I love Dennis Lehane's Patrick and Angie series. That's why when Shutter Island first came out in 2003, I tried to read this book and failed. It was so … melodramatic … compared to his other books. And from viewing the copyright page, it appears that Lehane wrote elements of it as early as 1994. Perhaps "Shudder Island" would be more appropriate.
Other readers felt this book was "beneath" Lehane, and that kept me away even longer. It wasn't until promos for the movie version started a few weeks ago that I decided to take another look at it.
I still feel it's melodramatic and lacks Lehane's earlier (or later, depending on how much of it he wrote pre-Patrick and Angie) contemporary sizzle. But now I can value a little more the suspense and the twist Lehane labored so hard to achieve. I can see why this might be an actor's dream to play Teddy Daniels, the cool and cunning investigator sent to find a patient missing from an institution for the criminally insane on Shutter Island.
There are a few books I think make better movies than books. Perhaps this will be one of them.