Heads You Lose

Heads You Lose

by Lisa Lutz, David Hayward

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Overview

Dave, I just finished the first chapter of a new novel-a real crime novel with a dead body and all-and I thought of you...

Paul and Lacey Hansen are pot-growing, twentysomething siblings sharing a modest rambler of a home in rural Northern California. When they find a headless corpse on their property they can't exactly call 911, so they simply move the body to another location. Let somebody else find it. Instead, the corpse reappears on their land. Clearly, someone is sending them a message, and it's getting riper by the day. But that's only half of the story...

Enter authors Lisa Lutz and David Hayward-former real-life partners (professionally and personally) who have agreed to reunite for a tag- team mystery novel written in alternating chapters. One little problem: they disagree on pretty much every detail of how their novel should unfold. While the body count rises in Paul and Lacey's wildly unpredictable fictional world, so too does the intensity of Lisa and David's rivalry. The result is a literary brawl like no other, and a murder mystery every bit as unanticipated (and bloody).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780425246849
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/03/2012
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 704,536
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Lisa Lutz is the New York Times bestselling author of the Spellman comedic crime novels. Since 2007, the Spellman series has received Edgar, Anthony, and Macavity nominations, and each title has been a selection of the Indie Next List. Lutz lives in San Francisco.

David Hayward is a writer and editor in Northern California. His poetry has won a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in Harper's and other magazines. Hayward has an MFA in poetry from the University of California, Irvine. This is his first novel.

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Heads You Lose 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 85 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was a lot of fun. The issue that I had with it, as I read an eBook version, was with the footnotes. In the paper books she writes, half the fun is the footnotes - but in the electronic version, the footnotes were all at the end of the entire book, which made paging back and forth really annoying, and in the end, too much work. So, the electronic version lost that entire element. If you are a fan of Lisa Lutz, as I am, I would NOT recommend the eBook version!!
Felonious More than 1 year ago
This was a Goodreads first reads give away. I was thrilled when I found out I won this book. The book was a collaboration between two authors. Lisa Lutz would write the first and all odd numbered chapters and David Hayward would write the even numbered chapters. There was to be no discussion or outline, they would read the others chapter then add their own and pass it back and forth until they finished. I thought the premise was unique and held possibilities in an experimental way. I received the book and read the editor's notes. I was a bit worried when I found out that David was an ex-boyfriend of Lisa's. Before the story gets started and between each chapter, the two authors write notes and critique each other. After the first 5 or 6 chapters I was loving this book and was sure it was going to get 4 or even 5 stars. The notes between David and Lisa were as interesting as the murder mystery. There were a few passive aggressive things going on, like when Lisa told David he should do some back story for some of the characters, David did just that including a back story for the cat. When Lisa suggested that some of his language was a bit too 'high end' (and she didn't want to Google so many words), David toned down his language throughout his next chapter and in parenthesis added definitions to words that most people would already know. At first this kind of thing was humorous and didn't harm the story. By the time I got to chapter 10 or so, things were falling apart. It seems to me that the writers let their pettiness and egos get in the way of the story. Instead of building on each others characters and adding to the story they seemed to spend their chapters tearing each others characters down (including killing them off) and trying to repair damage to their characters (including making them just injured and not dead). Towards the end they (the writers) were making comments about who is winning and losing. In my opinion neither one of them won and the story ended up losing. A collaboration and a competition are not the same thing. As a mystery it had a strong beginning, but the more you read the more erratic it became. It went from solving one murder to solving 9 possibly 10 if you count the 4 possibly 5 people killed years earlier. The characters personalities kept changing with every chapter so by the end of the book you didn't care who did it or who might die next and you wouldn't have been a surprised if the cat (Irving, my favorite character) turned out to be the killer. By chapter 20 or so I had a good guess at who the killer was going to be (and I was right), so according to their notes I knew who did it before the writers. I didn't have all the details figured out until the end (and neither did the writers from what I could tell). The only thing that kept this book from getting 1 star and staying off my 'burn-pile' shelf was the fact that I actually liked a lot of the writing by both authors. As far as experiments go I can't say this one failed (an experiment is something you do to see the results) but I can say that I didn't like the results of this experiment. I wouldn't mind seeing this experiment tried again, but by two writers that didn't have so much animosity towards each other. I would only recommend this book to people who want to know what NOT to do during a collaboration.
