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Shutter Island
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2010
Not as detailed as the novel, obviously, but graphic novels don't need as many words because they include illustrations. The graphics are well-done, if a little bleak and monochromatic. It makes sense with the genre and themes, but seeing some shocking colour every now and then (like some red) would've been interesting. Nevertheless, it's done quite well.

As for the story, it is simplified, but not overly so. You can still grasp all of the important details in the story. It moves more quickly than the novel does because you can see the descriptions of the buildings and the characters rather than reading about them, but still seems very well-paced. It's never too rushed. There's a lot more character development than you would think would be in a graphic novel of only 100-something pages.

There are some twists throughout the story. Some of them may feel familiar to you if you've seen any number of popular films from the last few decades. However, it's not quite done in the same, menacing way as what you will read in this book. Some of the scenes are truly weird.

Worth a read, for sure.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 9, 2006
I've just finished reading this page-turner and it was absolutely mind-blowing. I couldn't put it down, and after I finished it, I went back and re-read the first few chapters to pick up on clues I missed.

The book starts out slow over the first few pages with a flashback and Lehane uses many more flashbacks during the novel that I initially thought slowed down the story.

I won't spoil anything, but the story is crafted wonderfully and every scene becomes relevant as the ending unfolds.

This is a great book for the reader who likes a surprise. I thought I had guessed the outcome of many situations and the author managed to flip them around on me still.

I definitely recommened Shutter Island (and I agree with a previous reviwere who suggested finding someone else who has read the book so you can discuss it when you finish). It is something that you will think about long after finishing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A couple of Federal Marshalls arrive on an isolated island that houses a high-security Federal prison for criminally insane. They were summoned to investigate a disappearance of a female inmate. They start suspecting that the staff of the prison is not as cooperative as they could be, and Marshalls start suspecting that behind the façade of the mental institution there is a much more sinister operation. This in a nutshell, without giving away any plot details, is the premise of the latest Dennis Lahene novel.

The plot description in itself does not even begin to do the justice to this gripping and harrowing story. Until now I have only been familiar with Lahene through the movie adaptations of his novels, and Shutter Island has also been made into a movie that will scheduled to come out in a couple of months. The previews of the movie seemed very intriguing, and they spurred me to take a look at the novel itself. I was not disappointed in the least. "Shutter Island" has all the elements of a great novel: an intriguing story with many plot twists, a flowing narrative that keeps you interested and guides you from one scene to another, rich, fully developed characters, and an ending that will both surprise you and satisfy you, and make you want to go back and reread the whole novel. The novel is a psychological thriller in two senses of the term. You are constantly intrigued by the states of mind of the main character and much of the most interesting scenes are in the minds of the main characters. Furthermore, by setting the novel in a mental institution the psychological and psychiatric profession becomes a major part of the story. Even so, the narrative evokes some very strong visual impressions, and there is no doubt that it will make a great movie. Stylistically, there is a very strong sense of film-noir to it and of the hardboiled detective novels from the middle of the 20th century.

Overall, this is a rich and deeply satisfying novel and I would recommend it as one of the best examples of its genre. Purchasing it was well worth the money, and I would recommend reading it whether you plan on seeing the movie or not.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon January 3, 2011
This is a highly original thriller with gothic overtones. Taking place in 1954, it is quite atmospheric and redolent of the times. The writing is taut, and the suspense is palpable. With many twists and turns the reader is pulled in, slowly but surely, into a virtual labyrinth of a mystery.

When United States Marshal Teddy Daniels and his new partner, Chuck Aule, arrive on Shutter Island, little does Teddy know how utterly puzzling his visit will become. He is there to visit a hospital for the criminally insane to investigate the mysterious disappearance of Rachel Solando, a killer who escaped from a locked guarded room.

During his visit, strange little tidbits of information come to the fore, and nothing appears to be quite what it seems. Even the common place seems to take on sinister overtones, as Teddy pushes his investigation. His own past seems to have some bearing on the events that transpire. Even his partner seems to be a tad off the mark.

