I have to start off by telling you that I am not a big fan of police procedural stories. I picked up this TWO DAYS GONE knowing it was such, but gave the first few pages a read anyways. This story was so much more than just an investigation. The investigation was impressively described and the horror of a philosophical writer in a desperate situation kept my rapt attention.
TWO DAYS GONE is about Thomas Huston, a famous writer, whose family is slaughtered. The chief investigator, Ryan DeMarco, knows and respects the writer. DeMarco can’t believe Huston killed his family, the family he so cherished. Recently, in researching his new novel, Huston interviewed DeMarco for information on criminal behavior and legal information. During the interviews, DeMarco got to know Huston and the two became friends. So he sets out to investigate all the possible other suspects. Huston himself, is nowhere to be found.
During his investigation, DeMarco finds the beginnings of Huston’s newest novel. Huston’s notes provide some clues to recent dealings and a glimpse into his state of mind prior to the tragedy. Huston is a college professor so the suspects are unlimited. A rival of Huston? Was he having an affair? The number one question on DeMarco’s mind, beside where is Huston, is who is Anabel? There are a lot of literary references in this story. The author is obviously a fan of the writing process and goes into detail about how a writer like Huston might have developed fictional characters.
The novel takes place in a small college town in Northern Pennsylvania. The story alternates between DeMarco’s POV and Huston’s. We get to know both characters very well. I could feel the struggle for DeMarco to get to the truth no matter what. I could also understand Huston’s fragmented state of mind. Both men have complicated lives. Honestly, Huston looked a lot less messed up. His students worship him, but not all of his colleagues do. The author brilliantly uses prose to clue us in to Huston’s state of mind and his view of the world. DeMarco has his own demons with his wife estranged after the death of his child.
I loved the descriptive writing in this story. I could feel, smell, and see everything the characters did. The author revealed just enough to keep me hooked. I was very surprised at the reveal. Anabel becomes a key figure in this story, but she means different things to different people. That’s about all I am going to tell you.
I loved the mystery of this story. The thing that really kept my captive attention was the who-done-it in this story. The pacing in the writing was a bit slow. I found that even the reveal was drawn out, but so worth it. There are layers in this story that must be slowly removed. This mystery is beautifully written with believable characters. I can’t wait to read more of Ryan DeMarco’s story!
Two Days Gone by Randall Silvis
Series: Ryan DeMarco Mystery #1
Published by Sourcebooks Landmark on January 10th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Crime, Mystery & Detective, General, Police Procedural
ARC provided by BEA 2016, Sourcebooks
The perfect family. The perfect house. The perfect life. All gone now.
What could cause a man, when all the stars of fortune are shining upon him, to suddenly snap and destroy everything he has built? This is the question that haunts Sergeant Ryan DeMarco after the wife and children of beloved college professor and bestselling author Thomas Huston are found slaughtered in their home. Huston himself has disappeared and so is immediately cast as the prime suspect.
DeMarco knows-or thinks he knows-that Huston couldn't have been capable of murdering his family. But if Huston is innocent, why is he on the run? And does the half-finished manuscript he left behind contain clues to the mystery of his family's killer?
A masterful new novel by acclaimed author Randall Silvis, Two Days Gone is a taut, suspenseful story that will break your heart as much as it will haunt your dreams.
In late October, the Arctic Express begins to whisper south- eastward across the Canadian plains, driving the surface of Lake Erie into white-tipped breakers that pound the first cold breaths of winter into northwestern Pennsylvania. From now until April, sunny days are few and the spume-strewn beaches of Presque Isle empty but for misanthropic stragglers, summer shops boarded shut, golf courses as still as cemeteries, marinas stripped to their bonework of bare, splintered boards. For the next six months, the air will be gray and pricked with rain or blasted with wind-driven snow. A season of surliness prevails.
Sergeant Ryan DeMarco of the Pennsylvania State Police, Troop D, Mercer County headquarters, has seen this season come and go too many times. He has seen the surliness descend into despair, the despair to acts of desperation, or, worse yet, to deliberately malicious acts, to behavior that shows no regard for the fragility of flesh, a contempt for all consequences.
He knows that on the dozen or so campuses between Erie and Pittsburgh, college students still young enough to envision a happy future will bundle up against the biting chill, but even their youth- ful souls will suffer the effects of this season of gray. By November, they will have grown annoyed with their roommates, exasperated with professors, and will miss home for the first time since September. Home is warm and bright and where the holidays are waiting. But here in Pennsylvania’s farthest northern reach, Lake Wilhelm stretches like a bony finger down a glacier-scoured valley, its waters dark with pine resin, its shores thick on all sides with two thousand acres of trees and brush and hanging vines, dense with damp shadows and nocturnal things, with bear and wildcat and coyote, with hawks that scream in the night.
In these woods too, or near them, a murderer now hides, a man gone mad in the blink of an eye.
The college students are anxious to go home now, home to Thanksgiving and Christmas and Hanukah, to warmth and love and light. Home to where men so respected and adored do not suddenly butcher their families and escape into the woods.
The knowledge that there is a murderer in one’s midst will stagger any community, large or small. But when that murderer is one of your own, when you have trusted the education of your sons and daughters to him, when you have seen his smiling face in every bookstore in town, watched him chatting with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America, felt both pride and envy in his sudden acclaim, now your chest is always heavy and you cannot seem to catch your breath. Maybe you claimed, last spring, that you played high school football with Tom Huston. Maybe you dated him half a lifetime ago, tasted his kiss, felt the heave and tremor of your bodies as you lay in the lush green of the end zone one steamy August night when love was raw and new. Last spring, you were quick to claim an old intimacy with him, so eager to catch some of his sudden, shimmering light. Now you want only to huddle indoors. You sit and stare at the window, confused by your own pale reflection.
Now Claire O’Patchen Huston, one of the prettiest women in town, quietly elegant in a way no local woman could ever hope to be, lies on a table in a room at the Pennsylvania State Police forensics lab in Erie. There is the wide gape of a slash across her throat, an obscene slit that runs from the edge of her jawline to the opposite clavicle.
Thomas Jr., twelve years old, he with the quickest smile and the fastest feet in sixth grade, the boy who made all the high school coaches wet their lips in anticipation, shares the chilly room with his mother. The knife that took him in his sleep laid its path low across his throat, a quick, silencing sweep with an upward turn.
As for his sister, Alyssa, there are a few fourth grade girls who, a week ago, would have described her as a snob, but her best friends knew her as shy, uncertain yet of how to wear and carry and contain her burgeoning beauty. She appears to have sat up at the last instant, for the blood that spurted from her throat sprayed not only across the pillow, but also well below it, spilled down over her chest before she fell back onto her side. Did she understand the message of that gurgling gush of breath in her final moments of consciousness? Did she, as blood soaked into the faded pink flannel of her pajama shirt, lift her gaze to her father’s eyes as he leaned away from her bed?
And little David Ryan Huston, asleep on his back in his crib— what dreams danced through his toddler’s brain in its last quivers of sentience? Did his father first pause to listen to the susurrus breath? Did he calm himself with its sibilance? The blade on its initial thrust missed the toddler’s heart and slid along the still-soft sternum. The second thrust found the pulsing muscle and nearly sliced it in half.
The perfect family. The perfect house. The perfect life. All gone now. Snap your fingers five times, that’s how long it took. Five soft taps on the door. Five steel-edged scrapes across the tender flesh of night.
Win one of 2 copies of TWO DAYS GONE. US and Canada ONLY. Contests ends on January 31, 2017 and is sponsored by the publisher.