Randall Silvis, author of Two Days Out, cannot be pigeon-holed into one genre. I have never read any of his previous works but found quite a bit of information on the web. His first public successes occurred in the 1980’s and Silvis categorized his first book as one of magic realism. Although Two Days Out does not contain any “chase scenes” I believe an adaptation could translate well onto the big screen.
The vocabulary present in the novel made me reach for a dictionary. Spume-strewn, susurrus, sibilance appear in the first chapter and I needed definitions for each. In this way, Silvis reminded me of Faulkner. He is an author with a literary bent.
Two Days Out is a psychological thriller introducing State Trooper Ryan DeMarco to the literary world. His personal past is tragic. An only son killed in a car accident twelve years past, and neither he nor his estranged wife can get past the incident.
Thus, DeMarco’s role in Two Days Out contains conflict. He is the lead investigator in the crime of a family murdered and a missing husband. Thomas Huston, a college professor and best-selling author is the man on the run. More complexities arise from the relationship between the two men. DeMarco has a hard time reconciling his knowledge of Huston’s personality with a man able to kill his entire family. He not only wants to find Huston, but he also wants to discover the trigger which caused the man to snap.
Thomas Huston also struggles to align his flashbacks of the murders and the man he is. The reader is compelled as much by the psychological struggle within Huston as with the plot. Silvis’ conveys the moral tussles of his prey in a manner which creates both sympathy and disbelief. Secondary characters paint a picture of Huston incongruous to the events. The twist and turns of the plot add further intrigue.
As the plot unfolds, Silvis directly involves the reader in the age-old literary theme of good vs. evil. The causal event is one that divides our nation. An act which always brings into question right from wrong and in the case of Two Days Out is the tipping point. The trigger event allows the reader to see the story-line as realistic. Furthermore, the writer advances a higher level of thought which compels each individual to reflect on morality.
I highly recommend Two Days Out for mature readers. There are a few scenes unsuitable for individuals in their early to mid-teens unless there is parent oversight. The description of the victims is disturbing. However, this novel addresses dilemmas which hopefully few will face. The story is compelling and worthwhile.