I can honestly say that this book creeped me out in a very big way. It's 9 AM in the morning and I have spent the last three hours turning pages because I just HAD to get Terry Daniels, US Marshal off that evil rock of an island safe and sound. UH OH ... government conspiracy theory may go out the window. Wait, what? WHAT?
This is a book so horrifying because it hits you right where you are the most vulnerable - your fear of losing control and your grip on reality. Loss of control is the scariest of scary situations for most people. It's what causes the panic for anyone who has a phobia. It's the premise behind strapping you into hellish amusement park rides, It's the dirty little secret behind why we inwardly squirm and steer clear from people who are obviously delusional. Being out of control or being in a situation where we have given control over to others who don't honor our vulnerability is terrifying. What's equally terrifying is being with someone who you think is solid, only to find that they are a quivering mass of psychoses. What seems real turns out to be unreal. What's unreal is the comforting way you wish things would continue. BUT ... if things go bad with the unreal situation , then what? THEN WHAT ?
US Marshal, Terry Daniels is a rock of a guy - smart, strong, always thinking. He's had his hard knocks in life. He's seen the worst of fighting and liberation activities during WWII. He's slowly bounced back from a drinking problem that he hangs on a case battle fatigue and become an esteemed US Marshal. He's slowly recovered from the tragic death of his wife in a horrid apartment fire. But he misses her and remains obsessed with finding the worthless dirtbag that set the building on fire. On top of it all, he's sent to Shutter Island to investigate the disappearance/escape of a deranged inmate. This, while actually doing undercover investigating for a US Senator into the top-secret psychiatric experiments that the staff are performing on inmates at the facility. This is a recipe for a classic cop thriller, but readers get more than they bargained for here ... and that's all I'm going to say about that.
Lehane has given his fans a story that will haunt them and make them return to the book to ponder Daniels, his partner, the doctors, the inmates, the events on Shutter Island and ultimately, the nature of reality and how we perceive it, deal with it, and live with it.
Shutter Island certainly fits with a current literary challenge that I've hooked up with ... RIP IX and I'll be sharing this reaction with the others at the review site.