Book Review: Two Days Gone by Randall Silvis

When the entire family of a local professor turned best-selling author is brutally murdered in their home, the husband in question, Thomas Huston, immediately becomes the prime suspect of the investigation. For many in the small Pennsylvanian town in which Two Days Gone is set, it’s a tough pill to swallow. By all accounts, Huston was a respected and upstanding citizen. What could have caused him to snap and murder his entire family? Or, more importantly, if Huston is innocent, who then committed the heinous crime?

It’s the latter question that Sergeant Ryan DeMarco, a firm believer in Huston’s innocence, sets out to investigate. From a petty dispute between colleagues to a weekly visit to a strip club out of town, DeMarco digs deeper into Huston’s life and tries to keep separate the lives of Huston his friend and a man he thought he knew, and Huston the author. With the assistance of Huston’s latest manuscript, the troubled days leading up to the murder of Huston’s family begin to reveal themselves. As fiction and reality begin to blur, DeMarco must begin to accept that the man he thought he knew was only one version of Thomas Huston.

Randall Silvis’s portrayal of his damaged and broken protagonists is nuanced and complex, and the intricate characterisation of his two leading men battling with their own demons does set Two Days Gone apart from novels in this genre. Both men seek redemption as the novel unfolds, and the depth and complexity of their emotions is revealed slowly and deliberately by Silvis. These are characters that will undoubtedly stay with readers long after Two Days Gone is finished.

Randall Silvis has written an intriguing novel that is less psychological thriller and more a psychological character study of two men whose lives intersected by chance, but ultimately become inextricably linked. It’s an enjoyable mystery that starts out slow but picks up in pace as DeMarco closes in on both Huston and the answer to the novel’s primary question: who killed Thomas Huston’s family?

Tonile Wortley lives in Sydney with more books than she’ll ever have time to read. She blogs at My Cup & Chaucer and by day works at Hachette.

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