Twink More than 1 year ago
I often recommend Lisa Lutz's The Spellmans series to readers who have finished the Stephanie Plum books and are looking for another light hearted fun mystery series. Heads You Lose is a stand alone book and is a collaboration with David Hayward....who just happens to be Lisa's ex-boyfriend. And it is this connection that makes this book so much fun to read. So, in the novel, we meet brother and sister Lacey and Paul. They're twenty somethings living in a small town in California. They also grow pot for a living. When a headless corpse appears on their property, chances are it could be work related. But, the ideal thing seems to be to move the body elsewhere to be found given their profession. When the body appears yet again in the front yard, Lacey recognizes it this time as her ex-fiancee. Lacey decides to give the sheriff a hand solving the case...with Paul's help of course. Lisa writes the first chapter and subsequent odd numbered chapters; David does the even numbered. Emails between the co authors preface each chapter and barbed footnotes abound. The subtle sniping between the two is hilarious. Each chapter takes a new direction as characters are added and killed off. (and brought back!) Clues abound as each author tries to steer the direction the book should take by adding their own twists. "Another idiotic duck reference was all Lacey had to show for her visit with Marybeth Monroe. It was if some outside element were at work, temporarily putting the brakes on her investigation." The town is populated by wildly quirky characters, seemingly random clues and red herrings galore - a source of contention between Lisa and David as the outcome is not pre determined. Heads You Lose was such an entertaining, laugh out loud read. I hope the two authors can put their differences aside and collaborate again. No wait....it works much better for us if they don't get along!
Lynie More than 1 year ago
Paul and Lacey Hanson are orphaned siblings in their twenties, living together and supporting themselves by growing and selling marijuana. They bicker about anything and everything, but one thing they agree on; because of their illegal activities, they can't call the sheriff when a headless corpse shows up on their property. They move the body to a place they're sure it will be found pretty quickly but won't be connected to them. When the headless corpse reappears on their front lawn, Lacey and Paul embark on their own investigation, each going off in their own direction. In typical Lutz style, the humor increases as the bodies pile up. HEADS YOU LOSE is a fun read even if it were just your average quirky mystery, but it's not. The format for the collaboration between former lovers Lutz and Hayward gives this one a whole new spin. Their plan to co-author this book together is for Lutz to write the first and all odd numbered chapters and Hayward to write the even numbered chapters, without the benefit of outlining or discussing the plot. Neither could undo the other's chapter content. After each chapter, they've provided their critiques and responses, evidencing an escalating battle of wills to determine the direction the story will take and which characters will be killed off. Their humorous repartee sent me to Google to see if they've reunited romantically, because they sounded like every married couple on the planet who ever decided to do a lengthy project together, kicking and screaming all the way! All in all, it's a fun read with a new spin. If you're already of fan of the Spellman series, you won't be disappointed with this light-hearted mystery. Lynn Kimmerle
harstan More than 1 year ago
In California, Paul and Lacey Hansen are twentyish brother and sister whose parents are dead. The orphaned siblings grow pot to sell in order to earn some money. However, their smoke hazed world is shook when they find a headless corpse in their land. The headless body places the siblings at odds with each other; a normal occurrence. The only thing they agree to is they cannot call the cops as they will be busted for growing weed. They relocate the corpse, but a few days later the headless body returns albeit a lot smellier. The pair decides after haggling to investigate who killed the person without a head and why their dump of a property is a dumping ground. With a nod to the Spellman family chronicles and to Hitchcock's The Trouble with Harry, Lisa Lutz and David Heywood collaborate (in the blind) on a jocular crime caper starring two siblings who humorously battle one another over who should do what. Simply put when it comes to pot or not, readers know what the Hansen duet choose without a flip of the coin. The Spellman crowd and any one who relishes a zany over the top crime thriller will appreciate the insanity of Paul and Lacey, the poster kids for keeping pot illegal. Harriet Klausner
crabbylibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The main story of Paul and Lacey Hansen, small town pot growers, was mildly amusing. The footnotes and notes I found extremely annoying. So much so that I stopped reading them after the first couple of entries.
