Book Review: Two Days Gone by Randall Silvis

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Synopsis: 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?

Author: Randall Silvis

Title: Two Days Gone

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

Date: 2017

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I have a love/hate relationship with crime thrillers at the moment: most of the time, I guess the twist or know things aren’t what they seem – when the twist is revealed, I’m not surprised.

While my gut was telling me that things were not as they seemed in Two Days Gone, I couldn’t figure out what was going on.

A famous writer supposedly murders his entire family before taking off and hiding in the woods. Ryan DeMarco, the detective on the case, has a history with the suspect and can’t believe his friend would commit such a horrendous act of violence. But he has no proof; just a gut feeling as he searches the woods.

Something about the rhythm of Huston’s prose seemed to match DeMarco’s rhythm. He found himself thinking that he and Huston were tuned to the same frequency.

“Difference is,” DeMarco said aloud, “you’ve got talent and I’ve got sleep deprivation.”

Thomas – the writer – also narrates the book. His thoughts are fragments though, overcome with grief and guilt. In his own mind, he is guilty. He has committed a crime and doesn’t want to live with the consequences.

The writing was clever though: I’m not sure that the readers are supposed to believe it, despite the evidence. There is no phrase or paragraph that makes me think that, just the style of writing.

The plot was relatively slow paced – the entire book happens over a few days. While the tension increases dramatically towards the end, I felt the pace continued at the same speed. It helped immerse you in the world and the characters though, so a slow pace is not necessarily a bad thing.

Onto the characters… Ryan is a typically crime-thriller policeman. He’s got his haunted past that drives him to drink and is obsessed with his work because it is the only thing he has going for him. Honestly? I liked him but it felt that I had met his character before.

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While I did want him to overcome some of his demons and his commitment to finding the truth was great, his treatment of his colleagues bugged me. He was always rude to them, always swearing and never once appreciating their efforts. At the same time, he recognised when someone was afraid for their job and bolstered them up: he was a good guy but his treatment of his colleagues meant I couldn’t completely connect with him.

I felt Ryan was the only character we got to properly know. While Thomas shares the narration, his mind is such a fractured and grief-stricken place that although you could empathise with him, I – again – couldn’t completely connect with his character.

The murders in this book were horrendous. Not in the sense there is a lot of blood and gore etc, but because they are so chilling. Despite my lack of connection to the characters, the deaths really moved me and made me want the bad guy to truly get his comeuppance, whatever form it took. It was the brutality of the murders that kept me gripped: I had to know who was responsible and if the police could figure it out.

A good book, but not necessarily one to get your heart racing.

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7 thoughts on “Book Review: Two Days Gone by Randall Silvis

  1. Nice review.
    I completely understand you when you say you have a love/hate relationship with thrillers. I feel like I also read many of them lately and am just ready to take a little break from them.
    Ohh, I also wouldn’t be okay with the character who is mean to his colleagues and swears a lot, probably also drinks.
    U feel like it’s becoming a trope, to have that kind of main characters in crime novels, but then again maybe if we all saw what they’ve seen in their lives, maybe we’d be mean drunks too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I’m glad it’s not just me feeling inundated with them at the moment – I’m actively avoiding them right now.
      He could have been such a good character as well. I’m all for character flaws but this took it too far. Definitely – this sort of character feels cliche now.
      Thanks for the lovely comment!

      Liked by 1 person

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