Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Review: The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes by Marcus Sakey

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Adult (June 9, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 052595211X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525952114

Product Description


Marcus Sakey returns with his most ambitious novel, a captivating story of love and memory, where the only thing more frightening than the questions are the answers.

A man wakes up naked and cold, half-drowned on an abandoned beach. The only sign of life for miles is an empty BMW. Inside the expensive car he finds clothes that fit perfectly, shoes for his tattered feet, a Rolex, and a bank envelope stuffed with cash and an auto registration in the name of Daniel Hayes, resident of Malibu, California.

None of it is familiar.

What is he doing here? How did he get into the ocean? Is he Daniel Hayes, and if so, why doesn't he remember? While he searches for answers, the world searches for him-beginning with the police that kick in the door of his dingy motel, with guns drawn. Lost, alone, and on the run, the man who might be Daniel Hayes flees into the night.

All he remembers is a woman's face, so he sets off for the only place he might find her. The fantasy of her becomes his home, his world, his hope. And maybe, just maybe, the way back to himself.

But that raises the most chilling question of all: What will he find when he gets there? 
Lee Child Reviews The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes
A native of England and a former television director, Lee Child lives in New York City, where he is at work on his next thriller, The Affair

Like any reader, I love my old favorites…but I love new voices too, and I especially love it when a new voice starts to become an old favorite. It doesn’t happen often, but right now it’s happening with Marcus Sakey.
I read his first book pre-publication, and his next four confirmed what I sensed at the start, which was that this guy is the real deal and the complete package. He’s got it all. He writes likes a dream (or a nightmare), he creates characters exactly like people you know (or don’t want to know), he scares you (or makes you laugh), and above all keeps you turning the pages.

But most of all, he does the “what if” thing better than anyone in the business. What if you’ve gone straight for years, and then an old buddy gets out of prison and tries to drag you back? What if you get back from Iraq and find home is worse than the desert? What if you buy a house and find a bag of cash hidden in the floor? Would you keep it? What if you saw a way to steal a bad guy’s money - no harm, no foul? Would you do it?
“What if” questions power a lot of plots, but Sakey is special. He doesn’t just check a box or construct a neat twist for the sake of it. Reading him between the lines, I guarantee he really lives this stuff…he thinks it through and sweats it out, probably for weeks at a time. I can see him, looking around at the things he loves, looking at his house, turning and looking at his wife, asking himself, “What if? What is I had to put all this at risk? Would I? Could I? How would it feel? What would be the effect on me?”

It’s that kind of depth and intelligence and passion and emotion that sets Sakey apart.These are not just clever plots. These are real people with night sweats and wide eyes and everything to lose.

The new book The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes takes “what if” in a new direction and to new heights. Every writer muses, “What if the reader isn’t sure whether the husband killed his wife, or not? That’s a basic whodunit. But Sakey asks, ‘What if the husband isn’t sure whether he killed his wife, or not? That’s a terrific premise, and it boosts an already–terrific thriller plot into the stratosphere. Add in LA’s easy glitz and glamour, and coast-to-coast chase tension, and a bad guy to die for (or be killed by, and shocks and surprises galore, and you’ve got the kind of story you’ve never read before.

Or, to sum it up in one line, a what-if question of my own: what if Dennis Lehane wrote a Harlan Coben story?

--Lee Child

About the Author


Marcus Sakey is the award-winning author of The Amateurs, Good People, At the City's Edge, and The Blade Itself. He lives in Chicago.  Click Here To Go To His Website.

My Review

This novel had my full attention from the first page and never lost it.  It is one of the best crime drama/thrillers I've read this year so far.  The book opens with Daniel Hayes struggling for life in the ocean off Maine.  He has no idea where he is or who he is...he has amnesia.

I don't want to give too much away or just rehash the plot line here.  Since Daniel has amnesia, the reader discovers things when Daniel does.  There are so many twists and turns and surprises that the reader becomes completely immersed in the story and you really cannot stop have to know what is going to happen next. The characters, the plot, the settings...everything works perfectly to move the narrative along at a breakneck pace that does not detract from the story telling.  I love the introspection where Daniel explores himself and his world throughout the novel.  Who are we really? Do others really know us?  Do we really know other people?  The amnesia prompts Daniel to really delve into himself and to ponder those who have been around him.  Does he really know his wife? Issues of trust and issues of identity flow through this wonderful tale.

I highly recommend this entertaining, intriguing, fast-paced crime drama/thriller. So thrilled to have discovered this amazing new-to-me author. If you are like me you won't be able to put it down.  5 Stars

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