The titular story, and the first one in the collection, chronicles Mina's run-in with a serial killer named Jack Darwin.
The second story, "Matamoros," follows Mina's attempts to foil an assassination by the title character.
In "Marty," the third story, Mina is summoned by an old friend who fears someone is coming to kill him.
The online bonus story, "Get Tough," details Mina's first adventure through the frame of her being interrogated it after the fact by the local police.
Hungover and Handcuffed is followed by a second book, Asshole Yakuza Boyfriend. A third book is due out in 2016.
Hungover and Handcuffed provides examples of the following tropes:
- Affably Evil: Matamoros' whole schtick.
- Anti-Hero: Mina's intensely negative, mean spirited, judgmental, and a borderline alcoholic... and she's the hero of all four stories.
- Batman Grabs a Gun: Mina doesn't kill unless you torture her with a cheese grater for a few hours first.
- Beleaguered Childhood Friend: Marty is this to Mina.
- Bury Your Gays: Kinda. Lucy is a Death by Origin Story example, but once the sequel establishes that most of the cast is queer, it's retroactively more a case of Anyone Can Die.
- Cast Full of Gay: Mixed with Everyone Is Bi, though only Lucy's sexuality is made explicit in the first book, but Word of God establishes that Mina, Matamoros, and Callet are bi, while Linda is gay. In the cases of Mina and Linda, this is made explicit in the sequel. Matamoros and Callet have not yet reappeared, though apparently there are plans for them both to return.
- Chekhov's Skill: Mina's pre-PI education, poetry, and dance background all come up now and again.
- Concepts Are Cheap: Callet, like her inspiration, has no clearly defined motive for what she does.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: The cheese grater/lemon juice combo Jack uses on his victims.
- Death by Origin Story: Both Nice Guy and Lucy.
- Distaff Counterpart: Mina is one for Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe.
- Death Seeker: Mina openly wonders if she's one of these herself.
- Establishing Character Moment: When we first meet Mina, she's handcuffed in a serial killer's basement, snarking on herself and trying to remember a quote from The Lion in Winter, and shrugging off the sadistic torture mostly out of spite. Tells you pretty much everything you need to know about her.
- Failure Knight: Her inability to prevent the events of "Get Tough" are what turned Mina into Mina, and she hasn't forgotten them.
- Faux Affably Evil: Jack Darwin.
- Femme Fatale: Callet. Matamoros is a rare male example.
- Film Noir: Not actually a film, but consciously invoking the genre at every available opportunity.
- Four-Girl Ensemble: Mina's college friend group was this before everything went to shit.
- Gender Flip: For traditional film noir characters. Mina is the traditionally male Hardboiled Detective and Linda is the Friend on the Force, while Matamoros fills the role of Femme Fatale, and Marty the Wounded Gazelle.
- The Ghost: Many. Nice Guy, Callet, Linda, and Jasmine all only appear in flashback, but the four of them are almost entirely responsible for the woman Mina ultimately became.
- Also Reno Bangs, though she appears (via telephone) in the sequel.
- Hardboiled Detective: Mina, right down to the trench coat and fedora.
- Ironic Echo: Mina's internal monologue thrice refers to Jack as "a pro." Jack's last words to Mina? "Wow, you're a pro.
- Mina's personal credo started as Nice Guy's last words.
- Knight in Sour Armor: Mina.
- Magnificent Bastard: Matamoros and Callet both qualify. Mina has her moments as well.
- Meaningful Name: Tons.
- Matamoros = Moore slayer= more slayer. His bodycount is in at least the triple digits.
- Callet Desdemona's name is a reference to Othello. Word of God confirms she's meant to be a modern Iago.
- Linda Lovelorne has an unresolved crush on Mina.
- Nice Guy is, well, a nice guy. In the race for Jasmine's affections, he finishes last.
- Jack Darwin believes he can make the world a better place through forced natural selection.
- Murder by Inaction: Mina chooses not to help Marty once she realizes the extent of their guilt.
- Police Are Useless: Mina feels this way, though she thinks Linda is an exception.
- Private Detective: Mina.
- Private Eye Monologue: The entire book, from Mina.
- Serial Killer: Jack Darwin.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Mina spends the entirety of "Matamoros" trying to prevent a murder that's more or less inevitable by the time the story starts.
- Smug Snake: Jack Darwin.
- Title Drop Anthology: A collection of three stories, with "Hungover and Handcuffed" as the first.
- Torture Technician: Jack again. His preferred implement is a cheese grater.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: What Jack thinks he is.
- Wicked Cultured: Matamoros and Jack Darwin both work very hard to seem like this. Matamoros comes closer, but neither quite pull it off according to Mina.
- World of Snark: Mina's the best at it, but everyone's a wiseass.
- Xanatos Gambit: Matamoros' entire plan is an elaborate ploy to get Mina to serve as his alibi, which he otherwise wouldn't have. It works.