TheBoltChick on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Loved, loved, loved this book! Lisa Lutz, author of The Spellman series decides she wants to collaborate with another author to write her next book. She chooses her old boyfriend, a poet by the name of David Hayward. She approaches him with the ground rules... each will write alternating chapters and neither can edit the work of the other. Upon publication, the novel itself is interspersed with the correspondence and footnotes between the authors. This makes for two books in one. The mystery.. about Paul & Lacey, brother and sister pot dealers who find a headless body on their property, and the "backstory".. Lisa and David and their collaboration/combat that occurs throughout.I found this book laugh out loud hilarious. The mystery is a decent story in and of itself, but the jabs back and forth between the authors is hysterical. It is further exacerbated by the authors each trying to undo things they didn't like the other doing in a previous chapter. For example, in one chapter Lisa kills off a character that David loves. David proceeds to resurrect him in the next chapter, only to have Lisa kill him again in the subsequent chapter.What a great book!
miyurose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was kind of a crazy book. I loved the back-and-forth format, which was only enhanced by the bickering between the two authors. Paul and Lacey are unlikely heroes, but when someone dumps a dead body on their property, they¿re left with little choice.As a seasoned mystery reader, it¿s difficult to guess where the story is ultimately going, because the authors themselves don¿t really have any idea. Promising clues turn into dead ends, and red herrings abound. People die, then come back to life, only to die again. And behind all the twist and turns, there¿s the story of two siblings who need to figure out what they¿re doing with the rest of their life. Obviously, selling pot in their dead-end town isn¿t going to cut it much longer.I am a big fan of Lutz¿s Spellman Files series, and her quirky sense of humor really holds this story together. I loved the wild ride, and anyone who has enjoyed the Spellman Files should go out and get this book.
libsue on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Paul and Lacey Hansen are twenty something pot growers in Northern California. One evening they come upon a dead, headless, body in their yard. Realizing they don't want the police traipsing through their house they dispose of the body only to find it reappear in their front yard. I didn't find anything in the book funny, but so many reviewers said this was a laugh out loud funny I'm left to wonder if I just missed the joke?
mikedraper on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lisa Lutz if the successful author of the Spellman crime stories. In this novel, she co-authord with David Howard, a poet and Lisa's former boyfriend. They write alternate chapters and between chapters, they debate the merits of the prior chapter and the possiblilites of the plot in the next chapter. This givies an excellent insight into the writer's thoughts.How would someone react if they found a decapitated body in their front yard but couldn't call the police for fear that the police would discover the pot that was growing behind the house?Paul and Lacey Hansen are in their mid-twenties. They live in their parents' home after their parents died during a vacation. With college debts and a bleak job market, they began selling pot to discriminating markets, such as people with chronic pain and the residents and employees at an assisted living facility.Lacey is the more curious of the two. As this part of the action was taking place, I was reminded of the movie, "A Weekend at Bernies." Paul and Lacey bundle the body up and drag it to Paul's truck and then dump it at a hiking path at a nearby rest stop.After this, they expect to hear about someone finding the body but soon after, Lacey is startled to find the body back in front of their home. This time, Lacey recognizes a tattoo as that of her old boyfriend, Hart Drexel.The story takes many turns and twists as Paul and Lacey try to solve the murder themselves. Lacey is a character who is reminiscent of the wonderful character of Janet Evanovich, Stephanie Plum. She bumbles her way through the story attempting to find everyone's alibi. Suspects continue to wind up dead and even the authors argue about what should come next.This story was such a hilarious escapade that I was enjoying the fun so much that I didn't want it to end.
