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Shutter Island - Patient 67


Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane - Summary


"Shutter Island" is a gripping psychological thriller written by Dennis Lehane. Set in 1954, it tells the story of U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels and his partner Chuck Aule, who are sent to investigate the disappearance of a patient from Ashecliffe Hospital, a facility for the criminally insane located on Shutter Island.


The plot thickens when Daniels and Aule arrive on the island, which is soon hit by a hurricane, trapping them there. As they delve deeper into the investigation, they encounter a web of deceit, bizarre medical experiments, and a series of cryptic clues left by the missing patient, Rachel Solando.

Key Themes

  1. Reality vs. Illusion: The line between reality and delusion is a central theme.
  2. Psychological Manipulation: The novel explores the extent and ethics of psychological treatment.
  3. Conspiracy and Paranoia: The story is steeped in a sense of paranoia and conspiracy theories related to Cold War-era America.


  • Teddy Daniels: A U.S. Marshal haunted by his wife's death, driven by complex motives.
  • Chuck Aule: Teddy’s new partner, who plays a crucial role in the unfolding mystery.
  • Dr. Cawley: The enigmatic superintendent of Ashecliffe, who seems to be hiding something.

Plot Twist

In a shocking turn, it is revealed that Daniels is actually Andrew Laeddis, a patient at Ashecliffe. He is an arsonist who murdered his manic depressive wife after she drowned their children. The investigation was a role-play therapy designed to confront him with the truth of his actions.


The novel ends with a chilling ambiguity. Laeddis/Daniels is left to question his own sanity and reality, as he contemplates whether it is better to live as a monster or die as a good man.