Shutter Island tie-in: A Novel

Overview

The year is 1954. U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels and his new ­partner, Chuck Aule, have come to Shutter Island, home of Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane, to investigate the disappearance of a patient. Multiple-murderess Rachel Solando is loose somewhere on this barren island, despite having been kept in a locked cell under constant surveillance. As a killer hurricane bears relentlessly down on them, a strange case takes on even darker, more sinister shades—with hints of radical experimentation, ...

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Overview

The year is 1954. U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels and his new ­partner, Chuck Aule, have come to Shutter Island, home of Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane, to investigate the disappearance of a patient. Multiple-murderess Rachel Solando is loose somewhere on this barren island, despite having been kept in a locked cell under constant surveillance. As a killer hurricane bears relentlessly down on them, a strange case takes on even darker, more sinister shades—with hints of radical experimentation, horrifying surgeries, and lethal countermoves made in the cause of a covert shadow war. No one is going to escape Shutter Island unscathed, because nothing at Ashecliffe Hospital is remotely what it seems.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
In a masterful departure from the Boston-based hard-boiled mysteries he's known for, New York Times bestselling author Dennis Lehane (Mystic River) offers an atmospheric psychological thriller set in a 1950s asylum for the criminally insane. It's 1954, and up-and-coming U.S. marshal Teddy Daniels is assigned to investigate the disappearance of a patient from Shutter Island's Ashecliffe Hospital. He'd been gunning for an assignment on the island for reasons of his own -- but before long he wonders whether he hasn't been brought there as part of a twisted plot by hospital doctors whose radical treatments range from unethical to illegal to downright sinister. Teddy's code-breaking skills soon provide a promising lead, but the hospital refuses him access to records he suspects would break the case wide open. As a hurricane cuts off communication with the mainland, more dangerous criminals "escape" in the confusion, and the puzzling, improbable clues proliferate, Teddy begins to doubt everything -- his memory, his partner, even his own sanity. Sue Stone
New York Times
“Startlingly original…instantly cinematic…Shutter Island unfolds with increasing urgency until it delivers a visceral shock in its final moments.”
Orlando Sentinel
“Nightmarish…it’s not a book to start before bedtime. Even if you finish before dawn, Shutter Island will trouble your sleep.”
Miami Herald
“The ride this novel provides is as good as entertainment gets.”
Boston Globe
“Fasten your seat belts for a bumpy, breakneck ride…utterly absorbing…Shutter Island is an express train with no local stops…engrossing.”
San Francisco Chronicle Book Review
“Combines the claustrophobia of . . . Agatha Christie . . . with the creepiness of a good Stephen King yarn. . . . Good luck putting this one down.
USA Today
It has the headlong suspense and whopper of a story you would expect in any well-made thriller. — Joseph Barbato
The New York Times
The atmosphere is properly dark and moody, and so long as Teddy and Chuck stick to the manhunt and their investigation of Ashecliffe's creepy medical staff, they play their roles with muscle and grace. — Marilyn Stasio
The Washington Post
To read Dennis Lehane's Shutter Island is to enter a nightmare of madness, violence and deception. To finish the novel -- and it would be criminal even to hint at its ending -- is to be disoriented, perhaps angered, and finally to reflect on the ability of a master storyteller to play havoc with our minds. If we could bring back Edgar Allan Poe and equip him with today's postmodern bag of tricks, he might give us a tale as unexpected and unsettling as Shutter Island. — Patrick Anderson
The Boston Globe
If you're in the mood for mind games, Shutter Island is an engrossing read. — Sam Allis
The Denver Post
Shutter Island is a tremendously satisfying thriller. The suspense is molasses-thick with a plot that will keep you guessing. Lehane doesn't miss a trick. It's a great, fun read, and then there's that ending. You're sure to talk about this one over lunch. — Tom Walker
Publishers Weekly
