Revenge of the Spellmans (Spellman Files Series #3)

Revenge of the Spellmans (Spellman Files Series #3)

by Lisa Lutz

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781416597117
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 03/10/2009
Series: Spellman Files Series , #3
Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 146,474
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Lisa Lutz is the author of the New York Times bestselling, Edgar Award– and Macavity Award–nominated, and Alex Award–winning Spellman Files series, as well as the novels How to Start a Fire, The Passenger, and The Swallows. She lives and works in upstate New York.

Read an Excerpt


Family Camping Trip #2

Why???? we all asked when my father broke the news. A family disappearance/corporate retreat/camping trip all rolled up into one. Surely it was a bad idea, I suggested. The sentiment was reaffirmed by Rae with her constant references to the Donner Party and repeated inquiries as to which one of the Spellmans plus guest would most likely be consumed first (should it come to that). The third time this particular line of inquiry rolled around, my mother sent Rae to her room.

If all of this is confusing you, perhaps I should give you a quick refresher course on the Spellmans. Although I highly recommend reading the first three documents[1] if you want a true understanding of what is really going on here.

My father is Albert Spellman, a onetime cop turned private investigator who really likes lunch. He is happily married to Olivia Spellman, my mother and co-owner of Spellman Investigations. Mom is an extremely attractive woman--although lately people have been adding the disclaimer “for her age,” which has started to get under her skin. Other than my mom’s mild vanity, her most obscene characteristic is that she seems to think meddling in her children’s lives is an Olympic event. Her training regimen is positively brutal.

Albert and Olivia have three children. The oldest, my brother David, 34: Formerly a poster-boy for the all-American corporate male, currently an out-of-work human being. I’m the middle child. Isabel, 32, if you didn’t catch it already. My M.O. from fifth grade until my mid-twenties was that of the problem child. The “student” who the principal knew by name, the neighbors feared and the pot dealers counted on to stay afloat. Also, in the interest of honesty, there were a few arrests thrown into the mix--two (or four depending on how you’re counting) as recently as two years ago, which I guess means that I can’t argue that my problem years were confined to my youth or even my twenties. But it’s important to note that I’ve come a long way. Therapy helped, and I’m big enough to admit it was court-ordered.

About six months ago, after years of doubt about my future with Spellman Investigations, I committed to the job completely and agreed to slowly begin taking over the business from my parents so they can retire and learn to macramé[2] or something. My father likes to say the seeds of adulthood have been planted. He’s just waiting for them to take.

There’s only one other Spellman to speak of—Rae—and I’ll mostly let her speak for herself because you might not believe me otherwise.

I suppose the most defining characteristic of my family is that we take our work home with us. If your job is investigating other people, you inevitably investigate each other. This single trait has been our primary point of conflict for most of my life.

Finally, to round out the players on this unfortunate camping trip, I should mention Maggie. Maggie Mason, girlfriend to brother David. Maggie is a defense attorney who used to date Henry Stone (that’s a whole other story I don’t really want to get into right now, okay?) who happens to be the “best friend”[3] of my now seventeen-year-old sister, the briefly aforementioned Rae. Henry is a forty-five-year-old police inspector and Rae is a senior in high school. They’re an unlikely duo. Rae met Henry when she was fourteen and I guess she decided that they were kindred spirits. However, on the surface (and beneath the surface) they have nothing in common. At the start, Henry endured Rae. Then he got used to her. Then, when Henry was dating Maggie and Rae went to supernatural lengths to sabotage their relationship, Henry cut Rae off completely. Now they have found peace. At least that’s what I’ve heard. I don’t get involved anymore.

After Maggie and Henry broke up, over half of the Spellman clan vetted Maggie and determined that she was a quality human, the kind of person that the Spellman circle sorely needed. After an appropriate amount of time passed, the matchmaking plans for Maggie and David were successfully enacted. The couple had only been together about two months at the point of this camping trip, but since Maggie is the only person we know who can make fire from a flint, pitch a tent, use a compass and actually owns bear spray, we thought it wise for our own personal safety to bring her along. That and David refused to come unless she accompanied him.

Now picture me in the pre-dawn hours, in the middle of the woods, in the middle of the Russian River, in the middle of nowhere, sharing a tent with my much younger sister, Rae, who had spent the past two days either trying to get cell phone reception, complaining about the mosquitoes, or “sleeping”, during which time she carried on lengthy conversations about. . . well, honestly I couldn’t tell you. I caught phrases like: “I’ve been sworn to secrecy,” “Not in this lifetime,” and “you’ll find the treasure at the bottom of the gorge.” I might have been able to sleep through her babbling if she weren’t a nighttime thrasher and kicker. And so, once again, there I was, sleep-deprived, trapped with family, waiting for the nightmare to come to an end. My life in a nutshell.

