Saturday, January 30, 2010

BOOK: The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz

The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz, 447 pages

Book Awards IV: Alex Award 2008; new author challenge

If you grew up in a house where both your parents were private investigators, I imagine your sense of' appropriate behaviour' would be a little off. Especially if you started working in the family business as a teenager, learning the ins and outs of surveillance, and having no sense of privacy. Izzy Spellman was that person, and at twenty-eight, still lives at home and works for the family. This is one messed up, but hilarious, family.

Izzy narrates the story, which has a bit of a mystery, but also tells the dysfunctional wars that develop within her family. New boyfriend for Izzy, one that mom hasn't set up with a lawyer? Put him under surveillance to look for any bad habits. Crazy stuff like that. Izzy's siblings, older brother David, is a perfect lawyer type, but his dysfunction shows as he continually 'negotiates' with everyone, subtle forms of blackmail or coercion. Younger sister Rae, a PI in the making, is a recreational surveillanceer, following random people instead of doing her homework. The steps she takes to get out of summer camp are crazy.

To summarize: lots of fun, with a dash of mystery, and interesting characters which I've only hinted at. This book won the Alex Award, which is given to books that can crossover between Young Adult and adult novels. There are two more books about the crazy Spellman family, The Curse of the Spellmans and Revenge of the Spellmans.

also reviewed by:
joy at thoughts of joy
shelf elf
kristi at passion for the page


  1. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed this one as I have it on my shelf and was thinking of picking it up. It sounds like a fun read!

  2. This book was a disappointment for me. Too much dysfunctional family issues and not enough mystery. If I had understood that going in, I'm not sure I would have read it. Ultimately it was an okay read, though. Glad you enjoyed it!

    And - thanks for the link! :)


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