Heads You Lose by Lisa Lutz and David Hayward

Genre: Mystery/Humor
Publisher: G.B Putnam’s Sons
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 301
Source: Copy Provided by Publisher

The Short Version:
A hilariously unique combination of mystery story and story of how the two authors collaborated to write it.

Why I Read It:
When I first heard about the book it sounded very different and quirky but at the same time something that might appeal to my sometimes dark sense of humor.

The Book
Paul and Lacey Hansen have been on their own since their parents tragically died. They’ve managed to stay in their family’s home but make their living with an illegal marijuana growing operation in the basement. So when a headless corpse shows up in their front yard, they’re not exactly eager to call the cops. Who’s dead, how and why ends up being a wildly and entertainingly meandering and darkly funny tale.

In addition to the story of Lacey, Paul, the corpse and all the crazy people in their rural northern California town, this book is also about how the book was written.

Liza Lutz and her former boyfriend David Hayward agreed to co-author this book in an interesting way. They agreed to a few rules:

  • They would alternate chapters with Lutz writing the odd chapters and Hayward the even chapters.
  • They would not plan out the plot ahead of time, each author would move on from whatever happened in the previous chapter.
  • They could not undo plot or action from the other person’s chapters.

The result is hilarious and a mystery in itself as to whether the co-authors will even be speaking to each other before the book is finished.

My Thoughts:
When I was telling The Hubster about this book he commented that ‘it sounds like part fiction, part non-fiction and part improv show’. He is absolutely correct.

The mystery written by Lutz and Hayward is a bit of a madcap story that twists and turns around a town full of quirky interconnected secondary characters. The added element of the authors themselves and their writing process interjected into the story is what makes it so unique and funny. In most of the chapters are footnotes to that chapter’s author made by the other as they read it. At the end of each chapter are their notes to each other and an ongoing story in itself. The comments on the other person’s writing, plotting, characters and ongoing conversation about their history together start out humorous and fun, but soon become a bit darker as they engage in a bit of revenge plotting when turns in the story introduced by one are taken in unexpected directions by the other.

I giggled my way through this and have been telling everyone I know who likes their humor a bit on the quirky and dark side to read it. The Hubster is reading it now and I’m enjoying hearing the giggles coming from his recliner.

If you’re looking for something a little different and a lot of fun, get this book.

Rating 4.5/5