I gave up on sleep, knowing that this was my last full day in the wild. When I exited my tent, my father was trying to make coffee and failing miserably. He appeared glad for company since my mother was still slumbering in their tent.

“What am I doing wrong?” he asked.

“Strong-arming your family into a cruel and unnecessary nature excursion,” I suggested.

No,” Dad replied. “What am I doing wrong with the coffee?”

“You don’t stick the coffee in the pot and boil it with the water, Dad. Are you brain-dead? You just boil the water first and use the French press Maggie brought. Weren’t you watching her yesterday?” I replied with too much hostility.

My father tried to lighten the mood with the only joke he had in his arsenal this weekend.

“Why don’t you take a hike?” he said for about the thirtieth time.

“I’m going to dig a grave for that line and you’re going to bury it, Dad. I swear to you if you say it one more time—“

“Maggie!” Dad shouted, with way too much enthusiasm for waking hours. “Thank God you’re awake.”

Maggie smiled, approached the campfire, and took over the coffee-making. Already the morning had improved. But the purpose of the trip had not yet been realized and, eventually, we had to accept that this wasn’t simply a bonding experience for the Spellmans and friend, but something even more bizarre.

I should mention that no Spellman child had gone AWOL (or refused to participate in the excursion since “business” was not to take place until the final day and, frankly, we all wanted our voice to be heard, even if it was heard above the buzz of mosquitoes. Also, I should mention that my parents refused to give raises to anyone who didn’t participate in this bonding exercise. As for David, he was only there because he thought Maggie needed more quality time with the family, as a kind of cautionary lesson.

I suppose it’s time we get to business.


[1] The Spellman Files, Curse of the Spellmans, Revenge of the Spellmans – all available in paperback!

[2] The parental unit claims to have plans for their retirement, but so far none sound even remotely plausible.

[3] Her words; not his.

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Lisa Lutz. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Introduction

Lisa Lutz is back with the third installment in her sleuth series, Revenge of the Spellmans. Still reeling from the confinement of a restraining order and court-ordered therapy (See previous document, Curse of the Spellmans), Isabel Spellman finds herself removed from her investigative life, serving drinks in a Bay Area dive bar.

But when her boss, Milo, insists that she do some detective work for one of his friends, Izzy is thrown back into the business, as one curiosity leads to countless more. What ensues is a hilarious and mysterious case of mistaken identities, dysfunctional relationships, and much-needed family therapy.

Isabel—under the pressure of inheriting the family business, taming her manipulative sister, uncovering her brother’s strange actions, and getting to the bottom of her one and only commissioned case—finds herself broke, living secretly in someone else’s apartment, and being blackmailed by an unknown assailant.

As new and old romances surface, friends leave, and jobs disappear (well, she was fired), everything in Izzy’s world is about to change, and she is left with a choice: grow up or get left behind.

Questions for Discussion

1. The story begins and ends with a therapy session. Do you think Isabel has made any personal progress through the narrative? Has she simply resurrected an inclination to investigate and tail everyone she meets? What do you make of the different approaches of her two therapists? Is Dr. Rush going to tame the Spellmans?

2. How do you view morality throughout the novel? Discuss, in particular, Olivia’s doctoring of Rae’s grades, the various forms of blackmail by assorted parties, Henry and Isabel’s revenge, and Morty’s exaggerated illness.

3. In the same respect, how do you feel about the seemingly endless violations of trust and privacy that Rae practices?

4. Many romantic relationships appear throughout the narrative. Do Connor and Isabel stand a chance? What about the underlying tension between Henry and Isabel? The blossoming romance between Gabe and Petra? David and Maggie? Ernie and Sharon/Linda?

5. Continuing in the spirit of prior Spellman Files, footnotes play an important part in the reading experience of the novel. How did they affect the flow of the narrative? Were the helpful? Distracting? Purely comical? Informative?

6. Isabel describes Connor as “one of those people,” (p. 161), referring to his ability to express his emotions without embarrassment or reservation. Is Izzy truly irked by this, or does she envy Connor’s unflinching candor? Look at some of the conversations and transcripts between Izzy and her various counterparts, and discuss the instances of both guardedness and full disclosure. Consider her therapists, lunches with her father, Henry, David, Morty, and Milo.

