The Spellman Files (Spellman Files Series #1)

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Overview

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 ...
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Overview

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.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

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 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus

"A spirited, funny debut...a rush of humor and chaos...casual, swift, and hip...A fresh story that works real issues through an offbeat premise."

-- (starred review)

Library Journal

First novelist Lutz introduces a comical mystery series with this book, which features the Spellman family of private eyes. Twenty-eight-year-old Isabel "Izzy" Spellman has a problem with her bosses at Spellman Investigations, namely, her parents. The family business consists of Albert and Olivia, Izzy, and precocious 14-year-old daughter Rae, named after another member of the business, Uncle Ray. Rae's primary job within the firm is keeping track of Izzy for her parents; Izzy had been a problem child, and they fear she may lapse at any moment. The eldest of the Spellman children, David, an attorney, isn't part of the firm but is often called upon to negotiate among family members. The Spellmans spend a lot of time surveilling each other as they all try to find out who is doing what and to, or with, whom. Christina Moore does a good job reading; each character's voice has a unique nuance that makes it easy to follow the person speaking. Recommended for public libraries.
—Deb West

Kirkus Reviews
A spirited, funny debut from screenwriter Lutz that mixes chick-lit, mystery and a dose of TV nostalgia. Isabel Spellman has family issues. Her parents are a mismatched pair of private investigators who routinely run credit and background checks on their older daughter's dates. Her Uncle Ray survived a bout of cancer and now makes up for lost time, drinking, smoking and disappearing for days on end. Her amoral baby sister, Rae, negotiates everything for cash or candy, and her brother, David, is distressingly perfect. In its own way, this dysfunctional family works, and 28-year-old "Izzy" works with it, literally, as a PI for Spellman Investigations. A formerly wayward teen, known for her own lost weekends, Izzy has found herself in the nuts and bolts of PI work, from surveillance to lock-picking. But once Izzy falls for ultra-normal Daniel (he's a dentist), she begins to question her lifestyle, with its constant undercurrent of deceit and suspicion. Not that it doesn't fit her misfit personality, with its twin preoccupations of drinking and Get Smart re-runs. "I had always loved the job," she realizes in a moment of clarity. "I just hadn't always liked who I became doing it." But her exit strategy is complicated when her parents stick her on a dead-end case that excites her investigator's instincts; her best friend, Petra, starts acting oddly normal (and having tattoos removed); and Rae disappears. Written in a conversational first-person that includes Izzy's "files," such as her list of ex-boyfriends and their exit lines, these various mysteries all come together in a rush of humor and chaos. It's all casual, swift and hip. But an underpinning of reality, the complex emotions of growingup and letting go, shows through occasionally, warming up this hilarious debut. A fresh story that works real issues through an offbeat premise. First printing of 150,000
From the Publisher
"Fast-paced, irreverent, and very funny, The Spellman Files is like Harriet the Spy for grown-ups."

— Curtis Sittenfeld, author of The Man of My Dreams and Prep

"Hilarious. My enjoyment of The Spellman Files was only slightly undercut by my irritation that I hadn't written it myself. The funniest book I've read in years!"

— Lauren Weisberger, author of The Devil Wears Prada and Everyone Worth Knowing

"The Spellman Files is hilarious, outrageous, and hip. Izzy Spellman, P.I., is a total original, with a voice so fresh and real, you want more, more, more. At long last, we know what Nancy Drew would have been like had she come from a family of lovable crackpots. Lisa Lutz has created a delicious comedy with skill and truth. I loved it."

— Adriana Trigiani, author of Lucia, Lucia and Big Stone Gap

"A spirited, funny debut...a rush of humor and chaos...casual, swift, and hip...A fresh story that works real issues through an offbeat premise."

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416532392
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 3/13/2007
  • Series: Spellman Files Series , #1
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 6.60 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

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

The Spellman Files

A Novel
By Lisa Lutz

Simon & Schuster

Copyright © 2007 Lisa Lutz
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9781416532392

THE INTERVIEW

Chapter 1

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 andOlivia Spellman, is that correct?"

"Yes."

