Curse of the Spellmans (Spellman Files Series #2)

( 125 )

Overview

Their first caper, The Spellman Files, was a New York Times bestseller and earned comparisons to the books of Carl Hiaasen and Janet Evanovich. Now the Spellmans, a highly functioning yet supremely dysfunctional family of private investigators, return in a sidesplittingly funny story of suspicion, surveillance, and surprise.

When Izzy Spellman, PI, is arrested for the fourth time in three months, she writes it off as a job hazard. She’s been (obsessively) keeping surveillance on...

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Overview

Their first caper, The Spellman Files, was a New York Times bestseller and earned comparisons to the books of Carl Hiaasen and Janet Evanovich. Now the Spellmans, a highly functioning yet supremely dysfunctional family of private investigators, return in a sidesplittingly funny story of suspicion, surveillance, and surprise.

When Izzy Spellman, PI, is arrested for the fourth time in three months, she writes it off as a job hazard. She’s been (obsessively) keeping surveillance on a suspicious next door neighbor (suspect’s name: John Brown), convinced he’s up to no good—even if her parents (the management at Spellman Investigations) are not.

When the (displeased) management refuses to bail Izzy out, it is Morty, Izzy’s octogenarian lawyer, who comes to her rescue. But before he can build a defense, he has to know the facts. Over weak coffee and diner sandwiches, Izzy unveils the whole truth and nothing but the truth—as only she, a thirty-year-old licensed professional, can.

When not compiling Suspicious Behavior Reports on all her family members, staking out her neighbor, or trying to keep her sister, Rae, from stalking her “best friend,” Inspector Henry Stone, Izzy has been busy attempting to apprehend the copycat vandal whose attacks on Mrs. Chandler’s holiday lawn tableaux perfectly and eerily match a series of crimes from 1991–92, when Izzy and her best friend, Petra, happened to be at their most rebellious and delinquent. As Curse of the Spellmans unfolds, it’s clear that Morty may be on retainer, but Izzy is still very much on the case...er, cases—her own and that of every other Spellman family member.

(Re)meet the Spellmans, a family in which eavesdropping is a mandatory skill, locks are meant to be picked, past missteps are never forgotten, and blackmail is the preferred form of negotiation—all in the name of unconditional love.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“ONE OF THE BEST COMIC NOVELS I’VE EVER READ, AND THAT INCLUDES CARL HIAASEN AND JANET EVANOVICH.”

—THE GLOBE AND MAIL

“WEIRDLY LOVABLE SNOOPS.”—USA TODAY

“A madcap roller coaster ride.” —Library Journal

“Whip-smart sass.” —People

“She’s part Bridget Jones, part Columbo. Lisa Lutz’s resilient PI Isabel Spellman emerges as a thoroughly unusual heroine.”

—USA Today

Marilyn Stasio
Izzy returns in Curse of the Spellmans with another breathless tale of comic woe…It's nice to hear such an original voice.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

This lighthearted romp, focusing on the antics of Isabel Spellman and her family of private detectives, is delightful. There's not much vocal variation by Ari Graynor for the mystery's female characters: 30-year-old Isabel sounds exactly like her teen sister and her mother. But Graynor shines portraying some of the male characters, like Morty, the Spellmans' elderly lawyer, or Isabel's slurring, cigar-smoking roommate. Isabel digitally records conversations, and Graynor recites them back in a hilarious deadpan rendition. Lutz's first outing (The Spellman Files) was fresh, funny and unwieldy; her plotting skills take a leap forward here, masterfully juggling several compelling mystery threads at a time. The quirky Spellman family is still fun, and Graynor's sardonic and sly delivery doesn't attempt to upstage the writing. One disappointment is that S&S didn't release an unabridged version. Simultaneous release with the S&S hardcover (Reviews, Jan. 14). (Apr.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal

In this sequel to Lutz's side-splittingly funny debut novel, The Spellman Files, licensed P.I. Isabel "Izzy" Spellman has been arrested for the fourth time in two months, and no one from her oddball family of fellow investigators will bail her out. Her sister, Rae, has run over Izzy's "fiancé," Inspector Henry Stone, during a driving lesson. The senior Spellmans have staged a "disappearance," their term for a vacation where no one can reach them. To complicate Izzy's life further, a man with the suspiciously ordinary name of John Brown has moved next door, and she's absolutely positive he's up to no good. In other words, it's life as usual for the zany Spellmans, and who knows what will happen next. Once again, Lutz treats readers to a madcap roller-coaster ride. Fans of such hilarious sleuths as Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum, Meg Cabot's Heather Wells, and Sarah Strohmeyer's Bubbles Yablonsky will find that Izzy Spellman can make them laugh their socks off, too. Sure to be popular in fiction collections of all sizes. [See Prepub Alert, LJ11/15/07.]
—Shelley Mosley Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information

Kirkus Reviews
The dysfunctional Spellman family private-investigation firm is back in action with another heavily annotated adventure. Isabel "Izzy" Spellman has a problem. Through no fault of her own, she keeps getting arrested. Yes, she is arrested for investigating-some would say stalking-her parents' next-door neighbor, whom she briefly dated. And, yes, she has broken into his house, used a GPS tracker on his car and rifled through his garbage, despite, at one point, a temporary restraining order. But to a Spellman, raised to be a PI, this is normal behavior when suspicion lingers that something is "off." The fact that the neighbor is neither a client nor suspected of any known crime makes Izzy's obsession only slightly odder than usual. But Izzy's younger sister, Rae, is also acting bizarrely, as is Izzy's older brother, David, who has abandoned his straight-shooter lawyer lifestyle to drink all day. Izzy's best buddy Petra has disappeared. Izzy's father has a secret of his own: He certainly couldn't be going to a gym and eating broccoli voluntarily. In this second, longer Spellman adventure from former screenwriter Lutz (The Spellman Files, 2006), some of the debut's sparkle is gone: The idiosyncrasies of this mismatched family are now known, including Izzy's tendency to footnote anything that might approximate a fact. And the central story-Izzy's fixation on the neighbor-isn't founded on much. (He claims to be a landscaper and yet shreds a lot of paper.) But the snappy, honest narration by Get Smart-obsessed Izzy keeps things popping, with its mix of trade talk and brutal honesty: " . . . tonight would be the last time I could investigate (a.k.a. break into) Subject's residence without thewatchful eye of the parental unit." Most of the side stories, such as one involving Rae's teacher's dirty tissues, keep the laughs coming. The Spellmans return with more personality than plot. Agent: Stephanie Kip Rostan/Levine Greenberg Literary Agency
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416532422
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 2/10/2009
  • Series: Spellman Files Series , #2
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 251,278
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Lisa Lutz

Lisa Lutz is the author of the New York Times bestselling, Edgar Award- and Macavity Award-nominated, and Alex Award-winning Spellman series. She is the coauthor of Heads You Lose, written with David Hayward. She lives and works in upstate New York.

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Read an Excerpt

Curse of the Spellmans

Sunday, January 8
1100 hrs

I have trouble with beginnings. For one thing, I don’t find stories all that interesting when you start at the beginning. If you ask me, you only know there is a story when you get to the middle. And besides, beginnings are hard to determine. One could argue that the true beginning to all stories is the beginning of time. But Morty is already eighty-two years old, so given our time constraints, I’ll begin this story on the date I met, or, more specifically, first laid eyes on “John Brown” (hereafter referred to as “Subject” or by some variation of his alias, “John Brown”).

I remember the day that Subject moved in next door to my parents like it was yesterday. He was taking over the second-story apartment of a triplex, previously occupied by Mr. Rafter, whose tenancy lasted close to thirty years. David knew Mr. Rafter better than I since his bedroom was six feet from Rafter’s den and their windows were level enough to provide each a fishbowl view of the other. Since Rafter spent most of his time watching television in his den and David spent most of his time studying in his bedroom, the two men got to know each other in their respective comfortable silences (minus the sounds of the television, that is).