7. How do you envision Rae’s future? Is she the craftiest Spellman yet? Why can’t she seem to be kept under control?

8. Who do you think is the sanest Spellman? Or is that an oxymoron?

9. By the story’s end, the mystery has full unraveled, and all blackmailers, tailers, private investigators, and artificers are revealed. Was there a moment in the text before the end that you uncovered the mystery? Who was your first guess for Isabel’s blackmailer? What did you make of the political consultant?

10. Discuss Isabel’s clandestine inhabitance of David’s basement apartment. Was she crazy to think that she wouldn’t be caught? Should David have been angrier? Though we find out that David is simply having a form of MILFO, what were your hunches as to his sudden weight loss and truancy?

Enhancing Your Book Club

1. Read descriptions and reviews of Lutz’s previous two documents at SimonandSchuster.com. (If you haven’t heard, The Spellman Files and Curse of the Spellmans are available in paperback). Use these two preceding tales as a companion piece for Revenge.

2. Perform a mock stake-out (within the limits of the law, please) of a local eatery or luncheonette. Use your novice detective skills to make Spellman-like observations about some of the passersby. What can you discern about people through focused observation?

3. Go to http://lisalutz.com/bio and read/watch the various interviews and Q&A’s on the right side of the page. Hear Lutz’s insight into her fictional world and discuss how this racks up against your interpretations as a reader. Or, just enjoy a funny and smart author!

4. Possibly the most venerated of detectives/PI’s is Sherlock Holmes, the masterful discerner created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Read any one of his capers (collected in a number of anthologies) and compare the intrigue that develops with the more airy, light-hearted mystery of the Spellmans.

5. Use old magazines to cut and paste together your own ransom note. If you feel so inclined, make it an invitation to a friend for a trip to some cultural destination (a zoo, museum, or play). For those with children, see if you can compose a request for a car wash. (And fess up quickly before your loved ones think they’re REALLY being blackmailed!)

A Conversation with Lisa Lutz

1. How do you decide where you are going to insert footnotes, use the appendix, or include explanation within the body text? Is it an arbitrary process, or do you have a certain type of idea/factoid that you like to use for each part of the book?

It’s a pretty organic process. Sometimes it’s just a detail that doesn’t fit in the main text that still seems necessary. An investigator, I would imagine, would always be obsessed with the minutiae.

2. Are we to trust Isabel? With her proclivity for paranoia and her lack of sleep, she can come off as a relatively unstable character. Do you intend for the reader to question her perspective?

I don’t trust Isabel, so I don’t see any reason why you should. She’s a human being with her share of flaws—paranoia being one of them. And sleep deprivation can do funny things to a person.

3. Have you ever done detective work of your own? Do you think it’s immoral to snoop on someone?

I worked for a private investigative agency briefly. I rarely had the opportunity to snoop. I have certain rules for snooping, under which anything out in the open is fair game. But I also think, in light of some current trends in our culture, that privacy should be respected. I investigate more directly. I tend to ask a lot of questions and don’t feel satisfied until I have the answer.

4. Who do you consider to be the most cunning Spellman? By the end of Revenge, one might be led to believe that Rae has the upper hand on the rest of her family. Do you see Rae inheriting the Spellman legacy?

Rae is definitely the most cunning Spellman. However, in a war, Isabel would never let Rae win the final battle. As for who will inherit the Spellman legacy, I’m not sure that has been decided yet.

5. What’s your writing process like? How do you map out the various beats and misdirections that make a Spellman novel?

My writing process is chaos. I usually start with an overarching theme. Then I establish several story threads, but I don’t outline. I just start writing and keep notes for what may come. It’s an organic process that’s usually pretty flexible.

6. Are there more documents in the works?

The fourth installment, The Spellmans Strike Again, is currently in the works.

7. Who would win a battle of wits between Sherlock Holmes, Dick Tracy, Inspector Clouseau, Angela Lansbury’s Jessica Fletcher, Isabel, and Rae?

Sherlock Holmes would definitely win in a battle of wits. But if he kept company with Isabel and Rae, his drug addiction would eventually bring him to ruin.

8. Is family therapy going to be something that continues with the Spellmans? Is there any hope for some sort of familial evolution? Can they trust each other?

No, the family quits therapy. But I do think they continue to evolve and will eventually build some semblance of trust. You can’t be suspicious 24/7. It’s too exhausting.