"You have two siblings: David Spellman, thirty, and Rae Spellman, fourteen. Is that correct?"

"Yes."

"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.



Continues...


Excerpted from The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz Copyright © 2007 by Lisa Lutz. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Introduction

An Introduction to The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz

Surveillance ReportSubject: Isabel "Izzy" Spellman
Age: 28
Occupation: Private Investigator
Employer: Spellman Investigations
Residence: 1799 Clay Street (Spellman family residence and location of Spellman Investigations), San Francisco
Hobbies: Watching Get Smart reruns, entering and exiting through windows rather than doors, drinking
Known Associates: Petra Clark (Lower Haight Street hairdresser), Milo (bartender at The Philosopher's Club)
Recent Suspicious Activity: Impersonating a schoolteacher, physically threatening a 14-year-old boy, breaking and entering a SFPD officer's apartment

Isabel "Izzy" Spellman — Private Investigator and one of the most original comic heroines to debut in years — is on the run. After a dizzying chase through the streets of San Francisco, she turns to confront her pursuers: "Mom. Dad. This has to stop" (p. 2). Izzy's plea betrays her desperation — not only to shake their loving but overweening parental attentions but to make sense of the chaos* into which her life has recently devolved. She's just been dumped by a dentist, the witnesses in the cold case she's working are stonewalling her, and her fifteen-year-old sister, Rae, has disappeared — presumably kidnapped. Izzy is well aware that her life and family are more than a little unusual but she needs answers. The problem is, she doesn't know the questions or even whom to ask.

At the age of 28, Izzy still lives with her parents in their rambling San Francisco Victorian home-cum-office. An operative in the family detective business, SpellmanInvestigations, she has never held down a job where deceit and suspicion weren't considered standard operating procedure. When she finds herself under interrogation by Henry Stone — the police inspector in charge of Rae's disappearance — Izzy casts back to the root of the Spellman troubles: the birth of her older brother, David. Handsome, brilliant, athletic, and possessed of "modesty beyond his years" (p. 11), David is a freakishly perfect man born into their otherwise perfectly freakish family. Two years older than Izzy and now a successful corporate lawyer, David defined everything that Izzy would rebel against being.

After years of petty and not-so-petty delinquency, Izzy eventually settles down to an acceptably respectable lifestyle but her parents continue to fear that the "old Isabel" might return and corrupt the precocious and extremely impressionable Rae. On a routine surveillance job at the San Francisco Tennis Club, Izzy falls for Daniel Castillo, a handsome dentist who shares her passion for Get Smart reruns. While most parents might find Daniel promising boyfriend material — and certainly several steps up from Izzy's usual type — a string of run-ins with unsavory dentists has left them suspicious of anyone authorized to dispense laughing gas. As Izzy resorts to one madcap subterfuge after another in the hopes of keeping Daniel and her parents in the dark about one another, she realizes that it's high time to leave Spellman Investigations and start a normal life.

Unfortunately, Izzy's parents extort her into taking on one last case before they'll pony up with the references she needs to find other work. Much to everyone's chagrin, Izzy becomes obsessed with solving the hitherto unsolved fifteen-year-old missing persons case, no matter whose toes she steps on. In the midst of it all, Izzy must take time out to track down her reprobate Uncle Ray — whose "lost weekends" of gambling and binge drinking now figure in the double-digits — as well as ferret out the identity of David's secret girlfriend. So when Rae mysteriously disappears, Izzy finds herself pushed to the edge of what this hard-drinking, wise-cracking PI can handle.

At once heart-warming, suspenseful, and laugh-out-loud funny, The Spellman Files is a brilliantly zany take on the hard-boiled detective genre and introduces us to an utterly new kind of screwball heroine. Spend some time with the Spellmans and you'll find out why the family that sleuths together stays together.

*Chaos in its traditional sense as opposed to KAOS, The International Organiztion of Evil, which also figures prominently in Izzy's life.

Suggested Questions for Discussion:

1. Izzy's delinquent behavior actually prepared her for her work as a private investigator. "My life to date had ingrained in me a certain natural stealth, had taught me how to test limits, and had disciplined me to know precisely how much I could get away with" (p. 25). Do you retain a youthful bad habit that has actually benefited you as an adult? How might Rae's recreational surveillance benefit her, in ways other than being a PI, as an adult?

