Heads You Lose by Lisa Lutz and David Hayward
Lisa Lutz, author of the Spellman Files series (which you should pick up if you haven’t) teams up with an unlikely partner for her latest novel: David Hayward, a poet she dated briefly in the 90s. The resulting book is described by Lutz as “a real crime novel with a dead body and all” – but also eschews as many traditional elements of crime novels as it upholds.
This wacky journey begins when Lacey and Paul, two orphaned siblings in their 20s, find a headless body in their backyard. Except they can’t call the cops to their home due to the marijuana crop growing in the basement. The brother and sister decide to investigate on their own, though these investigations manifest themselves very differently and often lead them in opposite directions.
Having two authors with dueling styles and plot development was a bit frustrating for me at first, but as the book found its rhythm a few chapters in I began to enjoy the ride. Included after each chapter are email exchanges between the authors that shed light on the actions of their characters. By the end of the book, it is virtually a tug of war between Lutz and Hayward, to the point I wasn’t convinced there was any way to salvage what was left of the plot, clues, and suspect list to form a cohesive ending. Luckily, I was proven wrong as the loose ends were tied up expertly for a clean finish.
Recommended for anyone who likes serious crime fiction, but isn’t afraid to have some fun with it!
EDIT: I meant to include this video in my post. It should give you an idea of the back-and-forth that drives this book.
This book was reviewed from an advance copy sent by the author/publisher.