We analyze a two-body non-Hermitian two-site Sachdev-Ye-Kitaev (SYK) model with the couplings of one site complex conjugated to the other site. This model, with no explicit coupling between the sites, shows an infinite number of second-order phase transitions, which is a consequence of the factorization of the partition function into a product over Matsubara frequencies. We calculate the quenched free energy in two different ways: first in terms of the single-particle energies and second by solving the Schwinger-Dyson equations of the two-site model. The first calculation can be done entirely in terms of a one-site model. The conjugate replica enters due to non-analyticities when Matsubara frequencies enter the spectral support of the coupling matrix. The second calculation is based on the replica trick of the two-site partition function. Both methods give the same result. The free-fermion partition function can also be rephrased as a matrix model for the coupling matrix. Up to minor details, this model is the random matrix model that describes the chiral phase transition of QCD, and the order parameter of the two-body model corresponds to the chiral condensate of QCD. Comparing to the corresponding four-body model, we are able to determine which features of the free energy are due to the chaotic nature of the four-body model. The high-temperature phase of both models is entropy dominated, and in both cases, the free energy is determined by the spectral density. The chaotic four-body SYK model has a low-temperature phase whose free energy is almost temperature-independent, signaling an effective gap of the theory even though the actual spectrum does not exhibit a gap. On the other hand, the low-temperature free energy of the two-body SYK model is not flat; in fact, it oscillates to arbitrarily low temperature. This indicates a less desirable feature that the entropy of the two-body model is not always positive in the low-temperature phase, which most likely is a consequence of the non-hermiticity. Published under an exclusive license by AIP Publishing.