Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Two Deaths Of Daniel Hayes - Marcus Sakey

The Two Deaths Of Daniel Hayes
Marcus Sakey
New American Library


“Who are you when you don’t remember who you are?”
A man regains consciousness on a frigid, rocky beach.  He’s naked, choking on sea water, and has no idea who he is or how he came to be here.  In fact, he has no idea where ‘here’ is.  It would be so easy to lie down and drift away, but step by step, breath by breath, he forces himself to survive.  Some way down the deserted road, he finds a car and uses it for shelter.  He decides the car might be his.  His only clue to his own identity is the name on the owner’s manual; an unfamiliar name attached to an address on the other side of the country.
In times of stress, it’s human nature to want to go home, but for some reason this prospect fills Daniel with dread.  He has no idea why.  In the early hours of this rebirth of sorts, he studies the stranger in the mirror, wonders why there’s a handgun in the glove compartment, and eludes a firing police officer.  Clearly, this isn’t just some hangover.  Something serious happened in his recent past.  He just has no idea what it might be.  There’s no way to know what kind of person Daniel was last week.  He has a very expensive car and a very expensive gun.  He clearly made the drive across the country fueled by booze and speed, so he’s running from something.  The police apparently want him for some reason.  And he’s plagued by nightmares that reek of guilt.  Those bare facts cannot come close to explaining anything.
This novel is one of those delightful finds.  It’s the kind of book that pulls the reader in completely from the very first page and will not let go until, like Daniel, you find the answers.  Many of the answers only raise more questions.  At once a thrill-ride and a convincing character study – even the most transitory of characters are utterly realistic – this novel keeps piling on the twists as Daniel uncovers layer after layer of his own life.  It was honestly difficult to put the book down to get some sleep.  When I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it.  And now that I’m done, I’m sorry this ride is over.  I’m very anxious to read more from this author.
Rating: 9
May 2012
ISBN# 978-0-451-23692-0 (trade paperback)


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