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Like any reader, I love my old favorites…but I love new voices too, and I especially love it when a new voice starts to become an old favorite. It doesn’t happen often, but right now it’s happening with Marcus Sakey.
I read his first book pre-publication, and his next four confirmed what I sensed at the start, which was that this guy is the real deal and the complete package. He’s got it all. He writes likes a dream (or a nightmare), he creates characters exactly like people you know (or don’t want to know), he scares you (or makes you laugh), and above all keeps you turning the pages.
But most of all, he does the “what if” thing better than anyone in the business. What if you’ve gone straight for years, and then an old buddy gets out of prison and tries to drag you back? What if you get back from Iraq and find home is worse than the desert? What if you buy a house and find a bag of cash hidden in the floor? Would you keep it? What if you saw a way to steal a bad guy’s money - no harm, no foul? Would you do it?
“What if” questions power a lot of plots, but Sakey is special. He doesn’t just check a box or construct a neat twist for the sake of it. Reading him between the lines, I guarantee he really lives this stuff…he thinks it through and sweats it out, probably for weeks at a time. I can see him, looking around at the things he loves, looking at his house, turning and looking at his wife, asking himself, “What if? What is I had to put all this at risk? Would I? Could I? How would it feel? What would be the effect on me?”
It’s that kind of depth and intelligence and passion and emotion that sets Sakey apart.These are not just clever plots. These are real people with night sweats and wide eyes and everything to lose.
The new book The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes takes “what if” in a new direction and to new heights. Every writer muses, “What if the reader isn’t sure whether the husband killed his wife, or not? That’s a basic whodunit. But Sakey asks, ‘What if the husband isn’t sure whether he killed his wife, or not? That’s a terrific premise, and it boosts an already–terrific thriller plot into the stratosphere. Add in LA’s easy glitz and glamour, and coast-to-coast chase tension, and a bad guy to die for (or be killed by, and shocks and surprises galore, and you’ve got the kind of story you’ve never read before.
Or, to sum it up in one line, a what-if question of my own: what if Dennis Lehane wrote a Harlan Coben story?
Photo of Lee Child © Sigrid Estrada
Powerful storytelling, a complex protagonist, and a sure grasp of the thriller conventions make this a deeply satisfying read.
Starts off fast and never slows down. I finished this book in one day. Great summer read.Published 6 days ago by Barbara
Overall I enjoyed the book, it was well thought out and entertaining although I did find the lead character left me wanting...Published 25 days ago by Kaitlyn S
I found the first pages very intriguing and wondered what I would do/think in that situation. The story has lots of twists and turns. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Aufton Wunderbar
The plot was poor at best, the book just dragged on.
I read it all the way through and hated every minute of it.
This books jumps right into the story and carries through to the end. I could not stop until the endPublished 2 months ago by NMom
I was ready to be disappointed in this book. It seemed that the ending was going to be predictable and then at the very end Sakey pulled out some surprises that were completely... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Scott Shorey
I buy books and put them on bookshelves to read when I have or make time. I have not read this one yet but will comment more in the near future.Published 3 months ago by S. Clark
This book was a very entertaining beach read. Really quite twisty until close to the end and then slightly predictable if you are an avid mystery reader. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Astraea
The first part of the book is good. It's realistic enough that your mind can go with it. The part with the cop is a bit wild. Read morePublished 5 months ago by johne72