Release Date: June 9, 2011
The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes by Marcus Sakey is quite simply, a brilliant book. And while I’m at it, Sakey is a brilliant author. I’m not much into crime/who-done-it books, but this has made me a believer; there’s something to them! At least there is to Sakey’s.
Daniel Hays wakes up naked and near death on a Maine beach. He has no idea who he is or how he got where he is, but he’s determined to find out. He finds a car with clothes his size, an insurance card with a California address, and a gun inside the glove box, but other than that, Daniel has nothing to go on. Sakey takes us though Daniels journey of retracing his steps back to California, towards the magnetic pull of a female star on a fictional TV drama. What I love most, is that Daniel knows nothing of what’s happening, and as a result, neither does the reader; and it feels very authentic and refreshing that way.
The story is told from three different points of view. Largely from Daniel’s, but there are two other’s whose take on what’s going on is both valuable and widely entertaining. Sakey’s way of writing is unique (quick, intense descriptions, short choppy sentences) and it’s quickly addictive. It adds so much to the novel and almost immediately, I was drawn into Daniel’s character.
Here’s a description that particularly caught my attention:
And finally, Malibu, nestled like a jewel in the warm bosom of the other coast. More beautiful than any place had a right to be. Golden sunlight, salt tang in the air, bungalows in faded shades of mint and turquoise next to multimillion-dollar wonders of glass and stone, waves rolling surfers to shore in long, slow breaks. Twenty-seven miles of beach and canyon, of palm trees and skies that promised never to cloud—except from wildfire smoke or mudslide rain. Celebrities huddled behind security gates while homeless philosophers dispensed wisdom outside organic cafés.
There are several flashbacks in the book, as Daniel is hit with bits and pieces of his memory, and I LOVE the say Sakey shows them to us. Since Daniel is a screenwriter, it only makes sense that his memories come back to him, and thus to us, in screenplay form. The impact these scenes have is wonderful. The story and plot is expertly woven together with great “didn’t see that comin’” twists.
As I don’t read this genre very much, I knew nothing about Sakey, other than Lee Child (a name I am familiar with because my mom loves him) made a connection between Sakey and Harlan Coben (another familiar name thanks to my mom) in a blurb for the book. So I was tickled pink when I saw that Sakey has 4 other books (all best sellers) and three of those four books are in development as films.
Why the PG-13 rating, if it was such a GREAT book? There are some vulgar subjects sporadically throughout the book—granted it’s through the unsavory character we get this info, so it has to be done—and a brief, non-detailed sex scene.
With action, twists and turns like the PCH, and SUPERB storytelling, The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes is a book you will not regret buying. Now go read it!
Happy Monday, my friends!