Saturday, March 24, 2012

Heads You Lose -- Lisa Lutz and David Hayward

Okay, here's the deal. Lisa Lutz, a big-time bestselling writer, suggests to her ex-boyfriend, poet David Hayward, that they collaborate on a crime novel. She'll write the odd-numbered chapters and he'll write the even-numbered ones. They won't discuss any plot developments, and each will agree not to change any twists thrown in by the other.

This is all very meta from the outset, and it just gets moreso. The authors snipe at each other in footnotes, and between every chapter there are catty notes from one to the other about characters, plot, and even vocabulary. Is all this real, or is it just a put-on? I have no idea. I report, you decide. Either way, it's sometimes very funny, and it certainly gives you a bit of insight into the process of writing a mystery novel.

The plot? Oh, yeah. Paul and Lacey Hansen are brother and sister, both in their 20s, living out their lives as pot farmers in a small northern California town. Lacey does have a day job as a cover, but she doesn't really work at it. Their lives change when a headless body shows up in their front yard. They get rid of it, and it shows up again. Lacey figures she'd better do some sleuthing to find out what's going on. Things get complicated after that, and not just because of the mystery. The interaction between the authors plays into it, too.

If you're looking for a different kind of crime novel, one that's both funny in itself and in its inter-chapters while at the same time offering a glimpse at the writing process, you should check this one out soon.

Disclaimer: I was on a panel at Bouchercon with Lisa Lutz. I doubt that she remembers me, but she was quite amusing and a big hit with the audience.


Kelly Robinson said...

This sounds like a hoot.

Anonymous said...

I liked the panel and she was a hoot, but I gave up halfway through her first book. It just wasn't for me and neither, by the sound of it, is this.


Kelly Robinson said...

Ran into it at the bookstore last night and picked it up. Thanks for pointing me to it.

Bill Crider said...

Hope you like it!