Teddy Daniels, a war ravaged, emotionally damaged US Marshal arrives on Shutter Island, home of Ashcliffe Hospital for the criminally insane. He is there to investigate the disappearance of one of the patients, Rachel Solando, a woman who is accused of killing her children after the death of her husband and who is now living in a made up world where her family is still alive. To aid him with this case Teddy has been assigned an unwanted partner, Chuck, who is the polar opposite of the main character, sunny and happy, able to talk to anyone about anything.
As soon as they begin their investigation, the two Marshals are faced with the impossible. How did Rachel escape from a locked room with barred windows, barefoot, in a storm without any of the orderlies or guards noticing her slipping past? Convinced that she had to have had inside help, Teddy begins to dig deeper which can only seemingly get him into trouble. What is really going on at Ashcliffe and why is no one allowed near Ward C?
As the story progresses details about Teddy's like begin to emerge and the readers learn of his personal links with the island and it's inhabitants.
I read this book after I had seen the film, in fact several months after. I felt like I knew all there was to know about the story and the characters and that I could predict how it was going to sound. However, the book was in fact (as I should have guessed!) much more convoluted and got me thinking much more about madness and how people could fall so easily into being labelled 'crazy'.
How well do you know your own brain? Could you convince someone that you are not crazy when everyone else is saying you are? How do you know you're not crazy? These are just some of the questions that this book raises, making you feel like you've been on one crazy emotional ride!
As well as raising the issue of what makes the insane insane the book also raises questions about experimental operations. It queries whether the horrific things done to a few can be forgiven if they benefit the masses. If they do benefit the masses at all.
Not only does the book make you think but it also does what it says on the tin. As a thriller it works brilliantly, it keeps you guessing. Who is on whose side? Who is telling the truth? It is a fantastic page turner and I read it within two days, wanting to know more, even having watched the film. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to delve into deep topics or anyone who simply wants a pretty good read!