Book Review: Heads Will Roll by Joanie Chevalier

cover to Joanie Chevalier's Heads Will Roll
© Joanie Chevalier, 2017.


What if, in the near future, we could choose the body we wanted? We could visit a store front, much like a neighborhood mom-and-pop shop, and we’d see all the available bodies lined up in a glass-enclosed case. We’d be able to choose the body we wanted, purchase it, have an operation, and wham bam! wake up with our new body.

Dr. Farkis begins his head transplant operations in secret in Oakland, California and Tokyo, Japan. When news filters out about his revolutionary surgery, individuals from all walks of life come forward, desperate for a new body and an improved life that only Dr. Farkis can offer. We meet: Barry, so frantic for a new body, he stalks the doctor and bargains with a menacing ultimatum; Aiko, father of 19-year-old Kaneko, who demands that she undergo the operation to become more attractive to snag a husband; and finally, Baby, who finds out the hard way that demanding a new body may end up being fatal.

Choosing the perfect physique from a smorgasbord of available bodies seems like a dream . . . or is it a nightmare?” (Source: Goodreads)


I’m a fan of the strange and, after hearing about the intent to attempt head transplants on humans some time ago, I decided to give Heads Will Roll by Joanie Chevalier a read. I must admit that I am disappointed as my expectations for this novel were extremely high.

Before I go into detail on what I didn’t like about Heads Will Roll, I feel it is necessary to say that Chevalier excels at creating realistic characters. While I may feel there are far too many roles to keep up with, the characters in Heads Will Roll behave much like most of us might in similar situations. There is a time or two where aspects of their interactions feel superfluous, but for the most part Chevalier’s cast encompasses several different personalities. On occasion, their behavior is entirely irrelevant to the story. Most importantly, none of Chevalier’s characters are perfect in any form or fashion.

While the plot in Heads Will Roll is fairly straightforward, it does not flow well. This is perhaps my biggest issue with this book. There is far too much going on, far too many strings, and not enough pages. This can be remedied by adding additional chapters or cutting out unnecessary ones. For instance, it feels like Aiko and his daughter are forgotten about for nearly half the book, only to conclude with them. So much time is spent on them at the beginning that it is easy for a reader to become attached only for them to disappear. I feel this may be because of the unusually large cast, which prevents any true connection to a single character.

There are some who absolutely love it, and while it is not painful to read, it simply misses the mark for me. I didn’t include editing mistakes in my review. The copy that I received is not a final draft. I would like to thank Joanie Chevalier for providing me with an advanced copy of her book for an unbiased review.

Rating: 💀💀

Liked it? Take a second to support Acanthea Grimscythe on Patreon!