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Monday, December 15, 2008

Shutter Island


****½ Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane. Mystery.









I was a little concerned about trying Lehane's non-Kenzie/Gennaro books. I shouldn't have been.

U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels and his partner Chuck Aule are investigating the disappearance of Rachel Solando from Shutter Island, an institution for the criminally insane, which is isolated on an island reachable only by boat.

Her disappearance is mysterious enough--she vanished from a locked room, and there's nowhere to hide on the small island--but it gets even more disquieting when the hospital staff and the warden are all either unconcernedly uncooperative or downright obstructive of their investigation.

In addition, Daniels is looking for the man responsible for his wife's death: Andrew Laeddis, who he believes is also housed on the island. Further investigation leads the Marshals to suspect psychological experiments, and as it becomes clearer that someone doesn't want them leaving the island, Daniels finds himself questioning his own sanity.

Shutter Island is a powerful psychological thriller, heavy with atmosphere; a story that takes you into the darkest recesses of the mind, and, perhaps most frighteningly, shows you how narrow the line is between sanity and madness.

Lehane's definitely on my list of must-buy authors.


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Comments:
I picked up my first Kenzie/Gennaro novel -- Sacred -- in a thrift shop after having watched Mystic River and noting the name of the author; it represented a bit of a midpoint in the story arc, full of hope and just discovering each other again. I picked up the rest of the series soon afterward, and was dismayed to learn that the last novel he'd written wasn't K/G, wasn't even in Boston.

No worries; he's a talented enough writer to pull off even this modern American Gothic. The denouement unfolds with such speed that it quite literally took my breath away.
 
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