2. "There was nothing my mother wouldn't do to protect her children, even if it was morally ambiguous" (p. 61). How did Mrs. Spellman's exposure of Ex-Boyfriend #6's porn addiction ultimately affect Izzy?

3. Lawyer #4 describes Izzy as "a cross between Dirty Harry and Nancy Drew" (p. 90). Is this an accurate description? Are there other sleuths that Izzy is heir to?

4. Besides Daniel's "cocoa legs," Izzy is initially attracted to him because of his assertion that, "some people need to win and some people need to lose." (p. 123) What does this say about her?

5. Are David and Petra being paranoid in hiding their relationship from Izzy? What might she have done had she known they were dating earlier?

6. Uncle Ray tells Izzy that "being enemies with Rae was easier than being friends with her" (p. 204). Could this be said about any other Spellmans?

7. Does wire-tapping constitute a larger betrayal of privacy than simple eavesdropping or tailing?

8. Their mom tells David that, "'Without this job, [Izzy is] Uncle Ray waiting to happen'" (p. 235). Is that an accurate assessment?9. Was the threat of a temporary restraining order the best way to prevent Izzy from further pursuing the Snow case? What method of discouragement would you recommend?

10. Daniel claims that his romantic relationship with Isabel ended with "the fake drug deal" (p. 309) Do you think they might otherwise have been able to work out their differences? What qualities does a man need to be compatible with Isabel?

Bonus Quiz: Could you be a Spellman?

1.You've just met someone new and attractive. Do you:

a. mumble and look away shyly
b. ask for his/her phone number
c. "borrow" his/her wallet so you can copy the information from his/her driver's license for a background check

2. You never leave the house without:

a. a heavy object such as a flashlight in case you need to break a head/taillight
b. a snack in case you get hungry
c. an extra $20 in case of an emergency

3. After losing a game of tennis, you think:

a. "that was fun."
b. "next time I'll win."
c. "losing is like breathing to me."

4. You get caught in a little white lie so you:

a. confess and apologize profusely
b. make up a more elaborate lie — or several — to cover your tracks
c. act defensive

5. The best present you ever received as a child was:

a. a new bike
b. a puppy
c. a set of lock picks

Give yourself a point for every correct answer.
Correction Key: 1. c.; 2. a.; 3. c.; 4. b.; 5. c.

If you scored:
0-2 points, you're hopelessly straight
3-4 points, Spellman operative material
5 points, a Spellman separated at birth

Lisa Lutz is the author of The Spellman Files, a New York Times best-seller; Curse of the Spellmans, a national best-seller and nominee for both the Macavity and Edgar® Awards for Best Novel of 2008; and the critically acclaimed Revenge of the Spellmans. Although she 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 The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz

Surveillance Report Subject: Isabel "Izzy" Spellman Age: 28
Occupation: Private Investigator Employer: Spellman Investigations Residence: 1799 Clay Street (Spellman family residence and location of Spellman Investigations), San Francisco Hobbies: Watching Get Smart reruns, entering and exiting through windows rather than doors, drinking Known Associates: Petra Clark (Lower Haight Street hairdresser), Milo (bartender at The Philosopher's Club)
Recent Suspicious Activity: Impersonating a schoolteacher, physically threatening a 14-year-old boy, breaking and entering a SFPD officer's apartment

Isabel "Izzy" Spellman — Private Investigator and one of the most original comic heroines to debut in years — is on the run. After a dizzying chase through the streets of San Francisco, she turns to confront her pursuers: "Mom. Dad. This has to stop" (p. 2). Izzy's plea betrays her desperation — not only to shake their loving but overweening parental attentions but to make sense of the chaos* into which her life has recently devolved. She's just been dumped by a dentist, the witnesses in the cold case she's working are stonewalling her, and her fifteen-year-old sister, Rae, has disappeared — presumably kidnapped. Izzy is well aware that her life and family are more than a little unusual but she needs answers. The problem is, she doesn't know the questions or even whom to ask.

