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Heads You Lose

3.3  ·  Rating details ·  4,168 Ratings  ·  916 Reviews
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 th
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Published April 5th 2011 by Penguin Audio (first published April 1st 2011)
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Dec 20, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I love Lisa Lutz, and whenever she writes anything, I'll always be the first in line to get my hands on the new material. And I respect her going out on a limb and trying her "writing experiment," in which she and David Hayward wrote alternating chapters to piece together a contemporary mystery. Neither author could collaborate on plot, but had to write blindly, ......nor could they change the others work, and had to move forward no matter what the other author threw their way. Meaning Lisa and ...more
May 22, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Phloe by: NPR
Okay, so I really wanted to hate this book, but it's just too hilarious. I won't rehash what everyone else say, but I will say the "story" itself isn't that fantastic. However, when you wonder-twin activate it with the fact the two (ex-lover) authors writing the alternate chapters effing can't stand each other, it makes for one exquisite corpse of a book - I sped through every chapter just so I could read how catty they would be towards each other at the end. Fun!
Lisa Vegan
Jan 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of clever & amusing mysteries; aspiring mystery novelists
I laughed out loud more than I have with a book in ages!

Comic genius! Very clever! It’s a gimmick and I absolutely love it and admire the result, book title included.

Hilarious! Absolutely the funniest collaboration imaginable, funny ha ha, not funny peculiar, although it’s delightfully peculiar too.

I thought I’d miss the Spellmans but I need not have worried; Lacey & Paul, and especially Lisa & David/Dave are equally entertaining in their own ways.

I wasn’t sure these two collaborating au
When I told my husband about the idea of this book he said, "You know, it only has to work a little for it to be good." I actually agree. I'm giving it three stars because it worked a little, not a lot, but the concept was very cute and I did laugh out loud at moments.

Lisa Lutz and an ex-boyfriend collaborated to write alternating chapters of a murder mystery, so that what you have here is a mystery novel serving as a springboard for Lisa and David to work out their various issues. As we can see
Wendy Pearl's Picks
I'm the lucky Penguin (Putnam) sales rep that gets to sell in this new novel to booksellers in the Bay area, early next year. I had never read Lisa Lutz before (and her Spellman series). Happy to finally discover such a funny, snarky, readable author. This non-Spellman book is about two orphan siblings--pot growers--in Northern Calif. who discover a headless body in their front yard one night. Told in alternating chapters between Lisa and her co-author (ex boyfriend?), this is one of the most cl ...more
Apr 01, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
B-o-r-i-n-g. The book initially offered what I thought would be an interesting experiment as well as an entertaining plot. The book was a collaborative effort between Lisa Lutz (mystery write) and former romantic partner David Hayward (poet). Each would write every other chapter building off the elements that had been put in play by the other author. Between chapters the exchange between the two authors were shared with the reader.

After the first few chapters I found the exchange and footnotes b
May 22, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, humor
As much as it pains me to give anything Lisa Lutz wrote less than 4 stars, I just couldn't give this book any more. In fact, if it were any other author, I probably would have given it only 2 stars. After Lutz's fabulous and witty The Spellman Files series, I was just downright disappointed in this latest book.

The idea seemed funny and appealing to me: the book is written by authors Lisa Lutz and David Hayward, each writing alternating chapters. There are footnotes in each chapter written by th
May 14, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
In concept the idea of Head You Lose was a good one, but in the end expecting this book to be as good or witty as any of Lisa Lutz's Spellman series means that we lose. Lutz's chapters seemed to hold there own, but Hayward seemed to significantly miss out on her sartorial wit. Perhaps the best parts of the book were the notes between the ex-es. Hopefully this will teach other great writers who have a strong style not to dilute their work by splitting the writing with others.

BTW- James Patterson
Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)
Lacey Hansen is trapped in a dead end life with her brother Paul. Making a living supplying the local colleges and nursing homes with pot is not a way to live. Even Mythmatch, where legendary gods and monsters battle each other on the small screen, is no cure for boredom. But even a dull and inert life can be pushed into action by the arrival of a headless corpse on your doorstep. Due to the proximity of so much pot near a recently deceased body, the siblings decide to dump the body off a hiking ...more
May 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Originally posted to: Evie - Bookish

Dangerously witty and deliciously captivating, Heads You Lose is a true must-read for anyone who enjoys reading well written and witty crime novels.