noranydrop2read on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Laughing Out LoudI've been trying to review this book in a more sophisticated way than my initial response ("OMG, so funny!!!" does not really constitute a proper review). Few books make me laugh out loud in a "the guy next to me on the plane keeps looking at me like I'm nuts), but there wasn't much breathing room between bouts of cracking up as I read HEADS YOU LOSE. The premise is brilliantly metafictional and the execution flawless. Lisa and David are supposedly former romantic partners who have decided to collaborate on a mystery novel. Since they don't get along, their method of collaboration consists of alternating chapters. In between chapters, their email exchanges are included. It's hard to decide which is funnier; the increasingly messy murder mystery as the writing turns from collaboration to competition/revenge, or the hostile e-mail jabs between the co-authors (Lisa reminds David that he wouldn't be publishing a novel without her name THAT BIG on the cover; David mocks Lisa's grammar and word choice). The mystery begins with siblings Lacey and Paul finding a headless body on their property. Since they grow marijuana, calling the cops is not an option, so they move the body...and it comes back. The metastory begins in such a polite, civilized e-mail exchange, swiftly switching to pointed criticism (ostensibly of the written work, but clearly about their relationship issues) and outright hostility. The characters and plot of the novel suffer (to hilarious effect) from the co-author bickering. During one chapter, I laughed so hard I cried. Trust me, while the whole novel is funny, you'll know when you get to this particular chapter, a response from David to Lisa's exasperation with the unnecessary big words he throws around). Recurring disagreements are brilliantly teased out as Lisa kills off David's favorite character and David refuses to provide any explanation for a plane crash early in the novel. The characters snipe at each other in eerie echoes of Lisa and David's issues, and serious disagreements on the plot make for an increasingly bizarre novel-within-a-novel.This books is funny. Go read it.Source disclosure: I received an uncorrected proof courtesy of Penguin Group.
LisaLynne on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Heads You Losestarts with a very clever idea: crime novelist Lisa Lutz asks ex-boyfriend David Hayward, a published poet, to collaborate on a mystery novel with her. Lisa writes the first chapter and sends it to David; he writes the second chapter and sends it back. They alternate, odd and even chapters, and manage to write a funny, interesting crime novel with some great twists and turns. The story is good, but the interaction between the two co-authors (their footnotes on each other's chapters and their emails between chapters) is better.They had a few simple rules:"Lutz would write the first chapter and all odd-numbered chapters thereafter. Hayward would write the even ones. They would not outline or discuss what they were working on. Each author would read the other's chapter 'blind.' Neither author was allowed to undo a plot development established by the other."I think Lisa cheated on that one a little.Paul and Lacey Hansen are siblings sharing a home in rural Northern California. Their parents were killed in a freak accident and currently they make their living growing and selling pot. So when a headless corpse is dumped on their property, they can't really risk calling the sheriff. They move the body, they wait for someone to find it, and someone does -- Lacey, a few days later, dumped in their driveway. And she may know who it is.It's a great beginning! It's got all kinds of possibilities. You could really plot a terrific mystery from a lead-in like this. Of course, our collaborators aren't plotting much of anything -- they write a bit, hope the other follows their lead (they don't) and then the fireworks start.Our authors bicker like siblings. By the beginning of chapter eight, they are sniping about a road trip to Reno a decade earlier and when they should have stopped for gas on the drive into the desert. They fight about vocabulary, they fight about plot points, they fight about who is the more accomplished writer and they are not above threatening each other's favorite characters to make a point. If David wants to hang onto Paul's stripper girlfriend and Irving, the cat, he had better stop threatening Doctor Dreamy! The bodies are starting to pile up.The mystery is fun (I think Lutz and Hayward are both good writers, even if they don't think much of each other), but it is interesting to read it knowing they are truly making it up as they go along. They obviously identify with the siblings and are living vicariously through them -- sometimes to great comic effect. A clever, original idea and very well executed.
