Spotlight on Jennifer Oko’s “Head Case”

Head Case
by Jennifer Oko

The Author:
Oko’s first book, Lying Together: My Russian Affair (written
under her maiden name, Jennifer Beth Cohen), was published in 2004
and received numerous positive reviews. The New York Times Book
called Lying Together “riveting” and twice
named it an Editors’ Choice. The San Francisco Chronicle raved,
saying it was “a heady cocktail” and “a quick, juicy
read.” Her second book, a satirical novel about morning
television news entitled Gloss, was a Marie Claire “pick
of the month” in 2007 and chosen as a “hot summer read”
by USA Today.

working as a freelance writer and media consultant, Jennifer is a
“recovering” journalist and award-winning television news
producer. A graduate of Columbia University’s Journalism School, her
career has taken her across the country and around the world.

Jennifer’s writing has been published in a variety of magazines,
including The New York Times Magazine, New York Magazine, Maxim,
and Allure.

lives in Washington, DC with her husband and their son and daughter.

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Head Case

Genre: Humorous Mystery

Publisher: Jennifer Oko
Release Date: February
Book Description:
one reviewer states: “
is an enjoyable gem of a
mystery, and more…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?

is a new, exciting and
sometimes laugh-out-loud funny mystery from an author whose work has
been called “SIMPLY RIVETING” by
New York Times
. It’s like Alice Sebold’s The
Lovely Bones
meets Carl Hiaasen’s
Nature Girl (with
a dash of Janet Evanovich’s
One for
the Money
) as Olivia embarks on a
postmortem quest to deconstruct the remarkable events that lead up to
her mind-altering death.

A comic
satire of the influence of the psychopharmaceutical industry on
American life, HEAD CASE takes Olivia and her estranged friend and
roommate Polly Warner on a collision course involving ethically
challenged executives, spotlight-hungry celebrities, third-rate
mobsters and drug-dealing babushkas. A smart and savvy page-turner,
HEAD CASE explores the meaning of personal relationships, emotional
intelligence, and mental health while taking the reader on a
synapse-stirring, neurotransmitting rollicking ride.

for Head Case
Case is an enjoyable gem!” ~
McGirt, Amazon Reviewer
writing is as addictive as the pills she pokes fun at!”
ElevenelevenAM, Amazon
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!” ~
Elizabeth Hyndman, Amazon Reviewer
all very dramatic. Although I suppose on some level, in the end, that
is what Polly wanted. I mean, she didn’t want anyone dead, certainly
not anyone she knew. The opposite really. She once told me she just
wanted it all to be very alive. Life. Which is drama, right?
think she was probably right, that to some degree that’s what we all
want. Or wanted. If we were going to be satisfied just living our
lives with the dull drudgery of the everyday, then why would we spend
so much time fantasizing about what’s next, what’s in, what’s hot? If
dull drudgery made us fly, Polly wouldn’t even have the silly career
she has. Celebrity publicists wouldn’t exist. No one would aspire to
anything. And without aspirational living, who would care about
celebrities, luxury goods, or, hear me out now, the pursuit of
happiness. Right? So maybe there’s a very direct link between our
celebrity culture and our societal eagerness to pop a pill.
know it might sound like a stretch that there could be a connection
between designer psychopharmaceuticals and, say, designer fashions,
but if you stop to consider that, with the exception of certain
celebrity Scientologists, just about everyone who is anyone in the
world of the aspirational has certainly popped a few in their time,
it makes sense. We live by these assumptions that overnight success
is possible, that shiny happy people are models to uphold, that
tomorrow any of us could be the next A-lister, the next
gazillionaire. Couldn’t there be a connection here? If there is a
pill for every little micro-problem in our brains, why not believe
that there’s a quick fix for everything else too? I’m sure Polly used
to believe that. I know she did.
is what’s so nice about being dead.
get to play the role of wise sage, and with an amazing perspective.
Because when you die, not only can you flit around the present, you
also get to watch stuff in rewind. You get to go inside peoples’
heads in the past tense and follow the firings of their synapses,
medicated or not, as they spit them toward the present. Yes, Cher, it
turns out that you can turn back time. But the catch is-drum roll
please-you can’t be alive to do it. And so, proverbial remote in
hand, I’m now able to backtrack; I can take a look and try to figure
out how this all happened to my best friend. And by extension, of
course, how this happened to me. How, at the ripe age of
twenty-eight, with a future as bright as whatever cliché the
tabloids will soon be gushing, my body-the body of Olivia Zack-is
lying down there in the back of a black Lexus SUV (license plate
NYX1KZ, in the event anyone can do anything with this information)
while I’m up here, floating around bodiless in the ether,
shape-shifting, wall-transgressing, house-haunting, and whatever else
it might be that you imagine we ghosts can do. I’m trying to figure
that out as well. After all, this is fairly new for me, too. I’ve
only been like this for a few minutes, just long enough to zip up to
Polly’s apartment and witness her flailing about, waiting for me to
come and comfort her once again.
in order to figure this out, it seems logical that before I can fully
focus on my ending, I need to go back to the source of the whole
mess. Because it’s very clear, especially considering the other blood
that was spilled near my remains, that I seem to have gotten caught
up in a drug war. And I’m not talking crack cocaine. I’m talking
Prozac. I’m talking Ritalin. I’m talking Adderall, Lexapro, Zyprexa,
Klonopin and what have you. The good stuff. The blockbusters. The
billion-dollar babies.
get some popcorn. The show’s about to begin.

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