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REVIEW: Heads You Lose by Lisa Lutz and David Hayward


New York Times-bestselling author Lisa Lutz conspires with-or should we say against?-coauthor David Hayward to write an original and hilarious tag-team crime novel.

Meet Paul and Lacey Hansen: orphaned, pot-growing twentysomething siblings eking out a living in rural Northern California. When a headless corpse appears on their property, they can't exactly dial 911, so they move the body and wait for the police to find it. Instead, the corpse reappears, a few days riper . . . and an amateur sleuth is born. Make that two.

When collaborators Lutz and Hayward (former romantic partners) start to disagree about how the story should unfold, the body count rises, victims and suspects alike develop surprising characteristics (meet Brandy Chester, the stripper with the Mensa IQ), and sibling rivalry reaches homicidal intensity. Think Adaptation crossed with Weeds. Will the authors solve the mystery without killing each other first?

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 at Irvine. This is his first novel.


  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult; First Edition edition (April 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780399157400
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399157400


Lisa Lutz and her ex, David Hayward collaborate on probably one of the quirkiest books I have ever read, but it is quirky in a good way.  They alternate writing chapters which are interspersed with their emails discussing the plot and past personal history.  Yes, it sounds weird, but it works.  It is full of snark, snippy remarks and colorful language and those are just the notes between the authors.  The story itself, actually has less violence.

Paul and Lacey are orphaned when their parents die in a freak carbon dioxide accident and Paul develops a business selling marijuana to the locals in a sort of Weeds take off.  There is a body left on their property with no head and when Paul and Lacey move the body, it turns back up on their doorstep.  This sets off the plot in true Lisa Lutz fashion and wackiness ensues.  There are several more murders, deaths and accidents that Lacey sets out to solve in true PI fashion.  Paul discovers some unsavory facts about their small town as well.  There is a bit of romance between Lacey and the new town doctor and Paul finds his match in a gimpy, genius, ex-exotic dancer.  Of course, the two co authors wrap up the plot in a nice tidy package.  If you like Lisa's Spellman Files, you won't be disappointed with this one. 


  1. Great review! I am really looking forward to this one.

  2. Just finished it and I concur!


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