But I digress. As I said, I remember the day Subject moved in next door like it was yesterday. And I suppose the reason I remember it so vividly is because of the events that transpired earlier that day, the events that caused me to be at my family’s home at the precise moment Subject’s moving truck double-parked out front. So, I’m thinking I should probably start earlier that day and mention the aforementioned events.

0900 hrs

I woke in my bed, or, more precisely, the bed in the home of Bernie Peterson, a retired SFPD lieutenant whom I sublet from. My illegal residence in the Richmond district is exactly 2.8 miles and one giant hill away from my parents’ home, but I’m always just a phone call away.

The phone rang, like it always does, before I’d had enough coffee to face the day.

“Hello.”

“Isabel, it’s Mom.”

“Who?”

“I’m not in the mood for this today.”

“Not ringing a bell. When did we meet?”

“Listen to me very carefully; I don’t want to repeat myself. I need you to pick up Rae from the hospital.”

“Is she all right?” I asked, concern altering the tone of my voice.1

“She’s fine. But Henry2 isn’t.”

“What happened?”

“She ran him over.”

“How?”

“With a car, Isabel.”

“I got that part, Mom.”

“Izzy, I’m in the middle of a job. I have to go. Please get all the details of what went down. As usual, record everything. Call me when you get home.”

San Francisco General Hospital
1000 hrs

The woman at the reception desk told me that only immediate family would be allowed in Henry’s room. I flashed my quarter-carat engagement ring and asked if fiancées qualified.

A nurse directed me toward room 873 and explained that he was in serious, but stable, condition.

“Can you tell me what happened?” I asked the nurse.

“Your daughter is with him now. I’ll let her explain.”

“My daughter?”

I found my sister, Rae, sitting by Inspector Henry Stone’s bedside, staring at the electronic device monitoring his vitals.

Henry’s nurse tried to smile over her annoyance at Rae’s hypervigilant announcements.

“Seventy-two. His heart rate went up by five beats,” Rae said as I entered.

My sister’s eyes were bloodshot and her flushed cheeks showed signs of recent crying. The nurse looked relieved when she saw me and said to Rae, “Oh, good. Your mother’s here.”

“Eew,” I said, offended. “I’m not her mother. Do I look old enough to be the mother of a fifteen-year-old girl?”

“I hadn’t thought about it,” she replied.

“I’m his fiancée,” I clarified to the nurse, and then turned to the inspector.

Henry Stone was lying in the hospital bed with an assortment of tubes and monitors attached to his body, wearing the standard-issue hospital gown. Minus the unfortunate outfit and the single gauze bandage stuck to his left temple, he looked pretty much the same as he always does: well groomed, slightly underweight, and handsome in a way that’s very easy to ignore. His usually short-cropped salt-and-pepper hair had grown out more in the past few weeks, which had the added benefit of making him appear younger than his forty-four years. Although at that moment the dark circles under his eyes and his patently agitated expression had offset that benefit.

“How is he?” I asked the nurse, trying to emote the appropriate shade of concern.

“There’s some bruising on the legs just below the knee, but nothing’s broken. The main concern is the concussion. He lost consciousness for five minutes and is experiencing nausea. We did a CT and everything looks fine, but we need to keep him under observation for forty-eight hours.”

“Will he have permanent brain damage?” Rae asked.

Henry grabbed my wrist. Hard. “I need to speak to you in private,” he said.

I turned to Rae. “Leave the room.”

“No,” she replied. I never thought a single syllable could possess such heartbreaking desperation.

“Get out,” Henry demanded, unmoved by her wells of emotion.

“Are you ever going to forgive me?” she said to him.

“It’s only been two hours since you ran me over,” he replied.