Let me start off by explaining how this book came to existence. Sometime in Spring of 2009, Lisa Lutz --the bestselling author of crime series, the Spellman Files-- decided to try something different. She thought it would be fun to collaborate on her next novel with another writer. But then it turned out that al
Mon avis en Français

My English review

I love the Lisa Lutz series, so when I found this novel I wanted to try it too. It must be said that this was something very intriguing. This book is written by two different authors and each writes a chapter without touching anything in the chapter the other did and not knowing what the other would write in advance. So at the beginning of the book we have an exchange between the two writers who agree on how they will write this book. Because it must be said
Luanne Ollivier
Apr 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 p
Apr 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Paul and Lacey Hansen are brother and sister. They live in Mercer. Population 1, 280. Paul and Lacey were flipping a coin to see who would be taking out the trash. Lacey lost. While taking out the trash, Lacey stumbles upon a headless body. Usually in this type of situation, someone would call the police but there is just one problem…Lacey and Paul are the main marijuana suppliers in town. So this leaves only one other option…dump the body. Things are fine until the body reappears. Paul and Lace ...more
Sally Ember
Jul 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoy Lisa Lutz's Spellman Files series, so I picked this audiobook up when I saw it. I highly recommend that you get the audiobook because I can't imagine this book without the narration interspersed with the "NOTES" section between the two authors. The various voices of the characters are also key, and without any spoilers I can just tell you that you really shouldn't try to read this to yourself. You'll miss the entire point of two of the characters.

I listen while I drive. Parts of t
Sep 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery, humor
This little mystery novel is easily going to make my top ten favorite books of the year. Written by Lisa Lutz and her ex-boyfriend, poet David Hayward, this unique novel has a fun premise. You see, Lisa and David decided to write this together: each writing alternating chapters of the book. The idea was that neither of them knew where the story was going. When one of them finished their chapter, they would forward it on to the other who would then write their own chapter based on that.

Imagine writing a novel with your ex. You are a professional, award-winning author, and he is a minor poet. You write the odd-numbered chapters, and he writes the even ones. Between chapters, you give him passive-aggressive and then aggressive-aggressive notes about his questionable plot planning and ill-conceived characters. That part of the novel was fun. I wanted more conflict, more notes on each chapter, maybe even bloodshed. But that’s just me. I’m vile.

The actual novel (about brother-siste
Scott Freeman
Mar 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-books
A highly inventive book. If I was to rate the story alone it would probably max out at 3.5 stars. It is a passable mystery at best. What makes this book stand out is the concept. Author Lutz approached coauthor Hayward about collaborating on a book together. The rules were that each would write a chapter and submit it to the other. That person would write the following chapter and so on. There would be no revisions or discussions about the work other than footnotes and notes between chapters. Al ...more
May 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humorous-mystery
I enjoyed the heck out of this book. The plot is a little flimsy - sibling pot-growers discover a headless body on their land - chaos ensues. Lutz and Hayward write alternating chapters, and at the end of each chapter leave increasingly smarmy notes to one another. This is where the real fun begins. She chides him for overuse of "big words" - he creates characters to deliberately annoy her. The sniping is truly the best part of the book. If you liked the Spellmans, you're sure to love this as
Jun 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kat bought this for me for my birthday and it's the last of those books I have left to read.

I was nervous, as I've never read Lisa Lutz before, and was pleasantly surprised.

The best bits were the semi-contrived emails between the two authors (no, I don't buy that this was their real correspondence), and had it not been about a pot growing pair of siblings trying to solve a murder, even that wouldn't have held my attention for the whole book.


I'm a sucker for snark and weed stories, so thi
Jan 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Feb 18, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yes, I'm writing this review even as I'm reading this book, because I just couldn't wait to share my thoughts. For the right kind of audience (namely, people who write or people who know people who write) this book will have you in stitches. If you don't write or know anything about the writing process, well - you are left with a nearly incomprehensible (and getting worse by the chapter) novel. Me? I am enjoying every zany moment.

It's a very common writing exercise to pass a work-in-progress bac
Aug 02, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, liked-it
Paul and Lacey are your average small town, twentysomethings, that live together, grow pot and find a headless corpse in the back yard.

Yup that's right they find a headless corpse in the back yard and since they don't want the authorities to be snooping around they do what any siblings would do...dump the body somewhere else. But when the body reappears they realize they are in way over there heads and as they try to unravel the mystery of who what where and why they uncover a small town full o
Amy Keyishian
Meh. This book tried to be clever, but more often it was just annoying. First problem: the structure involved two exes writing the book together, alternating chapters, and the idea was that each was somehow trying to screw the other one by messing up the plot as they searched for the ending together. First of all, that's not how you write a friggin book. Second of all, the assumption was that they would, I guess, merrily send the rough draft off to a publisher with no revisions. That made the wh ...more
Jennifer Rayment
The Good Stuff

One of the most truly unique ideas for a book
Unusual and quirky storyline
Love the notes from each of the author's after each chapter
Tons of twists and turns, you really have no idea what is going to happen next
Hilarious dialogue
The Not so Good Stuff

Overly quirky at times and it was like they were trying to hard for this
At times I thought the gimmicky idea for the authors letters back and forth saved a less than stellar and convoluted story - smart really
Honestly I just expected
Chad Meadows
Jan 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The best parts of this book were not a result of the characters or the plot twists. The best parts were watching the authors try and out-do one another. This book was written by Lisa Lutz and was co-authored by David Hayward. The two have some sort of past working relationship and also, what I am assuming is, a tumultuous romantic relationship. Why they would decide to work together on a novel,I have no idea. Regardless, I am glad that they did.

