RogerBW's Blog

Heads You Lose, Lisa Lutz and David Hayward 16 December 2022

2011 comedic metafiction. Lacey and Paul are pot-growing siblings in rural California, who find a headless corpse on their property. "Lisa" and "David" are struggling authors who are alternating chapters of the mystery they're writing, but still have significant issues to work out from their former relationship…

So as a mystery, it doesn't really hold up, but it isn't meant to. "Lisa" and "David" happily kill off each other's favourite characters, wrench their personalities into different shapes, and snipe at each other in the brief "email" exchanges at the end of each chapter, as they gradually stop pretending even to like each other, never mind to show any sort of respect for the joint work.

If you've ever collaborated on anything creative, parts of this will certainly feel familiar, and the real Lutz and Hayward resist the urge to make either of their avatars look particularly virtuous or villainous. It's not the elegant parody that truly superb authors might have managed, and some of the inside story drags, but nonetheless it's enjoyable.

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