Just what is going on at Shutter Island? The author will lead the reader a merry and complex chase, as one layer after another s peeled back to reveal the truth behind Shutter Island and Teddy's investigation.
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In the summer of 1954, US Marshal Teddy Daniels travels to Shutter Island, home of the Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane. Together with his partner, Chuck Aule, Teddy sets out to find an escaped psychotic patient named Rachel Solando. Apparently, Rachel Solando has managed to escape from a locked cell, walk past a group of orderlies and get past two guarded checkpoints. Given that it would be impossible for her to swim from the island to the mainland, she must be somewhere on the island. But where is she? Is there an answer in the cryptic coded message that she has left behind?

The mystery in this novel is not only about Rachel Solando. Teddy Daniels was very keen to accept this particular assignment and despite his fear of water - which made the ferry trip a nightmare for him - has his own reasons for wanting to be on Shutter Island. His wife's murderer is on the island as well, and he is keen to find him. Teddy Daniels is also curious about what goes on at Shutter Island: there are three wards housed in separate buildings and an apparently empty lighthouse is surrounded by an electrified fence and armed guards. Why?

When Chuck Aule disappears, it seems to confirm that Teddy Daniels's own life is also in jeopardy. But why? And why are the doctors not completely co-operating with the investigation? What is the truth about Shutter Island?

The hurricane that sweeps over Shutter Island provides the perfect backdrop to the story. And the ending? It took me by surprise, and then it made its own form of perfect sense. Maybe.

`They're creating ghosts here, Marshal. Ghosts to go out into the world and do ghostly work.'

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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on February 19, 2010
This is a prime example of an author who truly knows the value of good storytelling. Dennis Lehane has spun a masterful tale, providing colourful description to create engaging characters, dialogue, and chilling atmosphere.

The novel is split into four sections, one for each day. It should be said that through the entirety of the latter end of the book -- the last sixty pages, or thereabouts -- I had chills, and my heart was pounding. As each character grows more paranoid, Lehane encourages the reader to sink into paranoia along with them.

If you are like me, you like a good twist -- key word there being GOOD. Although I was able to guess a couple of things ahead of time, it's nearly impossible to guess them all; making those few guesses (and being right) detracts none from the well-written story, which flows so well from the very beginning to the very end. It won't leave you feeling empty, like many twists will, because it is executed just so, leaving things open-ended enough for several interpretations of what really went on at Ashecliffe Hospital.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon October 7, 2009
There's always something about asylums that have always given off an uncomfortable feeling. The way Lehane writes in this novel really expresses the uneasiness and queasiness about asylums and how an outsider would feel when first entering one. He does a real great job creating the mood and setting. It's bleak. It's dark. It's gives off an omnious feeling that by the middle of the book you're starting to doubt yourself and you're not sure what's real and what's not. You feel what Teddy feels. It's done really well and does a good job enticing you to read further, to get you to want to explore the asylum and join Teddy in his journey to find this missing patient. Suspecion is placed on everybody and you the feeling of mistrust starts to build throughout the book.

The plot is filled with twists and turns. It engages you to help solve the puzzles, and once you start thinking you're one step closer to solving the case, another twist is thrown in and you're back to square one. It's not frustrating. It's actually more exciting and every twist puts you into shock. I was especially shocked during the last few parts of the book. This is definitely a page turner. There a few dream sequences from Teddy that you might find strange (almost like an acid trip) but they're almost comparable to something you might find on the show Twin Peaks. They're just strange but it does fit the book quite nicely.

Character wise, I think the main focus would be on Teddy himself. The rest of the characters are very secondary and even his partner, Chuck, is flat. The main character development falls on Teddy and when you see what really happens to him, you're left speechless and literally dumbfounded. He may be your typical US Marshal on a case on the outside, but inside he has a lot of skeletons in his closet that you eventually discover as the story progresses.

