Five years ago I read a great book by Randall Silvis called “The boy who shoots crows“. I was very impressed by the plot and the writing so was therefore happy to see another book by this author offered on Edelweiss.
Set in late autumn, “Two Days Gone” features two admirable and likable protagonists.
Sergeant Ryan DeMarco is a man with little hope in his life. His wife has left him. It would seem she found life with him intolerable after the traffic accident that killed their baby son. DeMarco was driving. Now, the only things left in his life are his work as a policeman, and a love of literature and the written word. He is an avid fan of the local author Thomas Huston and was Huston’s police adviser on his latest novel. The two become friends of a sort. Huston gave him an autographed, hardcover copy of his novel as a thank-you. The book was personally inscribed for DeMarco.
“DeMarco, on the other hand, had no center. He ventured out to other relationships from emptiness, and to emptiness he returned. Every action synchronized with nothing. Emptiness first, emptiness last, emptiness always.”
Author/Professor Thomas Huston is a bestselling novelist. He is happily married to a woman he adores and has three lovely children. When he is not writing he teaches a creative writing class at the town’s university. He has a perfect life – until – his entire family are found dead in their beautiful home. His wife and all three children slaughtered.
“Huston still had his wallet, his debit and credit cards and probably a little cash, but all of that belonged to another life, a life eradicated, an eviscerated life.”
Now DeMarco is tasked with finding Huston who has disappeared. Could it be possible that this man who had everything actually committed this atrocious act? DeMarco deploys officers to search the woods near Huston’s home.
Meanwhile, the reader enters the mind of Thomas Huston. On the run and reeling from the devastation he witnessed in his home, he is barely functioning. He reverts to his most base and animalistic form. He sleeps in a cave overnight, he wades through freezing water to deter the dogs who he knows must be on his trail… His mind wanders. He is disturbed and beyond distraught. Recent events have left him alternating between suicidal thoughts and thinking that he is a character in one of his own books.
“…a man in a cave in a situation that could only be fictional, was too horrific to be believed.”
While reading you wonder… Could this learned man with the perfect life be guilty? If he is what would make him turn to committing this heinous act? If he isn’t guilty, then what is there left in life for him?
A pivotal scene takes place in an old decommissioned lighthouse. A scene in which two men with little to live for make some profound decisions.
Equal parts literary fiction and psychological thriller, “Two Days Gone” is the very opposite of ‘uplifting’. Although the writing is superb, I cannot quite give it the 5 stars it no doubt deserves. The reason? The entire time I was reading it I felt down. The hopelessness of the protagonist’s situation didn’t leave room for a satisfactory or in any way positive turn to their lives. I liked both Thomas Huston and Ryan DeMarco, so I felt ‘bummed out’ while reading as I couldn’t imagine how their situations could improve, regardless of the outcome of the story. A ‘dark’ read with themes of loss and revenge, it is nonetheless very well written.
I received a complimentary digital copy of “Two Days Gone” from Sourcebooks Landmark via Edelweiss.
Randall Silvis was born in Clarion County, Pennsylvania. He is a novelist, a playwright, a screenwriter, and a teacher. He has been published and produced in virtually every field and genre of creative writing. His numerous essays, articles, poems and short stories have appeared in several magazines, both in print and online. His work has been translated into ten languages.
Silvis’s many literary awards include two writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the prestigious Drue Heinz Literature Prize, a Fulbright Senior Scholar Research Award, six fellowships for his fiction, drama, and screenwriting from the Pennsylvania Council On the Arts, and an honorary Doctor of Letters degree awarded for “distinguished literary achievement.”