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The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes by Marcus…

The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes

by Marcus Sakey

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The topic of amnesia intrigues me, now add that it's a suspense genre. Furthermore, read the first few paragraphs. The absence of this man's memory creates a dire need within the reader. This man is naked and was washed up on the beach struggling to just kick in his survival skills. He somehow has the ability to deduct what part of the country he is in. The clothes he finds in a lone, near-by BMW fit him. Now he drives and pushes to recover something, anything that tells him who is Daniel Hayes. ( )
  BONS | Oct 6, 2016 |
Interesting plot that grabs your attention right away. What happened to this poor guy? Who is he? Where is he? Why is he naked in the ocean freezing? All questions get answered only to have more asked. I think the plot was a bit predictable, but it was fun getting there. ( )
  Djupstrom | Mar 20, 2014 |
(at least 18 months since I read this. Might be a little vague)

"'Y cuidate lo que dices,' Daniel replied over his shoulder, then did a double take. Huh. I know Spanish. Cool."

Daniel wakes upon on an "apocalyptic beach, water frothing beneath a shivering sky, wind a steady howl over the shoals", naked and with no memory of how he got there, why he's there, or even who he is. In an attempt to resolve the mystery, he gets in the car and heads as far west as he can, piecing his life back together before it gets ripped apart again.

This sort of "forgotten identity" novel is pretty unusual and the whole plot construct was impressive. He gets back West and then ends up in a cat and mouse-with-no-memory game, no idea who he can trust, what is true, what is an illusion, what is a mis-memory. It gets very confusing as lots of people play multiple characters or there are only glimpses of them and Daniel isn't sure who they are.

As a result, the characters don't have to be particularly magnetic; Daniel is a dark sort of person who is driven to anger and violence by extreme circumstances. Bad guys are bad guys, the wife is a bit strange but in the end her motivations are straightforward enough. I particularly liked the older woman, Sophie, the guiding aunt figure - she's a useful plot device and a nice person into the mix.

The emptiness of the Hollywood life is laid out pretty starkly here - less humorously than in The Lawgiver. Daniel and Laney's relationship is sweetly captured in emails and notes - actually a funnier way to give credence to an unlikely romance. I did not see the enormous twist at the end coming at all - I couldn't figure out what was going on for ages and then it suddenly hits you. Not sure that's where I wanted it to end up, but it's all slick and throws the rest of the book into the right angle to make sense of.

Interesting, unusual, massive twist at the end. ( )
  readingwithtea | Dec 19, 2013 |
I couldn't stop reading this. And I loved the ending... ( )
  WinstonDog | Apr 4, 2013 |
4.5 stars

My blog post about this book is at this link. ( )
  SuziQoregon | Mar 31, 2013 |
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"There is no future without an identity to claim it, or to
be obligated to it. There are no caging norms. In its very
precariousness the state is pure and free."

~Nadine Gordimer, The Pickup
For Scott Miller and Ben Sevier, who've had my back from the beginning
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He was naked and cold, stiff with it, his veins ice and frost.
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Waking up half-drowned on an abandoned beach with no memory of who he is, a man stumbles on a BMW and assumes the identity of the person whose papers and clothes he locates inside, soon finding himself targeted for the man's alleged activities.

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