Shutter Island – Dennis Lehane – 4 stars
The story starts off by setting the scene: an island, isolated, inhabited solely by those mental patients deemed too dangerous to be detained in a normal facility. When two officers are called over to investigate a missing patient, they are stripped of their weapons and are welcomed into the inescapable complex. I nearly stopped right there, because I really hate scary stories, and this one was shaping up to be uncomfortably similar to The Woman in Black.
As it turns out, this novel is not a horror story. It’s a psychological thriller, and there are parts that will make you shiver and ‘turn away’, but it’s not written just to scare you out of your wits.
I’ve never read anything by Dennis Lehane before, so it was a pleasant surprise to jump into his fresh narrative. He creates fantastic characters that are well-constructed historically and emotionally. My only issue with the prose was the overabundance of swear words; expletives stop being expressive when there are five to a page!
The story is completely gripping, and the plot beautifully constructed. If you’re reading it, my advice to you is to pay close attention because this book will mess with your head.
As with any story dealing with serious mental health problems and the sixties in North America, there are things that could be seen as offensive, so read with integrity. It’s a really great story set post world war, and the turbulence of the setting shouldn’t take away from that.
There’s actually a film adaptation of this book, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Do I think it would make a great film? Absolutely. Do I plan on ever watching it? Nope.
If you’ve read this too, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Have you seen the movie?
Thanks for reading, and have a lovely day!