Monday, October 8, 2012

The fury of its own self-destruction creates an entirely new monster

I didn't MEAN to pick up another Lehane book. It just sorta happen. I tripped and found myself in the bookstore and then I ended up near the discount books and there's such good stuff there. I've made some bizarre rule with myself where I won't buy just one book. I have to find at least 2. Somehow that's my logic for buying less books. In other words, I don't understand logic.

ANYWAY, what I'm saying is I picked up another Dennis Lehane book because for whatever reason, those randomly show up on the discount table so I have to get them. This time it was Shutter Island. On the one hand, I really wish I didn't already know the ending*. On the other hand, I sorta loved the book anyway. Or at least really liked it.

This is very unlike the other Lehane's I've read**. It's about a crime but I don't think of it as a crime novel, like the other books. It's not as graphic or as violent. The setting is Ashecliffe Hospital, a hospital/prison for the criminally insane. And yet I'm never really worried about the psycho killers. So while it's unlike Lehane's other stuff in terms of plot, it still feels like one of his books.

It's 1954 and a patient has gone missing from the hospital so US Marshall Teddy Daniels has been called in to find her. The mystery is the hospital is located on Shutter Island. How do you escape an island? But Teddy and his new partner Chuck Aule learn that nothing is at it seems on this island. There's a missing doctor and overall no one seems overly concerned that there's an insane murderer wandering about.

The Night Circus was all about atmosphere. The plot was incidental. Here the plot and atmosphere work off of each other to create a really good story. It's creepy and it sucked me in. I wanted to know what happened next, I wanted to know what happened to Rachel and I wanted to know what was going on at this hospital. I didn't think deep thoughts. The other Lehane books got under my skin more. But this is a book I can see myself revisiting.

I haven't seen the movie yet. After reading this I really want to. So if you've seen it let me know how it is.

*Why no, I don't know the ending because of the movie, though that would be a logical conclusion. I know it because of a Cracked article. I ruined the ending for myself to read a snarky piece on a comedy website. Go me.
**Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone, Darkness Take My Hand, A Drink Before The War

Title quote page 223

Lehane, Dennis. Shutter Island. Harper, 2003.