Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz

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.

My take: 4 looks
This was a very fun book. It was a mystery, suspense, story of a dysfunctional family and romantic relationships, and hilarious. That is a feat for an author!

Isabel is a woman-child with great connections, few friendships and a riotous family. I was hooked at the very beginning and could not put it down. I made several comparisons with Evanovitch's Stephanie Plum character, but this one was more real to me. A character in the book describes her as a combination of Dirty Harry and Nancy Drew, and I thought that was perfect.

I am glad I have the rest of this series and will dive into book two as soon as I can.

Highly recommended.

1 comment:

  1. There are so many books that I want to read, including this one, but so little time! Maybe I'll get to it during 2013.