9. Is Isabel capable of maintaining a romantic relationship? Is Connor destined to be ex-boyfriend #12?

I think this question will be answered in future books. No need for a spoiler.

10. What advice would you give to someone squatting in an apartment that isn’t theirs? Say, for instance, they have a friend who is away on business for an extended period of time, and that said friend has been liberal in the distribution of “emergency keys.” Should they tell their friend, or simply wash the sheets and refill all pilfered liquor? Your answer would be much appreciated!

Take pictures before you move in. Try to restore the place to its previous condition based on the photos. But, definitely, wash the sheets, do the dishes, and don’t eat all the food and absolutely no pay-per-view.

Customer Reviews

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Revenge of the Spellmans (Spellman Files Series #3) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 115 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just an absolutely hysterical, witty, entertaining read. Each new release of this series just keeps getting better and makes me want the next one in line!
mjk44 More than 1 year ago
Izzy only grows and gets better with each installment of Spellmans. A very easy & enjoyable read!
toekneed More than 1 year ago
Fun, fun series. I do a lot of snickering and sudden laugh out louds.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In San Francisco the court orders out of control private investigator Isabel "Izzy" Spellman to attend therapy sessions; she spends her meetings tap dancing around the psychologist. Meanwhile her parents plead with their middle daughter to return to the family private investigative firm; they warn her that without her they will probably have to sell their company. Izzy considers their blackmail while hiding from them and others in her older brother David¿s apartment at a time he has simply vanished form the planet. Although she has found recently sleuthing to have been very depressing (see THE SPELLMAN FILES and CURSE OF THE SPELLMANS ¿ to see why), she considers searching for sibling.

Meanwhile she loses her bartending job because of moonlighting as a detective looking into the easy case of client Ernie Black to prove his wife is cheating or not; of course this being Izzy easy means dangerous. She also helps her octogenarian friend relocate to Florida and elude her teenage sister Rae the alleged PSAT cheater who wants her sibling back with Henry.

The third Spellman dysfunctional investigative family thriller is another out of control zany San Francisco treat as Izzy dodges her parents, her sister and her shrink to work a couple of fog-bound cases. The story line is overwhelmed with sidebars and no plot takes full control; but fans of the series will not care as the eccentric cast especially Izzy¿s family and friends make for a wild time by the bay.

