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. The Spellman Files is the first novel in a winning and hilarious new series featuring the Spellman family in all its lovable chaos.
Cracking the case can get complicated and outrageously wacky when a family of detectives is involved, but Lutz has a blast doing it in her delicious debut. Isabel "Izzy" Spellman, a San Francisco PI who began working for Spellman Investigations at age 12, could easily pass as Buffy or Veronica Mars's wiser but funnier older sister. Izzy digs TV, too, especially Get Smart (an ex-boyfriend's ownership of the complete bootlegged DVD set is his major selling point). Now 28, Izzy thinks she wants out, but elects to take on a cold case while dealing with 14-year-old sister Rae, a nightmarish Nancy Drew, and parents who have no qualms about bugging their children's bedrooms. At times the dialogue-heavy text reads like a script and the action flags, but these are quibbles. When Rae suddenly disappears, Izzy and her family must learn some serious lessons in order to find her. Can the family that snoops together stay together? Stay tuned as a dynamic new series unfolds. 150,000 first printing. (Mar.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
Showing 1-3 of the 3 most recent reviews
1 . just finished it! so funny and nutty!
Posted July 06, 2010 by marige , sterling heightswas recommended and I loved it. Talk about a disfunctional family,but funny too, will definitely read the rest of the Spellman series.
2 . Funny and suspicious all wrapped up in one
Posted June 21, 2009 by Leslie , Spring Park, MNThis family is so dysfunctional and so funny. I loved every page and would highly recommend it to someone who needs a bit of cheering up.
3 . Laugh out loud
Posted December 16, 2008 by Kathy , Cottonwood HeightsThis book was very entertaining. What a dysfunctional family! They are dysfunctional but very loyal. Really, this book made me laugh out loud. Can't wait to read the next book.
Simon & Schuster
March 11, 2007
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Excerpt from The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz
Seventy-two Hours Later
A single lightbulb hangs from the ceiling, its dull glow illuminating the spare decor of this windowless room. I could itemize its contents with my eyes closed: one wooden table, splintered and paint-chipped, surrounded by four rickety chairs; a rotary phone; an old television; and a VCR. I know this room well. Hours of my childhood I lost in here, answering for crimes I probably did commit. But I sit here now answering to a man I have never seen before, for a crime that is still unknown, a crime that I am too afraid to even consider.
Inspector Henry Stone sits across from me. He places a tape recorder in the center of the table and switches it on. I can't get a good read on him: early forties, short-cropped salt-and-pepper hair, crisp white shirt, and a perfectly tasteful tie. He might be handsome, but his cold professionalism feels like a mask. His suit seems too pricey for a civil servant and makes me suspicious. But everyone makes me suspicious.
"Please state your name and address for the record," says the inspector.
"Isabel Spellman. Seventeen ninety-nine Clay Street, San Francisco, California."
"Please state your age and date of birth."
"I'm twenty-eight. Born April 1, 1978."
"Your parents are Albert and Olivia Spellman, is that correct?"
"You have two siblings: David Spellman, thirty, and Rae Spellman, fourteen. Is that correct?"
"Please state your occupation and current employer for the record."
"I am a licensed private investigator with Spellman Investigations, my parents' PI firm."
"When did you first begin working for Spellman Investigations?" Stone asks.
"About sixteen years ago."
Stone consults his notes and looks up at the ceiling, perplexed. "You would have been twelve?"
"That is correct," I respond.
"Ms. Spellman," Stone says, "let's start at the beginning."
I cannot pinpoint the precise moment when it all began, but I can say for sure that the beginning didn't happen three days ago, one week, one month, or even one year ago. To truly understand what happened to my family, I have to start at the very beginning, and that happened a long time ago.