Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes (Marcus Sakey)

I remember reading a magazine article about Marcus Sakey a few months ago, which deemed The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes as the next great thing in literature. There have only been a few books that I remember with that much "word-of-mouth" exposure before it was even printed...The Lovely Bones being an example. I was anxious to get my hands on this book, as I had never read Sakey. I love to be introduced to authors I have never read before, because sometimes I will read their entire repertoire...Kate Morton being the last. Well, Sakey stops here.

This is the story of a man who wakes up naked on a beach in Maine, not knowing his name, where he came from, or how he got there. He finds a BMW with a driver's license inside that guessed it...Daniel Hayes, and a gun in the glove compartment. Working with very vague memories, such as having to turn the TV on at a certain time to watch a show, he tries to piece his life together bit by bit. The police are also on his tail, but why?

When Daniel finally begins to figure things out, the novel takes a sinister tone. He realizes that things are not always what they seem. With echoes of The Fugitive, Daniel desperately tries to get his memory back before it is too late.

Very often in crime thrillers such as these, the author chooses to write a slew of characters. This is often confusing to the reader. To Sakey's credit, he focuses on just a few, weaving them in and out of each other's story. I also liked how Sakey used the fact that Daniel was a writer to include scripts in the story.

Sakey divides this novel into parts with, what are supposed to be, huge cliffhangers at the end of each. Usually, if a novel is written well, the reader can't wait to find out what happens next. I just didn't get that feeling, which is disappointing. I didn't get that sense of anticipation, as, I would think, most readers would be able to guess what will happen next.

While not a page-turner, many readers of crime thrillers and mysteries will enjoy it. Just don't expect to be awed.


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