May 17, 2011

Review: Lisa Lutz/David Hayward - Heads You Lose

I don't normally post my reviews on the blog like this, because generally I just jot down feelings and thoughts after I read something, but I felt like this one was long enough, with enough substance, to be included on here. If anyone else has read this, I'd like to know what you thought!

Lisa Lutz and David Hayward - Heads You Lose

Rating: ***
Format: Audio book
Published: April 5th 2011 by Putnam Adult
ISBN: 0399157409 (Hardcover)

This gets three stars because it wasn't totally lame.

Orphaned siblings Paul and Lacey Hansen live together and work together growing and selling pot in their small town. When a decapitated corpse shows up on their property, they both realize how much they need to get out of said small town. But now there is a mystery to solve, since the police cannot be snooping around on their property. Who is this headless dead guy? Who killed him? Why? They both try to figure it out in their own ways with skills learned on TV shows, and then the drama continues. More people are murdered, and the suspect list piles up. And from Goodreads's own description: "And with the authors’ own turbulent past seeping into the plot, in the end, the biggest mystery might be how they’ll solve the murder without killing each other first."

The concept was a cool idea: two people writing alternating chapters of a crime novel, not being able to undo the events created by either author, writing notes and ideas as the chapters continue. However, and this is a BIG however, the notes were published with the book in between each chapter and were extremely distracting! It also made me look at the events occurring throughout the book in a different light, wondering if the events were happening just to upset the other author. One would kill off the characters on the other's potential murderer list, and then the original author would bring them back in some miraculous, soap opera way. Then the notes between the chapter about killing off/bringing back characters would be snarky and sarcastic in various underhanded ways, remarking about vocabulary choices, criticizing each other's skills at writing crime novels, and sometimes including anecdotes about their personal lives. Unnecessary, right? Right. It did not allow me to view the book in an objective manner. Then again, I was never really sure where the book was going since I couldn't predict one author's writing style and formula. I will say that there had to be an previously-agreed-upon ending, because with the way they were knocking off characters and erasing the other's well-thought-out clues and leads, this book came to a tidy end and that barely seemed possible. Probably it's not what you'd think though, which was good. I certainly didn't see it coming.

I am not familiar with David Hayward's writing, but I would like to be now. Not that his writing was better, because the reader should be able to see a difference between the two, but because I'm always happy with finding new authors. I've read books by Lisa Lutz before (see The Spellmans series), and I've enjoyed those. Never have I read a murder mystery by her, though. I'd like to, I suppose. Like I said, this wasn't totally lame, mostly because it did all come together in the end. I listened to this one, and it had different narrators for the different authors, which made sense. I would recommend this if you have nothing else on your TBR list.

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