Published on August 1st, 2019 | by voxx0
Let me begin with a warning – Lehane’s 2003 psychological thriller is as shocking as it is addictive. It remained tightly glued to my hands for the best part of last summer, despite the amount of reading I was supposed to be doing for my actual degree (After all, Teddy Daniels’ life seemed to be a lot more interesting than Jane Eyre’s at the time). If you haven’t read it or seen the 2010 film adaptation and don’t know what it’s all about, the story follows the journey of the US Marshal as he travels to Shutter Island, home to Ashecliffe Hospital for the criminally insane. He has been assigned the task of investigating the disappearance of one of the hospital’s patients, Rachel Solando, who seems to have escaped her cell without any logical explanation.
Throughout the novel, Lehane exposes Teddy’s battle to keep up his mental stability after the death of his wife, as well as solving the case in the knowledge that his wife’s killer also resides at Ashecliffe. The story is crafted beautifully with graphic descriptions of World War II contrasting with Teddy’s mental images of his wife each time he goes to sleep. It appears that the closer he gets to solving the case, the more his mental state withers as the visions get more prominent. In this way, not only does the story address the PTSD war brings, but it also gives a taster of the mental trauma suffered by those who have lost a loved one.
The plot thickens when readers learn of the medical experiments Ashecliffe’s doctors have supposedly been performing on patients rather than treating them, creating a drive in Teddy to not only solve the case, but to expose the doctors at Ashecliffe for their true actions. I won’t spoil the ending, mainly because of how much my mind was blown upon reading, however I will say that it made me want to immediately read the book over a second time, and this time around I saw it as a completely different story. All I can say is that those of you who are lucky enough to have not read it yet are in for a treat, and those of you who have will know exactly what I am talking about. Lehane’s true genius shines through in this novel, and upon reading again, you will question almost every fact you thought you had uncovered. Get your hands on it this summer, as I assure you that when you do, they won’t be off of it any time soon.
By Daryl Jenkins Dixon