“Accidentally!” she shouted.

Then Henry shot her a look that seemed to have more power than any lecture, punishment, or curfew my parents ever unleashed on Rae.

“Two and a half hours,” Rae mumbled as she soberly exited the room.

Henry gripped my arm even tighter after Rae was out of earshot. “That kind of hurts, Henry.”

“Don’t talk to me about pain.”

“Right. Sorry.”

“I need you to do me a favor.”

“Shoot.”

“Keep her away from me.”

“For how long?”

“A couple weeks.”

“Dream on.”

“Isabel, please. I need a break.”

“I’ll do what I can, but—”

“Your sister almost killed me today—”

“Accidentally!” shouted Rae from the other side of the door.

“I need a Rae vacation.3 Please. Help me.”

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Introduction

An Introduction to Curse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz

"My mother used to say that if you can't verify a man's existence, you probably shouldn't go home with him." — Isabel Spellman, Curse of the Spellmans

Isabel "Izzy" Spellman — everyone's favorite female PI and the madcap heroine of the uproarious New York Times bestseller The Spellman Files — is back, and she's just been sprung from jail for the fourth time in three months. When she finds herself homeless and simultaneously barred from the Spellman offices-cum-residence by a very inconvenient temporary restraining order, Izzy meets with Mort Schilling, her octogenarian lawyer, to hammer out a defense and save her now endangered PI license. Over San Francisco's best New York-style deli fare, Izzy recaps the highlights of her recent past and her encounters with the man whose villainy she's determined to unveil — even if she must break the law to do it.

When Izzy first met John Brown, she couldn't have been more pleased with Spellman Investigations' new neighbor. Handsome in a way reminiscent of her favorite Hitchcock actor,* a great cook, and interested in her, John was too good to be true, so Izzy did what any sensible Spellman would do — she began to investigate him. But between his "so common, too common, conveniently common" name, his curious reluctance to let her rifle through his wallet, and the permanently locked room in his apartment, Izzy can't get the information she needs for a background check. "His kiss made me forget everything," she admits, but — forced to rely solely on her gut instincts — Izzy concludes that he is up to no good.

John Brownsoon becomes "Subject" and Izzy's infatuation quickly turns to obsession — of the nonromantic variety — when she bumps into him as he's depositing his recycling and observes that "For a gardener, he sure shreds a lot of paper." Izzy finds her suspicions validated when further surveillance reveals Subject participating in two clandestine package exchanges. However, Subject proves to be as wily as Izzy is persistent, and soon both the law and her parents are siding with him and trying to put a stop to her snooping.

To further complicate matters, ferreting out Subject's crimes isn't the only unpaid investigation that Izzy is working. A peculiar family on the best of days, the Spellman clan is outdoing itself in the erratic behavior department, so much so that Izzy finds herself writing up Suspicious Behavior Reports on each member — even her brother, David, a normally boring specimen of male perfection — hoping to figure out why everyone around her is acting so nutty. Her hitherto health-phobic dad is surreptitiously toting around a yoga mat and eating oatmeal, her mother is making midnight forays to vandalize a motorbike, and David has been moping and indulging in midday whiskey-tippling while his wife, Petra, suddenly goes out of town. Only Izzy's teenage sister seems to be herself. But since "normal" for Rae means that she's recently run over her forty-year-old police inspector and "best friend," Henry Stone, Izzy finds herself posing as Henry's fiancée to allay the fears of a nosy social services worker. To cap it all off, someone is reprising Izzy's most creative juvenile vandalism and the victim hires Spellman Investigations to find the culprit.

Curse of the Spellmans is a laugh-out-loud escapade that marks the much-anticipated return of detection's most winning dysfunctional family and confirms Lisa Lutz as one of today's finest comic writers because whenever Isabel Spellman** is on the case hilarious high-jinks are never far behind.

*Joseph Cotton.
**Or Izzy Ellmanspay — depending upon which business card she's using.