MurderMysteryMayhem on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A co-authored mystery novel.This offbeat approach to writing a mystery pairs Lisa Lutz, of the Spellman crime series, with ex-boyfriend and poet David Hayward. Things start off well with each author writing alternating chapters. The main characters are established - Paul and Lacey Hansen, a brother and sister living in Northern California and growing pot for a living - and the plot device, a headless corpse found on their front lawn, is revealed. Or is it?The actual plot device becomes Lutz and Hayward¿s shared history and the comments to each other after each chapter. Once the first snarky remark is fired off old resentments bubble up and the collaboration turns in to a grudge match. Both authors work to undermine each other¿s story line by sabotaging characters, killing off suspects and creating red herrings, blind alleys, and improbable situations. The mystery doesn¿t really matter. Just sit back and watch the writers get in each other¿s way. Amusing....
krissa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was fun. I don¿t know what I enjoyed more, the twisting story (some on purpose, some sabotage) or the bickering in between each chapter (and sometimes in footnotes at the bottom) by the authors. These were fun, believable characters (if sometimes 2 dimensional) that everyone has meet at least one example of in their life. I have lived in a small town, and couldn¿t help but picture it as I read this story. As outlandish as some of the things that happened in the book were, there were many I could see happening. I really liked both Lacey and Paul, I never really found myself taking sides. I found myself wanting to support them and strangle each of them in equal measure. Like many mystery main characters, they both did some stupid things. If you are an author this book is worth the read for the twists and turn the authors throw each other, and how they try and out write each other. A great summer read. =D
KatPruce on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What a unique little gem of a book! This novel was extremely playful with its language and it seriously augmented my vocabulary. I didn't even know some of these words existed before reading them (mostly in David Hayward's chapters) - for example: caliginous (misty, dim; obscure, dark) and asperous (rough; uneven). There were hilarious messages between the authors separating the chapters. They were honestly my favorite parts of the book...personal anecdotes that eventually erode into bitter (and funny) banter. After Lisa's many complaints over David's pretentious vocabulary choices he cleverly disrespects her in Chapter 14...I literally laughed out loud. Also, there are footnotes throughout the story (inserted by the other co-author) that kept me snorting with amusement. Such a fun and quirky book!
BeckyJG on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Once upon a time Lisa and David were an item. A thing. A couple. Now they're not. But they are still friends, mostly. One day Lisa has an idea: Why don't I send David this first chapter of a crime novel and propose a collaboration? He's a poet, so he could certainly use the money he'd make by collaborating with me, the bestselling author of the Spellman Files novels. So she did, and they did, and Heads You Lose is the result. There were a few ground rules. They would communicate only in writing, they would write without an outline or foreknowledge of what the other was going to do, and they wouldn't edit each other's work.Gimmicky? For sure. A bit precious? Without a doubt. Hilariously funny? You betcha.So here's the story, as outlined in that very first chapter. Lacey and Paul Hansen are twenty-something siblings, orphans, who live in Northern California on the property they inherited from their parents. There they have a small but moderately lucrative pot growing operation. Lacey, taking the trash out after losing a coin toss one evening, finds a headless body on the front steps. As they're packing the body up to dump it off the property--hey, they'll be good citizens and put in an anonymous call to the police...but they sure can't have the cops stomping around the grounds now, can they?--Lacey recognizes the body's watch. It belongs to her ex-boyfriend.The story gets weirder and more and more convoluted as the two writers work hard to make each other sweat, introducing new characters out of left field and plot twists that make even the reader wonder how the next guy's going to make it work. The comic mystery that ensues is surprisingly effective if completely off the wall. Each chapter is footnoted with snarky comments from its reader, and is followed by a back and forth of letters between Lutz and Hayward. Ultimately, although this work is novel as novelty, it also serves as a kind of post-modern/absurdist commentary on contemporary genre writing and its plethora of factory-style collaborations (James Patterson, Clive Cussler, and Tom Clancy--cha-ching!--come immediately to mind).
andsoitgoes on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Notes between authors were stupid and added nothing to the story but to make the authors look petty. Mystery wrap up was lousy. One of those books that you can't believe got printed.
