THE TWO DEATHS OF DANIEL HAYES is the riskiest book on my “money back guarantee” list for a simple reason: Not everyone is going to love it.

THE TWO DEATHS OF DANIEL HAYES has already met with a great deal of critical acclaim, and rightly so. Marcus Sakey is simply a gifted author, and this layered, complicated, intricately detailed story is not one bit self-indulgent (unlike a certain tale of a tattooed young woman that I could mention, but won’t).

But here’s the rub: If you’re looking for an easy read, this isn’t it. THE TWO DEATHS OF DANIEL HAYES will raise your heart rate and blood pressure. It will keep you up past your bedtime. It will frustrate you because just when you think you have it all figured out…you don’t. Trust me, you really don’t.

So what’s it about? No easy answer to this. It’s about a guy who has amnesia. It’s about good and evil. But it also includes subplots that shine a light on love and marriage, the criminal justice system, celebrity culture, American geography, and more. THE TWO DEATHS OF DANIEL HAYES starts with a bang on a cold and deserted beach in Maine, and takes a wild and gloriously twisted road from there.

It all starts on a beach in Maine…

If you’re looking for a book in which you can lose yourself, THE TWO DEATHS OF DANIEL HAYES fits the bill. It’s a standalone novel, and you need not have read Sakey’s previous novels to appreciate it. My experience reading this book was interesting, too, because I took longer with it because the typeface was small, and so I couldn’t read it at night (when I have to put goop in my eyes that makes small fonts blurry). This meant I sometimes went several days between sessions of reading it, but each time I picked it up, I had no problem remembering where I’d left the story. I didn’t have to backtrack a few pages, which is unusual for me.

One of my most common complaints about books (yes, I do complain sometimes) is that some novels have too many characters. Authors can occasionally throw in characters that don’t serve a real purpose, or there are just so many that keeping track of who’s done what to whom is cumbersome. While THE TWO DEATHS OF DANIEL HAYES has a large cast for sure, Sakey gives the right amount of attention to each. He gets the balance just right. I never had to flip back to a character’s last appearance to remember his or her role.

So are you brave enough to read THE TWO DEATHS OF DANIEL HAYES? Ready to lose some sleep and need to take deep breaths? I hope so.

Oh, and that critical acclaim I mentioned? Have a look:

Blurb: A tremendous story from an author who is among the young masters.

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