The New York Times, Esquire and Ben Affleck have all agreed: local author Marcus Sakey’s tale of two South Side criminals caught in a circumstantial crossfire in his first book, “The Blade Itself, ” is an instant classic. Last week, the mystery man picked up 2007 Strand Magazine Critics Award for best first novel. “I was really fortunate. It got a lot of buzz right away, so everything happened pretty quickly,” says the rising author. “It’s a city of so many contradictions and so much texture,” Sakey explains of his book’s setting, before citing rivalries such as that between the Cubs and the Sox. “Chicago becomes one of the characters.” As to his future plans, Sakey anticipates the release of his third novel, “Good People,” set to hit shelves next month.