JackieBlem on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is Lutz's first stand alone since The Spellman files, and it's certainly a lot different. It's an experiment of sorts--she's written half the chapters and a poet and ex-boyfriend of hers David Hayward has written the other half. The deal was that they write "blind", not making an outline or even speaking to each other directly about the project. They allowed them on short note to each other at the end of every chapters as well as some commentary footnotes, but they couldn't edit each others' work. It certainly made for an interesting, if disjointed, read. There is no getting lost in the mystery because it was really two stories-- one being the murder mystery involving a headless corpse found by a pot growing mismatch of brother and sister and the hilarity of amateur investigations in small towns,the other was Lisa and David snarking at each other throughout the book, sabotaging characters and plot lines at every opportunity. It is an entertaining and unique read that may surprise her fans, but was an interesting introduction to Lutz for me.
24girl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
For Lacey Hansen getting out of the small town she lives in is easier said then done. She lives in her childhood home with her brother Paul and together they grow marijuana in the basement. As she's throwing out the trash late one night Lacey hears a large swarm of flies and wanders over to investigate what she thinks might be a deer. Turns out its a headless body. Unable to call the cops because of their side business Lacey and Paul devise their own solution to the problem but that just sends them on an unbelievably wild adventure. This book was a collaboration between Best Selling author Lisa Lutz and her ex-boyfriend David Hayward. Their interaction is just as much a part of the novel as the storyline itself. They each take turns writing a chapter and at the end of each one there are messages to each other that are freaking hilarious!! There are also footnotes written by the reading author throughout the book that are laugh out loud funny. Don't even get me started on chapter 14, PURE GENIUS!! I highly recommend this book if you love comedy mixed in with murder, blackmail, drug dealing and other bad deeds.
Jenners26 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
About The Book, Part 1This book is about Paul and Lacey Hansen, pot-dealing sibling orphans in their 20s who are barely making a living in the rural Northern California town of Mercer. When a headless body shows up on their front lawn, they decide to deal with the problem themselves. After all, why invite law enforcement into your home when you¿re growing illegal plants in the basement? Of course, when the corpse reappears a few days later, they realize that maybe they can¿t make the problem disappear quite so easily. Yet neither one shies away from a little amateur sleuthing.About The Book, Part 2This book is about when Lisa Lutz (author of the comedic Spellman crime series) and her ex-romantic partner David Hayward (poet ¿ who was published in Harper¿s once) write a book together¿alternating the writing of chapters. The initial discussion about the ¿ground rules¿ and the between chapter commentary (as well as the reading author¿s footnotes on chapters) are all included for our reading pleasure. For me, the interchange between the authors was the best part the book. I never grew tired of hearing Lisa and David settle past scores, argue over plot points and exact revenge for artistic decisions made in previous chapters. From Lisa¿s repeated ¿assassinations¿ of David¿s most loved characters to the ongoing refusal of both authors to deal with the mysterious plane crash that takes place early on in the book, I was rolling in laughter at the interchange between the two authors and could not wait to find out what each chapter would bring and how each would deal with the various plot points they threw at each other.One of my favorite parts was Lisa¿s ongoing criticism of David¿s use of ¿10 cent¿ vocabulary words and overly esoteric plot developments¿prompting him to write an entire chapter in what Lutz terms ¿Dick and Jane nonsense.¿ As the characters of Paul and Lacey increasingly begin to represent our authors, we see various nonsensical character traits emerge for the various supporting players. For example, Lisa gives Paul a stripper girlfriend who limps after experiencing a pole-dancing accident. David retaliates by making the stripper (Brandy Chester) have a genius IQ. Another favorite moment was when David introduces a doppelganger cousin to replace a favorite character that Lisa has killed. Lisa fights back by offing the cousin, who David then revives at the hospital, and who is then killed again by Lisa.In short, the book is a whole bunch of fun. Forget about the mystery part (although, despite all odds, I think they managed to tie everything up fairly well), which is a bit of mess. The real pleasure of this book is the collaborative (and often combative) approach that authors took while writing it. The give and take between the authors is hilarious, witty and endlessly amusing. I found myself on pins and needles between each chapter¿not so much for the ¿suspense¿ of the mystery¿but for the suspense of how each author was going to screw over the other.It is fun to to see two obviously intelligent and funny people spar in a creative way, and Heads You Lose is a true gift to readers everywhere. (And you can be sure I¿m going to check out Lutz¿s Spellman series.) Highly recommended! Go and get it now¿ you won¿t be sorry!