Boston-area novelist Lehane has written a terrific suspense novel, an impressive follow-up to 2001's Mystic River. Shutter Island is off Massachusetts's coast, an army facility turned hospital for the criminally insane. When a beautiful-and certifiably crazy-patient escapes, U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels and his partner, Chuck Aule, are called in to investigate. Embroiled in uncertainties and mystery, the two soon learn there's much more at stake than simply finding one missing woman. Stechschulte gives a stirring performance. His portrayal of Daniels is convincing, and he reads the role with equal parts poignancy and toughness. Stechschulte is particularly adept at reading dialogue. For example, one stormy night at the hospital, Teddy and Chuck are playing cards with two of the hospital's workers. The quartet banters, calling each other's bluffs and having a grand old time, yet tones of racism underlie the conversation. Stechschulte handles the dialogue well, distinguishing between each voice and varying the pace between rapid back-and-forth and thoughtful, drawn out remarks. Simultaneous release with the Morrow hardcover (Forecasts, Apr. 7). (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
This crime thriller is probably Lehane's best book to date. Off the coast of Massachusetts is rather grim, gray, and forbidding Shutter Island, a penal colony for the criminally insane. Federal marshals Teddy Daniels and Chuck Aule are sent there to find a woman prisoner who has apparently disappeared. But how and where did she go? The island is heavily guarded, as is the twice-weekly supply ferry. Teddy also has another agenda: he seeks the man who killed his wife two years ago. Things are not what they seem as Chuck and Teddy, plagued by migraines and nightmares, dig deeper into the secrets that the island holds. Things reach such a pitch that you don't know whom to believe, which all leads to an ending worthy of Agatha Christie or O. Henry. [A film version, directed by Martin Scorsese, is being released in February 2010 —Ed.] Highly recommended for all public libraries. [LJ 5/1/03]
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal
This audio adaptation of Lehane's (Mystic River) new novel takes place in 1954 at an island hospital for the criminally insane just outside Boston. U.S. Federal Marshall Teddy Daniels is sent to Shutter Island to find an escaped killer; however, Teddy has two other tasks as well: locate the killer of his wife and investigate reports of the hospital's experiments with drugs and surgery as a means of mind control. All of this occurs as a hurricane sweeps across the island. This work, read by Tom Stechschulte, establishes a gripping, paranoid feeling, with several plot twists that hold the listener's attention. Lehane has created a cast of characters who may not be what they seem. An excellent thriller; recommended for all audio collections.-Stephen L. Hupp, West Virginia Univ., Parkersburg Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A pair of US Marshals are sent to an island-bound institution for the criminally insane to find an escaped murderer--in Lehane’s lollapalooza of a corkscrew thriller. The Cold War is simmering and a hurricane approaching the Massachusetts coast when Edward Daniels and Charles Aule, his new partner, arrive at Ashecliffe Hospital in 1954, the morning after Rachel Solando, a housewife who drowned her three children, has gone AWOL. How did she get out of the third-floor room she’d been locked into two hours earlier without disturbing the door or windows or any of the three orderlies between her and the outdoors? Other false notes seem even more disturbing. Rachel has left behind a series of tantalizingly cryptic clues as to her fate. Chief of staff Dr. John Cawley, Rachel’s psychiatrist, refuses to share his notes on her, his personnel files, or the treatment files of Dr. Lester Sheehan, her group therapist, who left for his vacation on the ferry that brought Teddy Daniels and Chuck Aule to the island. And the two marshals have brought baggage of their own: Teddy’s hunt for an arsonist he’s convinced is an Ashecliffe inmate and Chuck’s suspicion that the patients are being used as guinea pigs for some villainous new psychotropics. Inevitably, the hunters become the hunted, dissatisfied with reports that Rachel Solando has returned, determined to get to the bottom of the mind-altering experiments being carried out in the dread Lighthouse, separated from each other by natural and human assaults, and sought far more urgently by the ultra-secretive authorities than the woman they came to find. Will Cawley and company succeed in having them declared incompetent and preventing them from escaping?After an extraordinarily humane series of neo-noirs (Mystic River, 2001, etc.), Lehane has produced a brilliantly far-fetched page-turner that’s sure to be the most talked-about thriller of the year.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061807404
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/25/2009
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 633,137
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Dennis Lehane

Dennis Lehane is the author of ten previous novels—including the New York Times bestsellers Live by Night; Moonlight Mile; Gone, Baby, Gone; Mystic River; Shutter Island; and The Given Day—as well as Coronado, a collection of short stories and a play. He and his wife, Angie, currently live in California with their children.