The chapters in this"whodunnit" murder mystery alte
May 20, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hah, I just saw this in my 'currently reading' file at Goodreads, though I finished it months ago. So here's a belated rating (based entirely on faulty, balky, demented memory).

Here's the thing. I loved all of Lisa Lutz's Spellman books, which were as fun and wacky as anything Evanovich put out (I recommend both authors whole-heartedly and even whole-kidneyly).

But this book falls a bit short, mostly due to her partner, David Hayward, who is also Lutz's ex-boyfriend, emphasis on the 'ex.'

The sto
Aug 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant farce! I really liked this. There is so much going on -- not only in the so-called crime book/mystery Lisa and David are writing, but also in the behind-the-scenes exchanges between the "authors" at the end of each chapter. The set-up for this aspect of the book is that the authors would each write a chapter and turn it over to the partner for the next chapter.

That much-parodied English class assignment is written to perfection showing the "authors" (who are fictionalized versions of
I love Lisa Lutz's Spellman family series, a family of detectives who are great fun to read. The family dynamics are more interesting than whatever case they happen to be investigating. I had hoped that this would be in the same wacky, snarky vein since a brother and sister were the main characters. The premise of the book was that Lisa and an ex-boyfriend would alternate writing chapters. After each chapter, Lisa and her ex-boyfriend, David Hayward, write a note to each other snarking and bitch ...more
I liked this book more for the stuff in between the chapters, rather than the actual mystery itself. I'm a big fan of Lisa Lutz's Spellman novels, they are so fun and quirky. The premise of this book is that she and an ex boyfriend took turns writing each chapter. At the end of each chapter they left notes to each other. It was fun to see the twists they did to each other, killing off each other's prime suspects, and particularly one character's girlfriend who Lisa had as a dumb blonde stripper, ...more
Feb 28, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Reminded me a bit of Noises Off!, and, like The Wasteland, it's really about the footnotes. I have often wondered how two writers collaborate on something without killing each other. It turns out maybe they don't, actually. I understand Lutz is a fairly successful crime/mystery writer and I'm sure she's a nice person once you get to know her, but I have to say, her chapters were a bit lame and boring -- hackneyed, even -- and in her notes, she comes off as a controlling, petty bitch. Dude, you c ...more
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Ask Lisa Lutz!: Ask Lisa about Heads You Lose 5 81 Sep 01, 2011 05:38PM  
  • Isabel Spellman's Guide to Etiquette: What is Wrong with You People
  • A Date You Can't Refuse
  • Living the Vida Lola (Lola Cruz Mystery, #1)
  • How to Survive a Killer Séance (Party Planning, #3)
  • A Bad Day for Pretty (Bad Day, #2)
  • Mr. Monk on the Road (Mr. Monk, #11)
  • Murder of a Bookstore Babe (Scumble River Mystery, #13)
  • Grace Interrupted (Manor House Mystery, #2)
  • Calamity Jayne Heads West (Calamity Jayne, #5)
  • Murder at the Bad Girl's Bar and Grill
  • You Might as Well Die (Algonquin Round Table #2)
  • The Butler Did It
  • The Riptide Ultra-Glide (Serge Storms, #16)
  • Original Sin
  • A Parfait Murder (A Mystery a La Mode, #3)
  • How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack: Defend Yourself When the Lawn Warriors Strike (And They Will)
  • Lady Be Good: a Blackbird Sisters (and Friends) Prequel (Blackbird Sisters Mystery Series, #0.6)
  • Missing Persons (Kate Conway Mysteries, #1)
Lisa Lutz is the New York Times bestselling author of the six books in the Spellman series, How to Start a Fire, Heads you Lose (with David Hayward), and the children's book, How to Negotiate Everything (illustrated by Jaime Temairik). Her latest book, The Passenger, a psychological thriller, will be published March 2016 by Simon and Schuster. Lutz has won the Alex award and has been nominated for ...more
More about Lisa Lutz...
“The latter. She had a good run," Sook said, doing a little shrug. It was his usual response to death at Mapleshade, and it was a safe bet that he felt that way about himself. Like most twice-widowed, Korea-vet, nature-loving, gun-enthusiast, bilingual, weed-connoisseur great grandfathers of five, he'd lived a full life.” 2 likes
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