At the age of 28, Izzy still lives with her parents in their rambling San Francisco Victorian home-cum-office. An operative in the family detective business, Spellman Investigations, she has never held down a job where deceit and suspicion weren't considered standard operating procedure. When she finds herself under interrogation by Henry Stone — the police inspector in charge of Rae's disappearance — Izzy casts back to the root of the Spellman troubles: the birth of her older brother, David. Handsome, brilliant, athletic, and possessed of "modesty beyond his years" (p. 11), David is a freakishly perfect man born into their otherwise perfectly freakish family. Two years older than Izzy and now a successful corporate lawyer, David defined everything that Izzy would rebel against being.

After years of petty and not-so-petty delinquency, Izzy eventually settles down to an acceptably respectable lifestyle but her parents continue to fear that the "old Isabel" might return and corrupt the precocious and extremely impressionable Rae. On a routine surveillance job at the San Francisco Tennis Club, Izzy falls for Daniel Castillo, a handsome dentist who shares her passion for Get Smart reruns. While most parents might find Daniel promising boyfriend material — and certainly several steps up from Izzy's usual type — a string of run-ins with unsavory dentists has left them suspicious of anyone authorized to dispense laughing gas. As Izzy resorts to one madcap subterfuge after another in the hopes of keeping Daniel and her parents in the dark about one another, she realizes that it's high time to leave Spellman Investigations and start a normal life.

Unfortunately, Izzy's parents extort her into taking on one last case before they'll pony up with the references she needs to find other work. Much to everyone's chagrin, Izzy becomes obsessed with solving the hitherto unsolved fifteen-year-old missing persons case, no matter whose toes she steps on. In the midst of it all, Izzy must take time out to track down her reprobate Uncle Ray — whose "lost weekends" of gambling and binge drinking now figure in the double-digits — as well as ferret out the identity of David's secret girlfriend. So when Rae mysteriously disappears, Izzy finds herself pushed to the edge of what this hard-drinking, wise-cracking PI can handle.

At once heart-warming, suspenseful, and laugh-out-loud funny, The Spellman Files is a brilliantly zany take on the hard-boiled detective genre and introduces us to an utterly new kind of screwball heroine. Spend some time with the Spellmans and you'll find out why the family that sleuths together stays together.

*Chaos in its traditional sense as opposed to KAOS, The International Organiztion of Evil, which also figures prominently in Izzy's life.

Suggested Questions for Discussion:

1. Izzy's delinquent behavior actually prepared her for her work as a private investigator. "My life to date had ingrained in me a certain natural stealth, had taught me how to test limits, and had disciplined me to know precisely how much I could get away with" (p. 25). Do you retain a youthful bad habit that has actually benefited you as an adult? How might Rae's recreational surveillance benefit her, in ways other than being a PI, as an adult?

2. "There was nothing my mother wouldn't do to protect her children, even if it was morally ambiguous" (p. 61). How did Mrs. Spellman's exposure of Ex-Boyfriend #6's porn addiction ultimately affect Izzy?

3. Lawyer #4 describes Izzy as "a cross between Dirty Harry and Nancy Drew" (p. 90). Is this an accurate description? Are there other sleuths that Izzy is heir to?

4. Besides Daniel's "cocoa legs," Izzy is initially attracted to him because of his assertion that, "some people need to win and some people need to lose." (p. 123) What does this say about her?

5. Are David and Petra being paranoid in hiding their relationship from Izzy? What might she have done had she known they were dating earlier?

6. Uncle Ray tells Izzy that "being enemies with Rae was easier than being friends with her" (p. 204). Could this be said about any other Spellmans?

7. Does wire-tapping constitute a larger betrayal of privacy than simple eavesdropping or tailing?

8. Their mom tells David that, "'Without this job, [Izzy is] Uncle Ray waiting to happen'" (p. 235). Is that an accurate assessment? 9. Was the threat of a temporary restraining order the best way to prevent Izzy from further pursuing the Snow case? What method of discouragement would you recommend?