Biography

Dennis Lehane knows Boston like the back of his hand. Born and raised in Beantown, he left to attend college and graduate school in Florida, but -- like a homing pigeon -- he returned soon thereafter. In order to support himself while he focused on his writing, he took a number of odd jobs that included counseling mentally handicapped and abused children, loading trucks, parking cars, working in bookstores, and waiting tables.

While he was still in college, he wrote the first draft of A Drink Before the War. Published in 1994, this Shamus Award winner introduced Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro, private investigators who live and work in Dorchester, the same blue-collar Boston neighborhood Lehane grew up in. Since their compelling debut, Kenzie and Gennaro have gone on to star in a gritty crime noir series acclaimed by readers and critics alike.

The idea for his breakout novel , 2001's stand-alone thriller Mystic River, came to Lehane while he was still writing the Kenzie-Genarro installment Prayers for Rain. The story of three childhood friends who share a dark past, Mystic River is a murder mystery with powerful psychological overtones. An immediate sensation, the book achieved blockbuster status when Clint Eastwood turned it into an award-winning film in 2003. Then, in his 2007 directorial debut, Ben Affleck adapted Lehane's favorite Kenzie-Gennaro novel, Gone, Baby, Gone, for the big screen.

Lehane's career shows no signs of slowing down, Since the success of his Boston-based mysteries, he has broadened his oeuvre to include television screenplays and short stories -- one of which, "Until Gwen," was adopted into a successful, limited-run play.

Good To Know

Some interesting outtakes from our interview with Lehane:

"My favorite job was parking cars."

"My favorite game is pool."

"I have an obsession with the color blue -- blue house, blue car, lots of blue shirts."

"I love good writing. Unequivocally. I think competition between writers is wonderful and healthy, but I never understood envy. When a peer writes a book that I know I couldn't have written, I feel the strangest elation because at this point I learn as much if not more from my peers as I do from the old masters."

"I unwind to Red Sox games and am a Patriots season ticket holder. The worst months of every year are February and March -- no baseball, no football, no point."

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    1. Hometown:
      Boston, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 4, 1965
    2. Place of Birth:
      Dorchester, Massachusetts
    1. Education:
      B.A., Eckerd College, 1988; M.F.A., Florida International University, 1993
    2. Website:

First Chapter

Shutter Island
A Novel

Chapter One

Teddy Daniel's father had been a fisherman. He lost his boat to the bank in '31 when Teddy was eleven, spent the rest of his life hiring onto other boats when they had the work, unloading freight along the docks when they didn't, going long stretches when he was back at the house by ten in the morning, sitting in an armchair, staring at his hands, whispering to himself occasionally, his eyes gone wide and dark.

He'd taken Teddy out to the islands when Teddy was still a small boy, too young to be much help on the boat. All he'd been able to do was untangle the lines and tie off the hooks. He'd cut himself a few times, and the blood dotted his fingertips and smeared his palms.

They'd left in the dark, and when the sun appeared, it was a cold ivory that pushed up from the edge of the sea, and the islands appeared out of the fading dusk, huddled together, as if they'd been caught at something.

Teddy saw small, pastel-colored shacks lining the beach of one, a crumbling limestone estate on another. His father pointed out the prison on Deer Island and the stately fort on Georges. On Thompson, the high trees were filled with birds, and their chatter sounded like squalls of hail and glass.

Out past them all, the one they called Shutter lay like something tossed from a Spanish galleon. Back then, in the spring of '28, it had been left to itself in a riot of its own vegetation, and the fort that stretched along its highest point was strangled in vines and topped with great clouds of moss.

"Why Shutter?" Teddy asked.

His father shrugged. "You with the questions. Always the questions."

"Yeah, but why?"

"Some places just get a name and it sticks. Pirates probably."

"Pirates?" Teddy liked the sound of that. He could see them -- big men with eye patches and tall boots, gleaming swords.

His father said, "This is where they hid in the old days." His arm swept the horizon. "These islands. Hid themselves. Hid their gold."

Teddy imagined chests of it, the coins spilling down the sides.

Later he got sick, repeatedly and violently, pitching black ropes of it over the side of his father's boat and into the sea.

His father was surprised because Teddy hadn't begun to vomit until hours into the trip when the ocean was flat and glistening with its own quiet. His father said, "It's okay. It's your first time. Nothing to be ashamed of."

Teddy nodded, wiped his mouth with a cloth his father gave him.

