware of his suspicions so they become increasingly uncooperative - refusing to show Teddy certain areas of the hospital, staff records and the doctors begin to screw with Teddy's head. You see, Teddy has a history. He's a recovering alcoholic and his wife died in a fire a couple of years ago. It also just happens that the person that lit the fire is incarcerated at this very facility. Teddy continues his investigation it begins to reveal more and more disturbing information. Just what is going on on Shutter Island?

I had no idea what to expect going into this book and, after a good week and a half of thinking about it (oops), I've come to a comclusion: It's exactly what it should be. It's decently written, the plot is reasonably progressed, the descriptions are adequate, the surprised are mildly surprising and most people will figure out the twist right in the middle of the book. It is average in every way a book can be average and that's not necessarily a bad thing. It keeps you just interested enough to make you turn the page and when you're done it will gradually fade from memory. This is one of those instances where, if Scorcese does it properly, the movie could definately improve on the book. Especially where creating tension and atmosphere is concerned. I feel completely impartial regarding Shutter Island so you may as well give it a shot.


  1. Wow. What a stunning recommendation. Lol. I too, have seen the movie trailer and thought it looked spine tingly dingly. I hope it turns out that way! Because of your rather lukewarm recommendation, this is one book I won't read first. That way maybe the movie will keep me in suspense!


  2. Nice review! After the shit I've been reading, "average" has a nice ring to it.

  3. Wowzers ... way to sell a book, dude.