Discussion Questions:

1. Is Henry only interested in Rae's welfare or are there other reasons he's let himself become a de facto Spellman?

2. Why should Subject's complimentary remarks about Izzy's haircut tip her off that he probably isn't the right man for her?

3. Does Izzy jump the gun on her suspicions? Would you feel comfortable dating someone as private as Subject?

4. Does Mrs. Spellman already sense Izzy's feelings for Henry when she asks Izzy to masquerade as his fiancée?

5. How could Izzy and Petra's Groundhog Day, Valentine's Day, and St. Patrick's Day "modifications" of Mrs. Chandler's holiday tableaux be adjusted to make more of a political statement?

6. Are Rae's duplicitous e-mails to her vacationing parents entirely self-serving or do they actually help her parents' marriage?

7. What Spellman parenting techniques/aphorisms would you incorporate into your own child(ren)'s upbringing?

8. In which Olympic sport could you envision Izzy competing? Why?

9. What does Izzy's evolution from addictively watching Get Smart to Dr. Who say about her? Do you think Izzy will see the upcoming movie adaptation of Get Smart?

10. Other than professionally, in what ways do the Spellmans' suspicious natures and surveillance habits benefit them as a family?

11. Despite knowing her dating habits, both Mort and Daniel offer to set Izzy up romantically. Do you know someone — real or fictional — that you would like to introduce her to? Who is it and why do you think they would hit it off?

12. Imagine you're a bartender inventing the Izzy Spellman cocktail. What would be in it?

Although Lisa Lutz attended UC Santa Cruz, UC Irvine, the University of Leeds in England and San Francisco State University, she still does not have a bachelor's degree. Lisa spent most of the 1990s hopping through a string of low-paying odd jobs while writing and rewriting the screenplay Plan B, a mob comedy. After the film was made in 2000, she vowed she would never write another screenplay. A motion picture adaptation of The Spellman Files is in development with Paramount Pictures.

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Reading Group Guide

An Introduction to Curse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz

"My mother used to say that if you can't verify a man's existence, you probably shouldn't go home with him." — Isabel Spellman, Curse of the Spellmans

Isabel "Izzy" Spellman — everyone's favorite female PI and the madcap heroine of the uproarious New York Times bestseller The Spellman Files — is back, and she's just been sprung from jail for the fourth time in three months. When she finds herself homeless and simultaneously barred from the Spellman offices-cum-residence by a very inconvenient temporary restraining order, Izzy meets with Mort Schilling, her octogenarian lawyer, to hammer out a defense and save her now endangered PI license. Over San Francisco's best New York-style deli fare, Izzy recaps the highlights of her recent past and her encounters with the man whose villainy she's determined to unveil — even if she must break the law to do it.

When Izzy first met John Brown, she couldn't have been more pleased with Spellman Investigations' new neighbor. Handsome in a way reminiscent of her favorite Hitchcock actor,* a great cook, and interested in her, John was too good to be true, so Izzy did what any sensible Spellman would do — she began to investigate him. But between his "so common, too common, conveniently common" name, his curious reluctance to let her rifle through his wallet, and the permanently locked room in his apartment, Izzy can't get the information she needs for a background check. "His kiss made me forget everything," she admits, but — forced to rely solely on her gut instincts — Izzy concludes that he is up to no good.

John Brown soon becomes "Subject" and Izzy's infatuation quickly turns to obsession — of the nonromantic variety — when she bumps into him as he's depositing his recycling and observes that "For a gardener, he sure shreds a lot of paper." Izzy finds her suspicions validated when further surveillance reveals Subject participating in two clandestine package exchanges. However, Subject proves to be as wily as Izzy is persistent, and soon both the law and her parents are siding with him and trying to put a stop to her snooping.

