Most helpful critical review
Good book; misses being great for the lack of editing
on June 22, 2004
Can Lehane ever top "Mystic River", one of the top twenty books so far this century? Maybe, but not with "Shutter Island", where Lehane goes from great to good for lack of an editor.
The storyline and narrative of this book are flawless; so are the characterization and dialogue. In fact, the plot is mind-blowing -- even after finishing this book, it will be hard to get it out of your head.
However, this book has a rushed, half-done feel to it, like it was a first draft and got rushed to publication without a good editing. There are some oddball similes and metaphors in it that an editor would have attacked with a red pen. Also, the reader is not fully informed about the hurricane being on its way; so when it does arrive, you could find yourself flipping back a few pages and scratching your head -- "Huh? There's a hurricane all of a sudden?" Also, the end of the book, when the orderlies unroll the white cloth, is confusing. What's in the white cloth? I don't get it. It did spook me out, though; so it was at least partially effective.
All of these issues would have, and should have, frankly, been fixed by a decent editing job, but I don't think this book was given the pleasure.
I don't think Lehane is alone. Actually, I think this lack of editing is some sort of current trend in book publishing, maybe having to do with the downsizing at big publishing houses.
Anyway -- this book is recommended, especially if you are a Lehane fan. It's a good, decent read.