Harriet Klausner
baystateRA on LibraryThing 10 months ago
As funny as ever, this document chronicling the ups and downs of the life of Izzy Spellman is wonderfully narrated by Christina Moore. This series is excellent on audio, and I think Christina Moore should receive some sort of prize if she hasn't already.
lindasuebrown on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Izzy Spellman is on hiatus from the family firm of private investigators, and is tailing what her private client thinks is his cheating wife. Meanwhile, she's homeless and secretly camping out in the basement of her brother's house. And her little sister keeps stealing her car. Add insomnia, court-mandated appointments with a shrink, and her continued confusion over her feelings for police detective Henry Stone and, as Linda says, "it's the most perfect, imperfect world you could ask for."
bookwormteri on LibraryThing 10 months ago
You really can't miss with this series. The Spellmans are dysfunctional in a way that wishes there were my family. They love each other, but can't just ask questions, so they follow, tape record, and investigate. Hilarious. In this, the third installment, Izzy has quit the family business, her parents give her an ultimatum (take over or we sell), and Henry (Rae's best friend) is dating. I have heard that there are only going to be four books in the series. I sincerely hope that is not the case as I could read twenty about this family!
jlparent on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Funny, quirky, fast read about dysfunctional family of PIs. Far superior to Janet Evanovich IMHO.
miyurose on LibraryThing 10 months ago
This is a really great series, and this third book is no exception. In fact, I think it was better than the second. The Spellmans are a very unconventional family, and Izzy is trying to figure out if she wants to be with them or without them. Which is hard to do when they won¿t leave you alone. But, one thing at a time. First, she needs to decide if she even wants to be a private investigator at all. Has she lost her touch? Izzy¿s life is a little bit crazy, a little bit confusing, and always funny. Lutz¿s footnotes are an unorthodox touch, but they really suit her writing style. I¿m looking forward to moving on to book 4, The Spellmans Strike Again.
Squeex on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Oh how I love this series. Izzy cracks me up, her whole family is a crazy bunch, especially littlest Spellman, Rae. She requires constant monitoring and leaves her family bemused every second of the day. Watching her in action with her wheeling and dealing is a joy, but I'm glad I am watching at a distance. She'd make me nuts. Poor Izzy needs a place to live, hers is a dump. She needs a job, she got fired from her bartending job so that she'll go back to her family's PI business. All of her friends are leaving her, moving away. And she is court mandated therapy that she is resisting as only Izzy can. It's not necessary to read the series in order. Each one is a hoot on its own and I didn't lose anything in the translation by listening to them out of order. Do yourself a favor and get this series either in handheld or the audio version. This is how I've enjoyed the three out so far and it's been fabulous. Christina Moore is perfect! Five snort laugh beans......
BarbsReviews on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I loved this 3rd book and so funny. Isabel and her whole family are so interesting they keep you guessing what is going to happen next. I am looking forward to seeing if Isabel starts growing up and how her character will act when she does
knitwit2 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Morty moves to Florida, Milo sells the bar to his Irish cousin (romance to come?), Isabelle agrees to take over the family business. She lives secretly in David's basement apartment. David starts dating maggie - Henry's ex. Izzy kisses Henry - he turns her down saying he can't wait for her to grow up. ouch! Rae is typically a pain for all involved.
butterflybaby on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Hilariously funny. I couldn't put the book down. It was such a fun read.
bugeyzz23 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
For some reason, I had a hard time getting thru this installment of the Spellman series. Perhaps it was because I read it right after Finger Lickin' 15. I do love the characters and the dry humor in the book, I just didn't find myself caring about the "mysteries" that were the focal points. The last chapter seemed very well written and INTERESTING, I just wish I could have said the same for the rest of the book.
ctfrench on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Private investigator Isabel Spellman quit her job with her family¿s detective business and is working part-time as a bartender at her friend Milo¿s bar while trying to decide what to do next. She¿s also been through one block of court-ordered therapy and has been passed by that therapist on to another. Milo persuades Isabel to take on a relatively simple case for one of his friends, whose wife is acting mysterious and bringing home expensive items. Meanwhile, Isabel¿s brother David returns from a secret trip and stops going to work. Isabel finds out David has a secret apartment in his basement so moves in without his permission. Isabel¿s sister Rae¿s been accused of cheating on the PSATs and has finally made Detective Henry Stone angry enough he is no longer speaking to her. Isabel can¿t sleep in her new home due to her fear of being found by David, so takes naps on buses. She tails the wife, only to be tailed herself. If that isn¿t bad enough, her car keeps disappearing. And her feelings for Henry Stone just can¿t stay put.Once more Lisa Lutz provides readers with a fun-filled whodunit which is more about the wacky Spellman family than the actual mystery, but readers won¿t mind one bit. The Spellmans are a fascinating, dysfunctional family with individual quirks and laugh-out-loud personas. A definite must-read for those who enjoy a good dose of humor along with a good book.
ethel55 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Isabel and her eccentric family have returned in another great installment of their private eye lives. Little sister Rae is 16 and her best friend continues to be a middle-aged cop. Isabel's best friends are an 80-something lawyer and a bartender. Brother David is acting more strangely than usual, if only because up until now, he's been the normal one. Isabel's parents lay it on the line, she has only a month to decide if she's willing to take over the Spellman Inc. agency when the time is right. Lutz could have coasted during this third novel, but it is every bit as fun as the first two.
Nodosaurus on LibraryThing 10 months ago