To further complicate matters, ferreting out Subject's crimes isn't the only unpaid investigation that Izzy is working. A peculiar family on the best of days, the Spellman clan is outdoing itself in the erratic behavior department, so much so that Izzy finds herself writing up Suspicious Behavior Reports on each member — even her brother, David, a normally boring specimen of male perfection — hoping to figure out why everyone around her is acting so nutty. Her hitherto health-phobic dad is surreptitiously toting around a yoga mat and eating oatmeal, her mother is making midnight forays to vandalize a motorbike, and David has been moping and indulging in midday whiskey-tippling while his wife, Petra, suddenly goes out of town. Only Izzy's teenage sister seems to be herself. But since "normal" for Rae means that she's recently run over her forty-year-old police inspector and "best friend," Henry Stone, Izzy finds herself posing as Henry's fiancée to allay the fears of a nosy social services worker. To cap it all off, someone is reprising Izzy's most creative juvenile vandalism and the victim hires Spellman Investigations to find the culprit.

Curse of the Spellmans is a laugh-out-loud escapade that marks the much-anticipated return of detection's most winning dysfunctional family and confirms Lisa Lutz as one of today's finest comic writers because whenever Isabel Spellman** is on the case hilarious high-jinks are never far behind.

*Joseph Cotton.
**Or Izzy Ellmanspay — depending upon which business card she's using.

Discussion Questions:

1. Is Henry only interested in Rae's welfare or are there other reasons he's let himself become a de facto Spellman?

2. Why should Subject's complimentary remarks about Izzy's haircut tip her off that he probably isn't the right man for her?

3. Does Izzy jump the gun on her suspicions? Would you feel comfortable dating someone as private as Subject?

4. Does Mrs. Spellman already sense Izzy's feelings for Henry when she asks Izzy to masquerade as his fiancée?

5. How could Izzy and Petra's Groundhog Day, Valentine's Day, and St. Patrick's Day "modifications" of Mrs. Chandler's holiday tableaux be adjusted to make more of a political statement?

6. Are Rae's duplicitous e-mails to her vacationing parents entirely self-serving or do they actually help her parents' marriage?

7. What Spellman parenting techniques/aphorisms would you incorporate into your own child(ren)'s upbringing?

8. In which Olympic sport could you envision Izzy competing? Why?

9. What does Izzy's evolution from addictively watching Get Smart to Dr. Who say about her? Do you think Izzy will see the upcoming movie adaptation of Get Smart?

10. Other than professionally, in what ways do the Spellmans' suspicious natures and surveillance habits benefit them as a family?

11. Despite knowing her dating habits, both Mort and Daniel offer to set Izzy up romantically. Do you know someone — real or fictional — that you would like to introduce her to? Who is it and why do you think they would hit it off?

12. Imagine you're a bartender inventing the Izzy Spellman cocktail. What would be in it?

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 125 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(55)

4 Star

(43)

3 Star

(16)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(6)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 125 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 3, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Funny Style!

    I love this series, but this is my favorite of the three I've read, so far. It's really out there as far as the story line and the characters. The writing is quite funny and I enjoyed it all throughout the series. My favorite recurring line is: "I have no idea what you're talking about." Read it and find out!!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 23, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Love this series

    CD/abridged/Chick-Mystery: There are times I get an unbridged audio and wish it was abridged and then there are times I get an abridged and feel it is the right length. However, with the Spellman Files series I wish I had the unabridged. There is so much to like about this dysfunctional family that happens to be private detectives. Izzy is a lot like Stephanie Plum, only Izzy is a little smarter and less girly. I like that the endings aren't so predictable and not everyone is happily ever after. I did see the beginnings of a future love triangle forming in this one. This one starts with Izzy getting arrested for the fourth time in two weeks and the back-story to follow. It's really good stuff and I recommend it.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 19, 2010

    Spellman's #2 I dare you not to laugh!

    The second Spellman book is an absolute treat. You will laugh out loud as the author continues to build the colorful characters.
    Once you pick it up, you'll have a hard time putting it down. It's hard not to start anticipating the third book while you're still reading this one! This is a series that I hope lasts as long as Stephanie Plums!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 19, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A great book!

