Thursday, March 4, 2010

Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane

Martin Scorsese's version of Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane continues to draw in packed audiences. Not surprising considering the raw material he has to work with. Lehane has a tremendous reputation as a writer of dark, psychological suspense fiction. His fast moving plots will keep you guessing right to the end. His characters bring the stories to life with their rich inner lives and often humorous banter.

In Shutter Island, US Marshals Daniels and Aule investigate an escaped prisoner from the Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane on Shutter Island in 1954. The beautiful female prisoner was convicted of murdering her three children. Somehow, barefoot, she managed to escaped from a locked room and off heavily guarded island with no trace. Daniels and Aule receive little help from the hospital staff and they, themselves, fear that someone is trying to drive them insane. Aule disappears when a hurricane bears down on them and Daniels believes that someone may be using mind altering drugs on him. Daniels has his own demons from his past to work through in addition to the cryptic clues that someone is leaving behind.

Fans of fast moving, complicated psychological thrillers might also enjoy Bright Hair About the Bone by Barbara Cleverly. "In Burgundy, France, in 1926, a famed archaeologist dies a terrible death in a country not his own.…Thus begins CWA Historical Dagger Award winner Barbara Cleverly’s dazzling new mystery novel. And soon aspiring archaeologist Laetitia Talbot will find herself embroiled in a murderous conspiracy centuries in the making. Letty’s joy at snaring a place in the excavation of an ancient church in Burgundy is dimmed by the tragedy of her godfather Daniel’s violent death. But when Letty receives a posthumous encoded message, she begins to believe that Daniel’s death was not a random act. Her investigation into Daniel’s murder sends her on a journey into a country’s remote history into the orbit of a privileged French family harboring its own damning secret into ancient Celtic mysteries and one sacred truth kept through the ages. It is an explosive revelation that could rock modern Christianity—and force a killer out of the shadows as a country devastated by one war lays the groundwork for another." From the Trade Paperback edition.

Novelist suggests Pete Dexter, S.J. Rozan and Bill James as author read-a-like suggestions for fans of Dennis Lehane.

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