The only criticism I would have at this book is, it is a little predictable. I've seen a lot of movies end this way and it seems to be the trend (I'm not sure if books are like this as well). However the ending suits the book so I'm willing to let it go. There is mild language and talk of frontal lobotomies in detail which may be not suiting for some.

Overall a really good book and suitable for a dark rainy windy day. Really creepy and a wonderful psychological thriller with a lot of twists and turns to keep the reader occupied. Don't mind the typical cliche ending, it's actually suitable and worth the read. It's amazing how much more scary asylums are than an average horror movie.
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on July 13, 2004
Shutter Island is about two federal marshals who go to Shutter Island to investigate a prisoner escape. The island houses a prison for the criminally insane, and upon arrival, they find out that much has been covered-up with respect to this escape. The more they probe, the more questions they have, and soon their vision of reality breaks down as they begin to discover a conspiracy beyond their wildest imaginations.

I liked Shutter Island. I love codes, and mysteries, and such, so this was quite a good read for me. Unfortunately, I did see the ending coming, because it seems to be the thing to do these days. I'm not sure how many people it actually surprised, but it didn't surprise me, and that ruined it a little for me. It just seemed that it's been done so much, whether in Fight Club or The Magus decades before.

It's quite a concidence that I just read John Fowles' The Magus a few months ago, and the resemblance between the two books are uncanny. In The Magus, it is about this English schoolteacher who meets this eccentric millionaire on a remote Greek island, who employs questionable methods of psychiatry to cure schizophrenic patients, and where he soon finds out that they mounted an elaborate play for his benefit. Sound familiar?
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on July 6, 2004
Shutter Island is a terrifying novel that chilled me to the bone. It played the hugest trick on me of any book that I have ever read. During the last couple of chapters I had this feeling of absolute disbelief - could this really be happening? Surely the book couldn't end this way. Please don't let it end this way! But it did. Bloody hell, I thought the ending to Hannibal by Thomas Harris was nasty. In this book, the ending is fiendish.
The characters were all described very well and with lots of imagination. Teddy Daniels is a US Marshal and the year is 1954. He is investigating Shutter Island with his new partner US Marshal Chuck Aule. You feel great sympathy for Teddy as his past is revealed - the death of his lovely wife Dolores and his violent clashes in the war. All this is written about in the most beautiful language. The scenes where Teddy goes back over his overpowering love for Dolores are particularly poignant.
Dennis Lehane draws you in to the plot by creating vivid characters, scenery, intrigue, mystery and clues at every turn. And then he calmly proceeds to turn everything inside out in the most shocking way possible. The plot was terrifyingly plausible and the last couple of chapters so hideous that they defy words.
Overall this is a great novel. Great in its ability to deceive and shock. Can I honestly say that I enjoyed reading it? Well, with tears falling down my cheeks as I got through the final chapters, I came to the conclusion that no, it had not been an enjoyable reading experience! Somehow I suspect Lehane never intended it to be. But he did a fantastic job of scaring the life out of me.
JoAnne
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Dennis Lehane is a master. I started this book wondering if it could possibly be as good as Mystic River. Most certainly, it is. Edward (Teddy) Daniel and his partner, Chuck Aule, meet at the beginning of this book, on the boat to Shutter Island. They are both U.S. Marshals, called to aid in the search of an escaped inmate at an institution for the criminally insane. A hurricane hits. The reader follows Teddy and the plot through twists and turns to a place that one would never suspect. Along the way are several interesting characters, the least of which is Dr. Cawley. Is he what he seems? Is he conducting evil experiments in the light house, or is he a compassionate psychiatrist? Lehane takes you on a wild ride. Just when it seems the end must be in sight, another hairpin turn leaves you rocketing down a three story drop with your heart in your mouth.
Don't wait until everyone else has read it and told you about it. Read it now, before someone spoils the ending for you.
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