    My friend bought me the first book in this series and I've been hooked ever since. The characters are hilarious, but they're crafted to be so human that they pull on your heartstrings. The flow of the plot and the writing style is unique and interesting, but you quickly get pulled into the story and start to enjoy the format. I'm not the type of person who usually laughs out loud, but the antics of the Spellman family had me cracking up!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2012

    Loving this series!

    So worth the read!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2012

    Great series

    I just discover Lisa, and I love this series. The Spellmans, though competent and great PIs are an act in and of themselves and take family dynamics to an all new level. The main character is both funny and slightly sad at the same tine- you are always rooting for her to get her act together.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 20, 2010

    Waste of time!

    The first book in this series, "The Spellman Files" was fun to read. The novel way of adding footnotes to explain past references, etc. was refreshing. When I picked up this second book in the series the same approach was tedious and detracted from the plot and the character development. I kept hoping that some of the characters had developed a semblance of at least a minimal intelligence! The younger sister needs to have a "time out" for the sake of the readers...at least be sent to her room for an extended period. I can't say how disappointed I was in this book. The author needs to change her style. I don't think I would ever buy another book in this series.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 7, 2010

    If Stephanie Plum was Jewish...

    The Spellman Files books are humorous, if predicatbale, but just a little too similar to the Stephanie Plum series to be called original. There is a different level of dysfunction with the Spellmans than there is with the Plums, and the Spellman females are, frankly, irritating even as fictional characters. The plot of this book is pretty easy to figure out if you can get past the outrageous behavior of the protagonist to actually pay attention to the plot. Her mother is no better, and her sister worse; by the end of the book you will have developed an empathty if not sympathy for those close to them...especially the ones who don't want to be but are having their lives disrupted anyway. Funny series though, easy reading, something light for when you're in that mood.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2010

    Curse of the Spellmans

    I found the writing style childish and very difficult to follow. The characters were unrealistic. I felt she was trying to write in the style of Janet Ivanovich but she very badly missed the mark. I read about 50 pages and gave it to the book charity drive at Dominick's.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 17, 2012

    love this crazy family

    a great series love the spellmans

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 5, 2012

    RECOMMEND

    I HAVE ENJOYED THIS SERIES AND WILL CONTINUE TO READ THEM.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2012

    Loved it!

    The Spellmans are quirky and hilarious.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 23, 2014

    I love them

    I read the first book and loved it! Since then I have bought all of them, they are hilarious, and great reads. I wish they had more intresting covers, I bought the first book on a whim, otherwise by just looking at the cover I would not have bought it and missed out a great author and her books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2014

    Fun read!

    Quick wit, seriously dysfunctional family, great dry humor. Is a feel good series.

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  • Posted June 14, 2013

    More zany fun with the Spellmans

    Lisa Lutz has done it again. Can't help loving this crazy family.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2013

    Not my first choice

    I'm not impressed with the Spellmans. Trying too hard to be funny. SLOW and tedious! Won't be reading anymore of this series.

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  • Posted May 26, 2012

    Fun series

    While I enjoyed the first book in the series more, I still found this to be fun to read.

    I will buy the next in the series.

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  • Posted May 23, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    This was the most "fun" read I have experienced in a very long time...I laughed out loud which is very unusual for me!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2012

    Loved it

    I just finished this,the second in the series and enjoyed it as much as the first. As soon as I read the last line I went to the shop feature of my Nook and bought the third in the series. Funny, charming escapism reading, not meant to be deep literature or compelling mystery. Fun read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2012

    Laugh til you stop

    I read the first, and had to have the second! These are funny funny funny books. Very Janet Evonavitch (sp?) - with a fabulous cast of characters.

    I highly recommend the series for anyone needed to really relax and enjoy a dysfunctional family.


    KER

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