Staceyinastoria (staceyinastoria) wrote in bookish,

Book 17. The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz

Title: The Spellman Files
Author: Lisa Lutz

Genre: Fiction

Pages: 357

Read before?  No
Rating:  7.0 out of 10

Next book: The Dresden Files RPG.  Volume 2: Our story


Summary:  Meet Isabel "Izzy" Spellman, private investigator. This twenty-eight-year-old may have a checkered past littered with romantic mistakes, excessive drinking, and creative vandalism; she may be addicted to Get Smart reruns and prefer entering homes through windows rather than doors -- but the upshot is she's good at her job as a licensed private investigator with her family's firm, Spellman Investigations. Invading people's privacy comes naturally to Izzy. In fact, it comes naturally to all the Spellmans. If only they could leave their work at the office. To be a Spellman is to snoop on a Spellman; tail a Spellman; dig up dirt on, blackmail, and wiretap a Spellman.

Part Nancy Drew, part Dirty Harry, Izzy walks an indistinguishable line between Spellman family member and Spellman employee. Duties include: completing assignments from the bosses, aka Mom and Dad (preferably without scrutiny); appeasing her chronically perfect lawyer brother (often under duress); setting an example for her fourteen-year-old sister, Rae (who's become addicted to "recreational surveillance"), and tracking down her uncle (who randomly disappears on benders dubbed "Lost Weekends"). But when Izzy's parents hire Rae to follow her (for the purpose of ascertaining the identity of Izzy's new boyfriend), Izzy snaps and decides that the only way she will ever be normal is if she gets out of the family business. But there's a hitch: she must take one last job before they'll let her go -- a fifteen-year-old, ice-cold missing person case. She accepts, only to experience a disappearance far closer to home, which becomes the most important case of her life.


Why I am reading this.   It looked very amusing.


My thoughts.  It is interesting to see someone use a comic angle for a mystery novel (sorta)?.  It kind of reminds me of the old fletch movies with Chevy Chase (and not so much the fletch books which weren’t very good). 


The family is nuts…every single one of them.  But it is done in such an extreme way, that it was amusing as hell.  Their interactions are priceless and you have to love a family that is so into being private investigators, that they cannot help but investigate each other.  It is a bit sick, but that is ok.  No one is every really honest with each other about anything, so most of their conversations tend to be evasive at best. 


Izzy is fun.  She is a smartass, a bit lazy, obsessive by nature, and has horrible taste in men.  She wants more than anything else than to get out from under the thumb of her equally obsessive mother.  Her father doesn’t really seem to have too much interest in anything.  Her brother is perfect (at least in her eyes), and tries to stay out of their way.  And her younger sister Rae has a bit of a sugar obsession and an on going war with her uncle Ray.  That kid can be brutal and she tortured her uncle with a youth like abandon.  All of this leads to great dialogue between all of them and completely over the top outcomes to just about everything. 


Watching her start dating someone was hilarious.  Izzy always wants to know everything about her dates. Which includes: looking through their wallets, finding out their date of birth and social security number, running background checks (once she has social) lying about what she does for a living, etc.  All the while, trying to keep this hidden from her mother, who is much more dedicated of an investigator than she is. 


I hate footnotes, but the ones in this book were actually funny and clever.  Which is not normally the case. 


There was a mystery, but it took a backseat to the craziness of the family.  It was so cleverly written and there were many laugh out loud moments.  Rae being “kidnapped” just was the cherry on top of what was a fun read. 


Overall, this was a lot of fun.  It was a quick and easy read.  The plot and characters were cleverly done, and I am looking forward to reading the next book.


Best thing about book. The humor was always there. 


Worst thing about book.   Just nit picking, but it was more of a comedy than a mystery novel.




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