Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes

I really enjoyed Marcus Sakey's 2010 thriller, The Amateurs, and decided to pick up his latest offering, The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes.  Thanks to a very intriguing plotline, interesting characters, a villain who you'll love to hate, and this past Sunday's thunderstorm, I finished this novel in one sitting. 

The plot begins right off with a man struggling out of the Atlantic Ocean near Maine.  He washes up on shore with no recollection of who he is or why he's there.  A beautiful BMW is near the shore and he makes his way to it.  Inside, he finds take-out wrappers, a US atlas, several hundred dollars, a gun, and an ID.  The ID says "Daniel Hayes" who is from Malibu, California.  He assumes that he is Daniel Hayes, but there are several nagging questions.  What happened to his memory?  If he is Daniel Hayes, why is he in the ocean in Maine?  And, most disturbing of all, why did he need a gun?

Daniel soon realizes that the answers are not in Maine, but in Malibu.  He begins a cross-country journey with no idea of what awaits him when he arrives in California.  Along the way, little snippets of his life come back to him.  He sees a woman on television who seems very familiar to him.  She is on a sitcom that takes place in Malibu and he just knows that his past is somehow connected to her.  Finding this woman becomes his goal.  But is he prepared for what awaits him?

I really enjoyed this story and, while it takes the normal twists and turns that most thrillers take, I found the characters themselves to be the highlight of the story.  Watching Daniel try to put together the pieces of his life only to be frightened by what he finds makes for a great reading experience.  While I felt one of the twists at the end to be a bit forced, the book is a real page-turner.

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