His father said, "Sometimes there's motion, and you can't even feel it until it climbs up inside of you."

Another nod, Teddy unable to tell his father that it wasn't motion that had turned his stomach.

It was all that water. Stretched out around them until it was all that was left of the world. How Teddy believed that it could swallow the sky. Until that moment, he'd never known they were this alone.

He looked up at his father, his eyes leaking and red, and his father said, "You'll be okay," and Teddy tried to smile.

His father went out on a Boston whaler in the summer of '38 and never came back. The next spring, pieces of the boat washed up on Nantasket Beach in the town of Hull, where Teddy grew up. A strip of keel, a hot plate with the captain's name etched in the base, cans of tomato and potato soup, a couple of lobster traps, gap-holed and misshapen.

They held the funeral for the four fishermen in St. Theresa's Church, its back pressed hard against the same sea that had claimed so many of its parishioners, and Teddy stood with his mother and heard testimonials to the captain, his first mate, and the third fisherman, an old salt named Gil Restak, who'd terrorized the bars of Hull since returning from the Great War with a shattered heel and too many ugly pictures in his head. In death, though, one of the bartenders he'd terrorized had said, all was forgiven.

The boat's owner, Nikos Costa, admitted that he'd barely known Teddy's father, that he'd hired on at the last minute when a crew member broke his leg in a fall from a truck. Still, the captain had spoken highly of him, said everyone in town knew that he could do a day's work. And wasn't that the highest praise one could give a man?

Standing in that church, Teddy remembered that day on his father's boat because they'd never gone out again. His father kept saying they would, but Teddy understood that he said this only so his son could hold on to some pride. His father never acknowledged what had happened that day, but a look had passed between them as they headed home, back through the string of islands, Shutter behind them, Thompson still ahead, the city skyline so clear and close you'd think you could lift a building by its spire. "It's the sea," his father said, a hand lightly rubbing Teddy's back as they leaned against the stern. "Some men take to it. Some men it takes."

And he'd looked at Teddy in such a way that Teddy knew which of those men he'd probably grow up to be.

Shutter Island
A Novel
. Copyright © by Dennis Lehane. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Interviews & Essays

Ransom Notes Interview with Claire Wachtel, Dennis Lehane's Editor

Claire Wachtel: I've been Dennis Lehane's editor since the beginning of his publishing career. When I read his first book, A Drink Before the War, I immediately realized that he was something special. He is a superb writer, whose work engages me every time I read it…and I read each manuscript at least three or four times as I'm working on it.

Mystic River is my all-time favorite of Dennis's books -- a fully realized novel that just happens to be a mystery. To me, that signals Dennis is no longer a genre writer, but a novelist in the sense of the literary greats.

Ransom Notes: What do you enjoy most about editing mystery/suspense books?

CW: I'm always enthralled by the unexpected in any genre, but there is nothing like the twists and turns and edge-of-the-seat suspense of a good mystery. This is especially true when the writing is as first-rate as Dennis Lehane's. In the case of Shutter Island, the characters are unique, the setting perfect for a thriller. And ultimately not knowing whose voice to trust made it as exciting as a roller-coaster ride.

RN: What did you think when Dennis Lehane first told you about his idea for Shutter Island?

CW: Dennis led several of us through the plotline, and we sat, riveted -- hanging on his every word. From the first I thought it was a brilliant idea, but I also thought it would be difficult to carry off, given the almost dual plots. Dennis handled this challenge superbly. Shutter Island is a tour de force.

RN: What did setting Shutter Island at a hospital for the criminally insane do for the story?

CW: It seems to me that the hospital setting is one of the keys to the book. I think Dennis did an amazing job portraying his characters' differing perceptions of realities, so at each turn the reader was left uncertain as to whom to believe. This really added to the suspense.

RN: What do you think setting much of the story in 1954 added?

CW: It seems to me that when dealing with conspiracy theories in novels, historical distance gives the reader an added perspective. Setting Shutter Island right in the middle of the McCarthy era signals readers that, based on what we know of history, something is amiss. One intriguing thing about Dennis's writing is that there always is a nub of truth. I think readers will come away from Shutter Island thinking it was a terrific read…and many will also find insights into issues that confront us in America today.

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Customer Reviews

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 6, 2010

    suspenseful!