10. Daniel claims that his romantic relationship with Isabel ended with "the fake drug deal" (p. 309) Do you think they might otherwise have been able to work out their differences? What qualities does a man need to be compatible with Isabel?

Bonus Quiz: Could you be a Spellman?

1.You've just met someone new and attractive. Do you:

a. mumble and look away shyly b. ask for his/her phone number c. "borrow" his/her wallet so you can copy the information from his/her driver's license for a background check

2. You never leave the house without:

a. a heavy object such as a flashlight in case you need to break a head/taillight b. a snack in case you get hungry c. an extra $20 in case of an emergency

3. After losing a game of tennis, you think:

a. "that was fun."
b. "next time I'll win."
c. "losing is like breathing to me."

4. You get caught in a little white lie so you:

a. confess and apologize profusely b. make up a more elaborate lie — or several — to cover your tracks c. act defensive

5. The best present you ever received as a child was:

a. a new bike b. a puppy c. a set of lock picks

Give yourself a point for every correct answer.
Correction Key: 1. c.; 2. a.; 3. c.; 4. b.; 5. c.

If you scored:
0-2 points, you're hopelessly straight
3-4 points, Spellman operative material
5 points, a Spellman separated at birth

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 420 )
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5 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 420 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2007

    Fine Funny Family Frolic

    'The Spellman Files' is the story told by private investigator Izzy Spellman, less about her work as an investigator (work she is trying to quit), and more about her role stuck in a family of private investigators. The book is about the characters in the family, and how they negotiate a life in which each member is driven to keep secrets by the fact that the family invariably works to pry those secrets loose. Readers of light mysteries will like this book, as will readers of 'chick-lit' -- but I am, as a rule, a reader of neither, and I recommend the book highly. The word 'frolic' in my title is there for the alliteration, and the book is frolicsome for most of its length, but the word is misleading, because by the end the story accumulates real emotional weight and is about real things about the relationships among family members.

    21 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 3, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A new kind of Stephanie Plum

    Very similar to Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series. This first book introduces you to who the Spellman's are. Guaranteed a few laughs. Leaves a lot of potential for future novels.

    15 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2008

    A reviewer

    My girlfriend suggested this book. I loved it. Fast reading - great characters,good story. I loved it so much I am now reading her second book.

    10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    This is a fun private investigative chick lit tale

    In San Francisco Isabel Spellman has worked in the family business since she was twelve years old. However, the down side of being part of a family of private investigators is that your nosy parents have access to check into her dates though she is now twenty-eight years old. Still working for Spellman Investigations is an easy way to make a living.-------------- However, to the shock of her siblings, her Uncle Ray and her parents, Izzy falls in love with a dentist of all things worse a Bush loving dentist. Her parents worry she is setting a bad example for her fourteen years old younger sister Rae who is the Bay area¿s greatest barterer. He older brother David the attorney is pleased to a degree with a dentist as he figures on discounts though he has not sunk his teeth into the man's background. However, Uncle Ray has vanished again so this no time to think about love as Izzy is assigned as always to find him. Rae is hired to follow Izzy to uncover the identity of the mystical dentist while Izzy is assigned a cold case to resolve. Life is normal amidst the Spellmans until Rae vanishes and the get Smart tapes must go on pause.--------------- This is a fun private investigative chick lit tale that will have readers chuckling at the antics of the zaniest family since the Sycamores rooted their shtick in You Can't Take It with You. The story line is driven by Izzy as she drives everyone around her dizzy with her antics. Fans of lighthearted amusing capers will appreciate this interesting thriller that showcases a grown up Nancy Drew trying to get a life outside her bugging family.-------------- Harriet Klausner

    10 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    I Loved this book.

    The Spellman Files is absolutely hilarious. Lisa Lutz charecter "Izzy" has an absolutely great personality and a nice wry sense of humor.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2008

    A reviewer

    This book has something for everyone. Complicated family relationships, several story lines and lots of laughs and heartfelt trauma/drama along the way. I can¿t wait to read the next installment detailing the Spellman family adventures!

