HEAD CASE
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Satirical and witty, Head Case engages the reader in a fast-paced adventure of two NYC friends who wade into questionable waters, exchanging prescription drugs with pill popping celebrities for a touch of their glamor. The girls' misstep quickly becomes a tidal morass beyond their control, eroding what had been an inseparable bond. As the vortex churns, the protagonist, an aspiring neuro-chemist, strains from the grave to piece together the mystery of her own murder as well as the mistakes that unglued a close friendship. In a style reminiscent of Carl Hiaasen, the tiers of culpability expand from that of a misunderstood Brooklyn family of Russian immigrants, to their local mafia boss, to the greedy aspirations of a middle management sales rep and finally, up to the CEO of a pharmaceutical company, desperate to keep his malevolent empire intact. Head Case is well-written and fast-paced, the kind of read that makes you less resentful of late night insomnia.
Katherine Brichto
I just adored this book. The writing style is quick, easy to read, and very friendly, so you feel very close to the main character, even when she's doing things you don't like. The plot is first-rate -- really clever, and done in a fantastic way. You may think you know what's going on, but you're not going to know for sure until you get to the end of the book! Overall, it's a quick, fantastic read, perfect for a day at the beach or a night at home with a bottle of wine!
C.S.White
Head Case is an outlandish romp with an endearing heroine (who happens to be a ghost). At times laugh out loud funny, it also has emotional punch. The story is framed around a caper involving low-level prescription drug trafficking, and raises real life questions about the sometimes ethically questionable practices of America's pharmaceutical industry. At the core, however, it is the story about friendship and emotional connections. Jennifer Oko clearly takes some liberties with the actual science, which might bother some people, but within the fictional context I just accepted that. Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It is a fun, smart page turner, and I read it in just a few sittings. I can't wait for this writer's next book!
Fiction Enthusiast
Fun, Interesting Read...This book is written quite well. I enjoyed the author's writing style of following the main character through different time periods in the plot. It reads quickly and keeps you interested. The book is somewhat supernatural but not enough that it should deter anyone that doesn't care for that type of fiction.
K. Stewart
Another great Oko read... Like her earlier books, Head Case has great characters, dialogue, and twists. Kept me engaged on a recent cross-atlantic flight (I never even turned on my TV!)
Leora Klapper
Head Case -- fast, fun and funny! OK so I have a soft spot for Russian mobsters and gals with brains trying to navigate the mysteries of Manhattan -- and what passes for style, personality and ethics! -- as well as crisp writing, nicely paced plotting, a light comedic tone, a colorful cast of slightly over-the-top but mostly believable characters -- in other words, I really enjoyed Head Case. It's a super fast read without being (too) silly or superficial. A chick lit mystery with a touch of humor mixed in for good measure.
Maureen
HEAD CASE - Read it! HEAD CASE is a page slider, if you're an ipad person! I read it in a few short days! It is sure to become a movie thriller and you'll have a blast casting it in your mind as you read along. But don't be fooled by it's easy read because like any entertaining but substantial piece of literature, you walk away from the book pondering deep questions like our society's relationship with pharmaceuticals, corporate greed, PR manipulation, the value of friendship in a facebook era and.....life after death. It's funny, smart, full of suspense and timelessly poignant! Read it!
Nicole
Great mystery read! This wasn't the kind of book I'd typically read, I'm more of a chick lit kinda girl but I actually enjoyed it! The book was narrated by a girl named Olivia, who told the story about her and her best friend Polly's life. Olivia was actually murdered and throughout the book she tells stories about her life before her death and also what's happening currently to try and figure out who the killer is! I really enjoyed this mystery and found it a really interesting read!!!! I would recommend it to someone who likes a good mystery and humor! Especially for this price, would would you pass up a good read?!