The third installment of the Spellman saga. Izzy has her usual life, nowhere to live so she sneaks in her brother's place, and she has to spy on him to figure out his secret. Her therapy isn't going so well, she needs two doctors. Someone is blackmailing her to go to the museum and wash her father's car. And she doesn't know why! Meanwhile, Rae cheated on the Psssats, so her parents cancel their disappearance. Did I mention she has a job to spy on a man's wife? And someone is tailing her. Then she was offered a big bribe, but for what?? Its all explained in the third book [now available in hardback.]
carmarie on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I love Lisa Lutz!! I can't wait for her next book. She's a great writer for those books you just want to be care-free with and finish in a snap! Great series and great beach read.
amanderson on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I've become a Spellman Files addict. They are really quite amusing. Happily, Isabelle, our slightly crazy, mildly law breaking, single minded & obsessive private investigator has grown up just a little bit in this one. The rest of the family is as eccentric and entertaining as usual. It's my favorite so far.
hlsabnani on LibraryThing 10 months ago
The only bad thing about this book is that I pretty much read it in one sitting and now have to wait a while for the 4th book. The books definitely need to be read in order so that you see the full development of the characters. I was laughing out loud while reading this book, much like I did during the other two. I particularly enjoyed the therapy sessions. Overall a fantastic book and series!
tjsjohanna on LibraryThing 10 months ago
There were actually a couple of moments when I teared up - which just goes to show that even a funny book can have its touching moments. I really like Izzy and hope I don't have to wait to long to find out what's happening next in her life.
shanyn on LibraryThing 10 months ago
After reading the first two Spellman books by Lisa Lutz, I was extremely pumped up to read the third. Unfortunately, my public library decided it didn't need to to purchase this one, so I had to request it from inter-library loan. I love the characters and how much they are built up from book to book - I am actually going through withdrawal now that I don't have any others to read. The problems weren't quite as complex as the first two (though one of the "mysteries" was hard to understand even after it got explained to me), and I really really really got tired of the footnotes telling me that the previous books were "available in paperback!" (Really. Chances are if someone is reading the third book, they've read the others or will be interested in checking them out after they are finished - I was reminded what seems like 25 times of the books availability and it actually started to take away from my reading experience.)The ending of the book left me hanging - I couldn't believe it was done because of the way some of the relationships were at a stand still. According to her website, Lisa Lutz is working on a 4th book (The Spellmans Strike Again), but it's not available until March 2010. I guess for now I'll have to settle for what I've got and make myself forget about how much I want to read the next installment for awhile.
drneutron on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Just in case you haven't met them yet, the Spellmans are a family of private investigators, and a very dysfunctional family they are. It's not that they hate each other - in fact, they care about each other and their close friends very much - it's just that they can't seem to talk to each other. Instead, they spy on each other and blackmail each other into doing things like visiting the Museum of Modern Art. Fortunately for us, it's all very funny stuff!This is the third in Lutz's series on the Spellmans, and centers around the personal aftermath of Izzie's misguided investigation of a neighbor in the previous book and around her investigation into a possibly straying spouse she's doing as a favor to a friend of a friend. Throw in the relationships between the family members and a few close friends and things devolve into the usual (for the Spellmans) comedic chaos.One of the things I appreciate about this series is that Lutz isn't trying to repeat her success with the first book, unlike another well known comedic PI series. The characters grow through the books and frankly, the story's more about that growth and change than about the mysteries they're trying to solve. I suspect this will mean that we'll get both really funny books and interesting stories for some time to come.
allthesedarnbooks on LibraryThing 10 months ago
This is the third book in the hilarious Spellman family series (after The Spellman Files and Curse of the Spellmans), which are not really mysteries, but family comedy with a detective twist. Funny, funny, funny! I recommend reading them in order, however, so you can track the development of the characters and get all the jokes. If you like books like Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series, you'll love the Spellmans. Four and a half stars.
mabrown2 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
"Revenge of the Spellmans" is another fun installment of the Spellman saga. This time, Isabelle is questioning whether or not she wants to return to the family business. As a favor to a friend, she takes on a seemingly straight-forward case (a husband thinks his wife is cheating on him) that turns out to be a little more than what Izzie had expected. True to character, Izzie can't let go of the case until she gets her answers and the more she digs, the deeper she finds herself in a mess bigger than she could have imagined. Izzie decides if she can solve this case, then it's a sign she should stay in the PI biz for good. Will she be able to do it? The supporting cast members are all there to help, hinder or just plain annoy her along the way. Rae is up to her usual antics, sponging money off of people where she can, playing mind games with her family, and pestering the heck out of Henry Stone and his new girlfriend. Brother David is acting strange (not going to work, simplifying his life, being nice) which makes Izzie suspicious. Mom and Dad are interfering everywhere they can, trying to get Izzie to stay with the business, and are suddenly interested in having lunch every now and then with their daughter. Not to mention Petra, Milo and Morty playing their usual roles as friends to Izzie. Plus there's a new hot Irish bar tender at the Philosopher's Club who seems to have a thing for the eldest Spellman daughter. What I really liked about this third book is that you can see character growth. Izzie takes a good look at her life (with the help of court-mandated therapy) and does a little growing. Same goes for her relationship with her family. She's still as quirky as ever but embracing her adulthood as best she can. At the same time, the story maintained the typical Spellman formula. The "mysterious case" was a little more interesting than some of the others have been but didn't over-shadow the rest of what was going on. Saddly, I finished this book in two days and now have another long wait for Lisa Lutz to release a fourth novel.