Heads You Lose

A Novel

By Lisa Lutz + David Hayward

From our Blog

My Favorite Half-Year

Remember Mark Linn-Baker? He played the straight man to Peter O’Toole’s besotted thespian in My Favorite Year and to the goofball Bronson “Balki” Pinchot on the sitcom Perfect Strangers. In both cases, MLB’s role was pretty much the same: roll his eyes, issue a couple of beleaguered one-liners, and make sure the horse didn’t die. Ever since March, when we started promoting Heads You Lose, that’s been more or less my job, too.

Sometimes (generally after, say, 11:15pm) Lisa is more like O’Toole. At others, particularly when her fake European accent kicks in out of nowhere, she’s Balki. Last weekend’s Bouchercon in St. Louis, a convention for mystery readers and writers, represented the pinnacle of Lisa’s O’Toole side. Suffice it to say that after the previous Bouchercon, she had a reputation to uphold. As emerging videos--including at least one lengthy and controversial juggling demonstration--will attest, she upheld the shit out of it.

Like most conventions, Bouchercon is packed with panels and events. But my favorite parts happened when I was just wandering around or hanging out. I had a couple of brief but thrilling conversations with writers I admire, as well as one long talk with a lonely dairy-cow veterinarian who was a couple of days early for his group’s own convention. I also watched the sucker-punch ending of the Mayweather-Ortiz fight with a shitfaced and incredulous crowd outside a bar down the street from the hotel.

But I digress. Lisa’s Balki side came out the next day, on a rainy side trip to the City Museum, an eclectic funhouse/museum/amusement park in a tall warehouse building. The classic moment came when she suddenly remembered she was afraid of heightsonly upon reaching the apex of a Ferris wheel on the roof of the building. Noticing Lisa’s horror, the teenager at the controls shouted up to us that he could stop the ride. She refused. A few rotations later, she’d conquered her fear. She’s like that.

As Lisa herself later demonstrated on several of the City Museum’s various slides, the dismount is always the hard part. I mention that because after this weekend’s Sonoma County Book Festival, we probably won’t be doing much promotion together for the rest of the year. I don’t know what to say other than it’s been a blast and a privilege. I’m going to miss it.

Response from Lisa:

I didn’t actually remember Dave being at Bouchercon until he mentioned the Ferris wheel. But now I do recall a blond man was sitting next to me. As for everything else, I have no idea what he’s talking about. As usual.

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