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2008

    A reviewer

    Just when I was ready to give up on this book and write it off as a disappointment, Lutz kicked things into gear. I was halfway through it and the plot--or what I thought was the plot: i.e., finding Rae--had not started. I grew tired of some of the schemes and all the car chases. Some of those could have been eliminated. However, the book was so hilarious I was compelled to keep reading. And I'm glad I did. The genius of the book was the way the true plot was revealed in the last two chapters. It was almost like a rosebud finally opening up. Everything just came together so subtly. It was an excellent book and I look forward to more in this series.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2008

    Kept me Laughing!!!!!!

    I've read hundreds of myteries over the years, but none with the dry wit of Isabel Spellman. Her comments and personality had me laughing and smiling through the whole book......the way she handled situations was hysterical........totally entertaining. I look forward to reading 'The Curse of the Spellmans'......I've come to love the Spellman family and their antics!!! (I originally read this book because I work in a library at Spellman H.S. in the Bronx....I'm glad that it caught my attention......thank you Miss Lutz.)

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2007

    Loved it!

    I'll admit that, at the very beginning, I had to get used to the style of this author, but it was worth the effort (just a couple of chapters!). It was very funny, creative and intelligently written. As for the Janet Evanovich comparison, I found myself thinking that Ms. Evanovich should read this one to possibly get her thinking about originality. The last few of hers have been so tired. I look forward to another installment of the Spellmans.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 28, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    The cover is awesome. The story had me hooked. Great Read!

    The cover is awesome. The story had me hooked. Great Read!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2007

    The Spellman Smiles

    I thought this book was great! I could not stop laughing! The entertainment I found in this book was unsurpassed by many other books I've read. Other than the brilliant comedic performance by the Spellman clan this book teaches you something everyone knows but never can truly admit. You family is your family, you cannot escape them via car chase or brilliant disguise. Your life is what you make it, even if you choose to pass out on front porches. And love is not easy, every lawyer isnt for you and a clean background check does not mean a healthy relationship. I look forward to more books from this incredible woman.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2012

    Great!

    The Spellman family is hilarious. I will be reading more from this author.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2012

    Smart, hilarious, shocking, endearing.

    This book had me laughing out loud, shaking my head in disbelief, and crying. I loved it. I love a female lead who has flaws as well as strengths. I thought I needed a vampire and a bad-ass female lead to enjoy a book. I was wrong. I needed Izzy Spellman and her crazy disfunctional family to really entertain me. I'm hooked!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2007

    I am a SpellMan Family FaN

    This is a Very Enjoyable-Read (worth more than a few laughs-out-loud) but I did wish that some of the story had been edited a little tighter....and some of the other characters brought out more...But I do look forward to more Spellman Family adventures in San Francisco....

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2007

    Disappointing

    I bought this book based on the reviews but I'm not sure I read the same book. Whoever compared this book to a Janet Evanovich has obviously never read one. I kept thinking it had to get better. It didn't. There was no plot and not very amusing either.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2012

    Wrong in all the right ways!

    I fell in love with the Spellmans (and their author) within the first 50 pages. Well written and laugh out loud funny, this quirky family is the one you're glad you never had, but somehow wish you did.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2012

    O

    Hhsss

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2012

    WHAT AGE IS IT GOOD FOR??????????????????????

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 23, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Dysfunctional family of Private Investigators

    As Lisa Lutz puts it herself in her recent WSJ article-2-18-12; ignore the rules when writing. Visit her online and one can tell she's equally adept at creating her own strong image by the things she says on her website. I thought the concept was very original but the writing is better suited for a younger crowd-perhaps YA. Short chapters, funny footnotes and a narrator who has a snarky tone. Lutz is obviously a talented writer; because all you have to do is read the reviews on the back cover of this book and the other four in the series; Kirkus, Publishers Weekly among others give it high marks. But I was hoping for more as an adult reader.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 24, 2009

    More Quirky than Good

    This is just an OK effort by a writer who is better than that. When the quirkiness of the characters is the most outstanding trait of the story, there just isn't enough to capture the reader's attention and keep it. Nothing about this book kept me going through it to the end except the expectation that the (usually entertaining) author had something really good in store for me if I was patient enough to get to it. I was wrong.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 420 Customer Reviews

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