Amanda
Head Case is an enjoyable gem of a mystery, and more. Head Case is an enjoyable gem of a mystery, and more. Our narrator, Olivia Zack, starts the book dead and things go backwards from there. Olivia takes us hopping and skipping through time as she gradually unravels how she came to be no longer eligible for the census. She relives all the mistakes she made along the way in true neurotic New York girl fashion and brings us along for the ride. There are drug-dealing grannies, pill-popping celebrities, Russian mob bosses, eccentric ex-Soviet chemists, feuding roommates, faltering friendships, bad bosses and a rat named Raskolnikov – so how can you not have fun? Olivia is a likeable and appealingly flawed character -- the whole story hinges on her flaws, really. She is witty and, if not wise, a touch more perceptive and self-aware in death than she was in life. This is apparently a perk of being dead and it adds an extra layer of goodness to the book – you experience still-alive Olivia alongside post-mortem Olivia providing DVD commentary track about her past actions. It is deftly done. Head Case also takes satirical aim at the aforementioned celebrities, as well as drug companies, the news media, and our over-medicated society with a pill for everything. The notion that, of course, everyone is in therapy and, of course, everyone pops a pharmacopeia of mood-altering pills to get through the day the way Olivia and her friends do is puzzling to me, but the author makes both the good and bad of that way of being relatable even to readers who live lives unmediated by anything stronger than caffeine. Head Case thus raises some important questions about how we maintain the integrity of our identities in a culture that seeks to pathologize, homogenize and commodify us. Not in a portentous way – this book is more contemporary comedy of manners than “book with a message” – but the theme is there, interlaced with the action, and it is worth pondering. Or maybe I’m reading too much into it. Bottom line, Head Case is a funny, well-written, and entertaining book.
Dan McGirt
I really enjoyed reading this book. It was funny as well as well as suspenseful. The ending was really a surprise.
Danelle Duncan
Full of fun twists and turns! What a refreshing topic and an amazing story. There is something new and surprising in nearly every chapter. This book is definitely a hard one to put down. Love, love, love this book!
Kristy Kurd
If you like Carl Hiassen or Janet Evanovich...you will love Head Case by Jennifer Oko! Seriously, great book. I love funny mysteries and this is just that. A mystery about low-level prescription drug trafficking in the US pharmaceutical industry that involves a ghost. What a great protagonist Olivia Sacks is! Head Case had me chuckling out loud, but also was emotional at times. Nuff said. Read it yourself!
S. Gottlieb
The plot is fun and creative, but the writing itself is what held me. Buying into the structure requires a bit of suspended disbelief--the narrator is dead (I'm not giving anything away because you discover this right off the bat)--but it's easy to jump along for the ride because the writing is so sharp and the character descriptions are so colorful. The main characters are at once familiar and relatable but fleshed out with language and observations that feel fresh. And as a writer myself, I found myself saying "doh! I wish I'd thought of that!" regarding some of the observation about the absurdities of living in an overmedicated (or simply medicated) culture that idolizes fame, achievement, aspirational living. And I wouldn't doubt if certain aspects of this novel became a reality. Perhaps they already are. Overall, I walked away from this anxious to try my own hand at fiction--I think that's what the best books do...they inspire us to imagine new worlds.
M. Karras "BrooklynGirl"
Better living through chemistry? Satirical and witty, Head Case engages the reader in a fast-paced adventure of two NYC friends who wade into questionable waters, exchanging prescription drugs with pill popping celebrities for a touch of their glamor. The girls' misstep quickly becomes a tidal morass beyond their control, eroding what had been an inseparable bond. As the vortex churns, the protagonist, an aspiring neuro-chemist, strains from the grave to piece together the mystery of her own murder as well as the mistakes that unglued a close friendship. In a style reminiscent of Carl Hiaasen, the tiers of culpability expand from that of a misunderstood Brooklyn family of Russian immigrants, to their local mafia boss, to the greedy aspirations of a middle management sales rep and finally, up to the CEO of a pharmaceutical company, desperate to keep his malevolent empire intact. Head Case is well-written and fast-paced, the kind of read that makes you less resentful of late night insomnia
Katherine Brichto
"Fun Escape from a Cold and Grey Day! What a fun way to finish off a frigid cold and dreary winter day! Head Case was a fun read from start to finish! Keeps you involved and wanting to know what happened. And you won't know until the very end.... Would have loved to have read this on a beach but it was equally enjoyable to read by the fire. I've read this author's other books and enjoyed them as well- "Gloss" "Lying Together"- hope she writes another one soon!
Aunt Sessy
“Oko's biting humor, a la Murphy Brown, makes this book very difficult to put down.”
Kimberly Ligocki
One one more thing... without repeating any of the reviews above, let me add to them. I started off with this book having a preconceived idea about what it was going to be about. Let me tell you that from three pages in I had already done a mental double-take multiple times. That is when you just say, "Whaaaat...?" And it was an idea that I have never read before. The closest storyline would be Memento and that was a crazy, wild and fun story. THIS...oh my. Oh oh oh my. All I can say is that if you don't put ALL YOUR OTHER BOOKS AWAY and read just the FIRST chapter you are NUTS; you will find yourself going and going and I will just say it now --your welcome! This is the most fun I have had reading in a long time. It is a FUN and unique read. Its a strange book in that its such a light read but with dark undertones that make it delicious. I loved this. Highly recommend.
Jennifer Elizabeth Hyndman