KingRat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have a pet peeve. 99% of the uses of passive aggressive on the Internet completely get the definition of the term wrong. Normally I¿m a descriptivist, but on this one I get really irritated that few actually bother to get it right. Passive aggressive is a term for when a person pretends they agree with someone, but then secretly sabotages that agreement. It does not mean agreeing to something even when people would rather not. It does not mean anonymous notes. It does not mean passive. It is not a catch-all category for general douchebaggery.Why do I bring this up? Because the premise for Heads You Lose is an attempt to fake passive aggressive behavior. According to the promotional material, Lisa Lutz and David Hayward were once a romantic item that didn¿t work, but have maintained a friendship ever since. Lisa Lutz gets an idea for a bang-up whodunnit, and enlists her erstwhile partner to collaborate. They will alternate chapters with the improv stipulation that one is not allowed to directly undo the work of the other. My friends and I used to do something similar to screw off in the back of class, though we were each responsible for only a paragraph at a time.It¿s a gimmick. But it¿s not the real gimmick. The real gimmick is that Ms. Lutz and Mr. Hayward have unresolved issues with each other that come out while writing the book. These are revealed in the letters written to each other that appear between the chapters, and the footnoted commentary each writes on the other¿s chapters. Neither thinks too highly of the co-author, and works to sabotage the characters and plot developments introduced by the counterpart, while still staying within the agreement not to directly undo the work of the other. It would be passive aggressive if the authors didn¿t spell out their disagreements in the interstitial material.Paul and Lacey Hansen are the main characters. They are twenty-something orphans making a living as pot-growers and sellers in a small town in northern California. Lacey discovers a body in their yard, and rather than call the police (because of the grow operation in their basement) they move the headless body to remote rest area and think they are done with it. But several days later the body is dumped back in their property so Lacey hastily calls the police. Never minding that the police are on the case, the kids decide to investigate themselves. Of course they do. It¿s a mystery novel. Amateurs always investigate in mysteries.All this is a great premise, both for the underlying story as well as for the real story of Mr. Hayward and Ms. Lutz¿ bickering. It would be an awesome book, if the carping was believable. It¿s not believable at all. There¿s no punch to any of the digs the authors throw at each other. From one of the inter-chapter letters:Heads You Lose sounds like the perfect title to me, too. Finally, you¿ve made a substantive contribution to the book.That¿s what you got? The banter between me and my brother has more bite, and we like each other. I don¿t know them, and I missed their appearances in Seattle earlier this month, so I can¿t judge even the scripted reality they¿ve been presenting. Nevertheless, the whole thing feels very very contrived. It appears to be pretend arguing, and pretend undermining each other.The premise is that we¿re watching a train wreck of a personal relationship. But it doesn¿t feel like a real train wreck, and so it¿s just not all that interesting. I nearly put the book down after 200 pages because of it. Even if it¿s faked, they could have made some digs that actually sting.Maybe it¿s me. Perhaps if I¿d grown up to be a proper society person, where an awkward social situation is a major deal, this would have been an enjoyable of a book. Perhaps I just don¿t have a sense of humor. I¿ve been accused of that in the past. I love good comedy, but I laugh at about 5% of what my friends do. Will Ferrell? Hate all his movies but one. Seth Rogen? Not funny. Julia Sweeney? She¿s funny. I
Twink on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I often recommend Lisa Lutz's The Spellmans series to readers who have finished the Stephanie Plum books and are looking for another light hearted fun mystery series.Heads You Lose is a stand alone book and is a collaboration with David Hayward....who just happens to be Lisa's ex-boyfriend. And it is this connection that makes this book so much fun to read.So, in the novel, we meet brother and sister Lacey and Paul. They're twenty somethings living in a small town in California. They also grow pot for a living. When a headless corpse appears on their property, chances are it could be work related. But, the ideal thing seems to be to move the body elsewhere to be found given their profession. When the body appears yet again in the front yard, Lacey recognizes it this time as her ex-fiancee. Lacey decides to give the sheriff a hand solving the case...with Paul's help of course.Lisa writes the first chapter and subsequent odd numbered chapters; David does the even numbered. Emails between the co authors preface each chapter and barbed footnotes abound. The subtle sniping between the two is hilarious. Each chapter takes a new direction as characters are added and killed off. (and brought back!) Clues abound as each author tries to steer the direction the book should take by adding their own twists."Another idiotic duck reference was all Lacey had to show for her visit with Marybeth Monroe. It was if some outside element were at work, temporarily putting the brakes on her investigation."The town is populated by wildly quirky characters, seemingly random clues and red herrings galore - a source of contention between Lisa and David as the outcome is not pre determined. Heads You Lose was such an entertaining, laugh out loud read. I hope the two authors can put their differences aside and collaborate again. No wait....it works much better for us if they don't get along!
