Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes by Marcus Sakey

ThrillerFest is fast approaching and I've been fortunate to indulge my love for the genre with Jon Land's Strong at the Break, Joseph Braude's The Honored Dead (which isn't technically a thriller but I think it qualifies), and Marcus Sakey's latest novel, The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes. 
The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes
The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes by Marcus Sakey

The blurb:
A man wakes 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 an auto registration in the name of Daniel Hayes.

None of it is familiar.

Now did he get here? Who is he?  While he searches for answers, the world searches for him-- beginning with the cops that kick in the door of his dingy motel with guns drawn.  Lost and alone, 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.

Marcus Sakey's latest novel doesn't read like your typical thriller.  While it has the suspense, plot twists, and excitement in spades, Sakey's writing  is more complex and clearer.  It's a psychological drama with the excitement and action of a thriller. 

It opens with Daniel Hayes, wet and naked on a beach in Maine.  He comes across  clues to what seems to be his life, but he everything is hazy and uncertain.  He thinks he owns the BMW, that his name is Daniel Hayes, he dreams of this beautiful woman who he also sees on TV.   The only thing that seems real to him is his connection to this actress/soap opera character and so he travels across the U.S. to California to find this woman.  As he slowly realizes which of his memories are real, he tries to piece together what his life had been, what he might have done, and what dangers he faces.  But his loss of memory hasn't put the world on hold - the dangers that surrounded him, that had caused him to attempt suicide in Maine, still exist. And his enemies are still out there - even as he fails to recognize them.

Daniel's skills remain and he faces the dangers of the present and the ghosts of his past.  It's an exciting, engrossing read - highly entertaining and very much recommended!

ISBN-10: 052595211X - Hardcover $25.95
Publisher: Dutton Adult (June 9, 2011), 400 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher and Kaye Tours.

About the Author:
Marcus Sakey is the author of The Amateurs, Good People, At the City's Edge and The Blade Itself.   His books have been nominated for more than a dozen awards, named to multiple "Year's Best" lists, and translated into numerous languages.  Born in Flint, Michigan, he now lives in Chicago with his wife.

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