Posted in book review

Shutter Island

Title: Shutter Island

Author(s): Dennis Lehane

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Format: Physical Read

Would I recommend it? Yes!

Book Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Spice Rating:

Rating: 0 out of 5.


Let’s take a step back in time to 1954. Picture this. You are on a boat headed towards an island. It’s not time for your tropical vacation. Instead, you are headed to the place where the worst of the worst are rumored to be. This includes both a legal and a mental perspective on being the worst. Your job is to find out what is happening on this island. Not just what you are told, but what is actually happening.

U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels and Chuck Aule arrived at Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane (AKA Shutter Island) to find the missing patient, Rachel Solando. She has been missing for approximately 24 hours, but no one knows how she actually escaped. Shutter Island should have top-notch security protocols…or at least that’s what we thought.

While they are constantly given the run around by every employee, doctor, and warden in this place, Teddy knows something isn’t right. Once the hurricane comes in and destroys buildings, fences, and security, it is time for the real investigation to take place.

Sorry! That is all I can tell you without spoiling it.


I love listening to mystery/thriller audiobooks. With a good narrator, any story can be a good one, well at least decent enough to get through. Why is this relevant though; I thought you said that you physically read this book? I did, but it is also the first mystery/thriller book that I have completely finished as a physical read.

Up until this point, I have tried to physically read mystery/thrillers but can never finish them. I start reading and then lose interest. By that point, I just switch over to the audiobook and listen to what is happening. It’s really an effective system. I want to read the book, but can’t get through it, so I move on. It’s a win-win…well kind of. For the longest time, I wondered why I could never finish one. Then I talked with one of my managers at work. When I told him that I have never finished physically reading a mystery/thriller book; he took that as a challenge. He wanted to know why? Was it the slow starts? The writing style? The topics? The type: mystery or thriller?

My response was, “I don’t really know. I don’t usually like slow-build books, but if I can’t make a connection or empathize with the characters, I switch. I am sure there are loads of great mystery/thriller books that do this, but I just haven’t found it yet.” Two seconds later he walks over with the book “Shutter Island.” I read the first few pages, and I was hooked. Maybe it was the psychological aspects of it. Maybe there was something I wanted to know more about Teddy. I’m not really sure, but I am glad I read it.

The chapters were a little longer than I was used to, but it worked because it added enough detail to the setting, characters, and situation without dragging it down. I also really enjoyed the dynamic between Chuck and Teddy. Obviously, something felt off, but I couldn’t figure out what. This was one of the only books I have read (or listened to) where I attempted to figure out this mystery. I tried solving each of the clues and codes as Teddy did. I was constantly wondering when they would be caught and the entire mission would be thrown out the window.

By the time I got to chapter 15 (about halfway through the book), I had a hard time putting it down. And that ending…oh my goodness. Not what I expected, but I loved the twist. It was different than anything else I have ever read.

If there was one thing that I had to get used to in this book, it was that the author used a lot of the terminology, history, and experiences that would have occurred in the 1950s; not only related to race and gender, but also psychology. I am not sure why it took me a while to put myself into that specific time period for context purposes, but it did. I don’t usually have this problem since historical fiction is one of my favorite genres.

Final Review

Do I think this is a good book?


Have I watched the movie?

Nope! I honestly didn’t even know that this movie or book existed until a few weeks ago. I hope that the movie is as good as the book, but I don’t hold my breath on that one anymore.

Would I recommend this to anyone and everyone?

Maybe… If you enjoy psychological thrillers then likely you will like this one, but as I have learned from my own experiences, it takes some time to figure out what you like and don’t like.

Overall, I think that Dennis Lehane did a great job developing the story. I was able to invest in the characters and had a pretty good understanding of their past. While there were obviously some parts where I wish I could just get to the good stuff, it didn’t deter me from completing the book. So, I would call that one a win.

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