Monday, January 11, 2010

High School Picks

Shutter Island
by Dennis Lehane
Harper Collins, 2003
325 pages

Shutter Island is one crazy dream of a book. U. S. Marshal Teddy Daniels and his partner are sent to Shutter Island to investigate the disappearance of an escaped patient from Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane. Soon, they are neck deep in mystery--how does an insane woman escape from a locked room? What are the cryptic clues Teddy is receiving and who is leaving the clues? What really goes on in Ward C? Are the doctors a super-secret government medical team investigating drug experimentation and mind control? Since the story takes place in 1954, Lehane is able to use history fact and fiction to present a sense of disbelief yet belief that the U.S. government would actually use a mental hospital to experiment on mental patients.

In a superb twist, Lehane makes readers question what is really going on--who is in charge, who is really insane, who is sane, and what constitutes sanity? Is the whole island an experiment to control thoughts and behaviors? There is no one better than Lehane at capturing character through subtle action and dialog. Shutter Island ranks right next to Mystic River as a great character study. Any budding novelist should read Lehane to get dialog right. He is the master.

The movie starring Leonardo di Caprio as Teddy should be a spooky tale.

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