In an interview last week, Chicago novelist Marcus Sakey said ideas for his books emerge from “sheer panic” and called the challenge of finding an idea to write about every day for a year “daunting.” When he does choose an idea to work with, however, you can be sure it’s a good one, and that his execution will do it justice.
In that same interview, Sakey cites his inspiration for the driving force behind his newest thriller, The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes, as coming from fellow Chicago author Sean Chercover. Apparently Chercover quoted Negro League baseball player Satchel Paige (1906-1982), who once said: “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?” Sakey explains, “I just took that and I thought, who would you be, if you didn’t know who ‘you’ was? …I really tried to keep that front and center, [that] this guy is literally inventing himself as he goes along.” The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes revolves around a man who finds himself nearly dead with no memory of himself or his life prior to that moment. As he finds clues to his identity, however, and learns more about the circumstances that left him mostly drowned on a beach in Maine, he begins to wonder if he is really capable of the acts others claim he has committed.