    This book was selected by my book club. i'm not usually a huge fan of mystery books(although i did enjoy the davinci code), so i wasn't super excited to have to read it. imagine my surprise that i would, not only actually enjoy it, but not be able to put it down. finished in 4 days. rushed home to read it each day.

    twists and turns on every page. well written. perfect suspense set up. you almost never have a grasp of what is actually happening until you get to the very end. makes me want to read more by this author. makes me want to see the movie.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2010

    An intriguing psychological thriller.

    I felt the characterizations and plot kept you guessing about what was really occurring.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Everything is not what it seems

    I had received this book as a Valentine gift from my fiance, and I didnt read it when I first got it. But I started this book late Saturday night, and finished it late Monday night. LOL.

    I really did enjoy this book alot. The name and the advertisment of this movie is nothing what it seems. The book takes you in a whole other direction.

    The only thing I must say about this book. You have to read closely and play close attention to details. And when you finally get to the end, everything then starts adding up.

    Some of Dennis Lehane movies I have seen, and they were great!! But reading his books, are even better. I'm not going to be a kill joy, or bust anyones bubble about the plot of this book.But I will say this...everything is not what it seems!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Not worth all the hype

    I read the reviews, saw how the movie was doing, and decided to give it a read. Don't get me wrong. It was a good book. But I don't get how so many people are giving this five stars. I saw the ending coming with more than a hundred pages to go. That, to me, is not the twist that everyone speaks of. Go ahead and read, but don't expect to be mind-blown as everyone suggests.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2010

    Interesting book; Ending can have different interpretations

    I really enjoyed this book and mainly picked it up since I saw the movie was coming out. I wanted to read it and then see the movie. The book was definitely much better than the movie and you need the details (his thoughts) from the book to make the movie make any sense. It was a real page turner and had me guessing until the end. It is not a true mystery story. I don't care for those but do like books like this that keep you guessing on how it will end. It was an easy and fast read and I am recommending the book to others. I also ordered one of his other books to see if that is also a page turner.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 21, 2010

    Good Read. Fast Exciting

    An excellent book to keep you involved and not mentally overloaded. Good character development and great plot twists!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    absolutely amazing

    this book kept me reading in the Barnes and Noble cafe for hrs day in and day out

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 19, 2010

    What a Twist!!

    I read this book because my boyfriend is really pumped to see the movie. I was trying to finish it before the movie came out (today). And I had only read half of it as of this morning. I woke up and started reading this morning and I could not put it down until I was finished! The twists, the characters, the writing in this book everything was fabulous! It's also a fairly simple read too, it goes fast! I'm looking forward to seeing this movie, but I highly doubt the movie will be able to beat this great read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 8, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Full of twists and turns

    Once it gets its hooks in you, you can't stop reading. It really blew me away which rarely happens. I highly recommend this.

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  • Posted July 11, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    WOW keeps you on your toes!

    This was a good read, but you have to keep up. Some of the hints are there for the ending through out the book. Good writing, and mystery. IF you like a little off beat psycho stuff this is for you. The ending is the best part, but it gets you thinking.

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  • Posted April 24, 2010

    True Chilling Tale

    This book was very similar to the movie and held one's interest throughout. I thoroughly enjoy his writing and highly recommend this for interesting reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2010

    Really enjoyed this book

    This was recommended to me quite highly, so I was looking forward to it. I truly had no idea what the storyline was, even though there had been many television commercials for the new film. It was compelling, and I definitely didn't want to put it down. Lehane has a nice writing style, and created a wonderful visualization of the island for me. I don't want to give anything away, so I will just say that I really enjoyed the book, and was disappointed when it ended.

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  • Posted March 20, 2010

    Shutter Island

    I loved and hated this book. The writing was excellent, but the storyline reminded me of Chris Bohjalian's "Skeletons at the Feast", which nearly broke my heart when I read it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 13, 2010

    Good Read

    This book was a page-turner.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 21, 2010

    Capturing

    Great book! It will capture you from the beginning and keep you hooked until the end! You will not want to put it down! I loved it. Shutter Island will keep you on the edge of your seat!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted March 20, 2010

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    Posted June 14, 2010

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    Posted April 2, 2010

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    Posted February 20, 2010

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    Posted March 22, 2010

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews

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