ethel55 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
For fans of the Spellmans, the good news is that footnotes and asides survive in this new collaboration of Lutz's with a former boyfriend David Hayward. Written and told by alternating authors and narrators, this murder mystery of brother and sister pot growers Paul and Lacey Hansen is a circuitous tale. One headless body, many red herrings and font sizes, the authors battle back and forth to see who moves the story forward with a better eye. It was a fun gimmick and very quick to read.
Nodosaurus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Heads You Lose tells the story of Paul and Lacey Hansen. They are pot grower who find a headless body in their yard and are afraid to call the police. So they move the body, and it comes up again. They begin their investigation involving some odd characters in a small town. The characters personalities change from chapter to chapter, events happen out of the blue, and it is otherwise a disappointing mystery.But that isn't what the book is about.The book is about the authors. Formerly a couple, who decided to co-auther a book. They are strictly hands-off for what the other person creates, well, sort of. The rules are they alternate chapters and do not undo or strongly change what the other has written. But they threaten each other, they mess with each other's characters, and the banter makes the book!Each chapter indicates which author wrote that chapter, a saving grace! I constantly referred to the header to see whose chapter this was, the writing author was in a normal font, the other was slightly grayed. Each chapter ends with a letter from the chapter author and a return from the other. The authors leave footnote comments on the other's work. This is what drives the book. This is the real plot. It is funny, occasionally laugh-out-lout hilarious. The book is worth the read and is time well spent.Ironically, it also feels like the book could have been a lot more. After finishing, I don't feel like I needed more, the material was covered and its done. Heads You Lose is still a good book and well worth the read.
Marlyn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was uncertain what to expect when I opened Heads You Lose, especially after I had watched this promotional video.Lisa Lutz, the author of the popular Spellman Files series, decided she wanted to write a collaborative novel with her old friend (and ex-boyfriend) David Hayward. She was to write the first and all odd-numbered chapters, and he would write the even-numbered ones. Neither of them was allowed to undo a plot development created by the other, so commented on each others' chapters using footnotes. They also wrote each other notes between chapters; these notes are included at the chapter's end. (This is explained in a letter from the Editor at the beginning of the book.)The novel is the story of orphaned twenty-something siblings Paul and Lacey Hansen who live together in their family home, scraping by on the profits from Paul's pot farm and Lacey's job as a barista.Late one night, while taking out the trash, Lacey stumbles across a headless corpse. Not knowing who it is (without the head, the body has no face), but not wanting to call the police because of their less-than-legal garden, they decide to dispose of the body, and quietly try to determine the body's identity and why it had been deposited on their property.Although it might be expected that Lutz's chapters would be written from Lacey's point of view, and Paul's from Hayward's, this is not the case; both write from a third-person viewpoint, and seem to enjoy inserting details to frustrate the other.Reading the footnotes and the between-chapter messages in which each bemoans this tendency in the other is almost as much fun as the story. Although these asides are distracting, most of the chapters are long enough to absorb the reader's attention (until the next footnote or comment).For this reader, Heads You Lose was not the type of book that was so absorbing that bedtimes were missed, but it was a light, fun read. And, despite the unusual nature of the relationship between Lutz and Hayward, the messages included in the book might even be helpful to authors (even solitary ones) in terms of the writing process.