Trail of the Spellmans (Spellman Files Series #5)

Trail of the Spellmans (Spellman Files Series #5)

by Lisa Lutz

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Overview

Trail of the Spellmans (Spellman Files Series #5) by Lisa Lutz

The fifth installment in the New York Times bestselling series by Lisa Lutz, featuring the fearless private investigator Izzy Spellman and her quirky, yet endearing, family of sleuths.For the first time in Spellman history, Isabel Spellman might be the most normal member of her family. Mom has taken on an outrageous assortment of extracurricular activities. Dad has a secret. Her brother and sister are at war, but neither will reveal the source of the conflict. While domestic disturbances abound, there is one source of sanity in the Spellman household: Demetrius Merriweather, employee of the month for eighteen months straight.

Things aren’t any simpler on the business side of Spellman Investigations. First, Rae is hired to follow a girl, only to fake the surveillance reports. Then a socialite has Isabel tail her husband, despite a conspicuous lack of suspicion. A man in a sweater vest hires the Spellmans to follow his sister, who turns out to be the socialite. Izzy won’t stop hunting for the answers—even when they threaten to shatter both the business and the family.

Readers are sure to love the next novel in a “series that keeps getting better and better” (Publishers Weekly, starred review).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781451608120
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 02/28/2012
Series: Spellman Files Series , #5
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 6.52(w) x 9.88(h) x 1.16(d)

About the Author


Lisa Lutz is the author of The New York Times bestselling, Edgar- and Macavity-nominated, and Alice Award-winning Spellman Series. She is most recently the author of Heads You Lose, written with David Hayward, and lives and works in California.

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 documents1 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 is my brother, David, thirty-four: Formerly a poster boy for the all-American corporate male, currently an out-of-work human being. I’m the middle child. Isabel, thirty-two, if you didn’t catch it already. My MO from fifth grade until my midtwenties was that of the problem child. The “student” 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 do macramé2 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 family’s 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, can pitch a tent, can 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 predawn 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.

On the morning before our return-home date, 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 said they would refuse to give a raise 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.

The First Annual Shareholders’ Meeting of Spellman Investigations, Inc.

[The minutes read as follows:]

ALBERT: Here, here. I call this meeting to order. Are all ye present?

DAVID: Dad, we’re not in old England. These are just shareholders’ minutes. State the date, the location, and the parties present.

OLIVIA: Isabel, are you recording?

ISABEL: Yes. And I’d like to put on record that we could have had this meeting in the comfort of our own home.

OLIVIA: Rae, what are you doing?

RAE: Making s’mores.

OLIVIA: It’s ten A.M., sweetie.

RAE: What’s your point?

OLIVIA: S’mores are not breakfast food.

ALBERT: Excuse me, I’m trying to have a meeting here.

RAE: Who’s stopping you?

ISABEL: Put the skewer down, Rae.

RAE: This is seriously the most torturous experience of my life.

ALBERT: Hello? Do I need to drag out the cowbell?

DAVID: Dad, if you do, I’m walking right now.

ALBERT: David, your presence here is necessary. I need you to draw up the minutes.

DAVID: You are aware of the fact that many small companies have minutes created without a meeting.

RAE: Oh my god, now you tell us!

ALBERT: We have actual business to conduct.

DAVID: Dad, you wanted a family vacation and used the threat of business to make it happen by refusing to give a raise to anyone who didn’t attend. You got your camping trip. Why don’t you just make your announcements, we’ll go for one last hike, and then we can get out of here.

ISABEL: I second that motion.

OLIVIA: Stop scratching, Rae! You’ll get scars.

RAE: Why haven’t we rid the planet of mosquitoes yet? If we can practically wipe out the ozone layer, I don’t see why these tiny bloodsuckers can’t be systematically destroyed.

MAGGIE: Put some calamine lotion on and then wait a minute or two. You should be fine.

ISABEL: Can we start the meeting already?

ALBERT: That’s what I’m trying to do.

OLIVIA: Who’s stopping you?

ALBERT: Quiet. Okay. Where was I? Okay, I call to order the first annual shareholders’ meeting of Spellman Investigations, Incorporated. Now what, David?

DAVID: We have already discussed the basic issues. On paper, Isabel is now vice president and owns 25 percent of the company. However, for the next few years Isabel, Mom, and Dad will run the firm together and will take a three-way vote if there are any disputes.

ISABEL: I know how that vote will turn out.

ALBERT: I don’t always agree with your mother, Isabel.

ISABEL: Right.

RAE: Let’s get to the whole reason we’re here. What’s our cost-of-living increase?

ISABEL: I should point out, Rae, that you don’t even pay for your cost of living.

OLIVIA: Let’s just go over our plans for the year, Al. We don’t need to drag this out any more than we have.

ALBERT: Oh, so now you’re turning on me too?

ISABEL: I would really like this “meeting”4 to begin so that it can eventually end.

DAVID: Here, here.

ALBERT: I thought you told me not to use that language.

RAE: I’m going to kill myself.

DAVID: Maggie, please step in.

[Maggie gets to her feet in front of the campfire and takes control of the room, so to speak.]

MAGGIE: What’s the first order of business?

ALBERT: We’ve started a retirement fund for Isabel and she gets a 5 percent salary increase. Same for Rae.

ISABEL: That’s not fair. I’m more important than Rae.

RAE: Excuse me?

OLIVIA: Rae’s entire raise will go into her college fund.

RAE: I quit.

MAGGIE: Next order of business.

ISABEL: I’d like my mother to stop harassing my boyfriend.

OLIVIA: I haven’t harassed him. I checked on his immigration status and I pay him a visit every now and again and ask him what’s he’s been up to.

ISABEL: Can you just leave him alone?

[Long pause while mother pretends to be concocting a plan she has already concocted.]

OLIVIA: I’ll make you a deal. Go on a blind date with a lawyer once a week and I will pretend that Connor does not exist.

ISABEL: Mom, that’s ridiculous.

DAVID: Yeah, Mom, that’s kind of weird.

OLIVIA: Once every other week.

ISABEL: I said no.

ALBERT: Once a fortnight.

OLIVIA: Al, quiet. Isabel, I really think you should accept my offer.

ISABEL: Why do you hate him so much?

MAGGIE: Next order of business.

OLIVIA: Sorry, Maggie. I don’t believe Isabel and I were through with our negotiations.

ISABEL: We were through.

OLIVIA: Every other week, I’d like you to go on a date with a lawyer or another professional. Then I’ll leave your boyfriend alone.

ISABEL: I think Connor would have more of an issue with me dating other men than with you harassing him. If that’s how you want to use your time, I guess I can’t stop you.

OLIVIA: Do you remember Prom Night 1994?

[Dead silence.]

ISABEL: What are you getting at?

OLIVIA: I have pictures of you in that green dress with the puff sleeves and the tulle petticoat. The one Grammy Spellman made you wear.

ISABEL: Why don’t we talk about this later?

OLIVIA: Great. Then we can iron out the details.

DAVID: Fifty bucks.

ALBERT: Seventy-five.

RAE: Eighty.

ISABEL: What are you guys going on about?

DAVID: We’re bidding on those prom pictures. How come I’ve never seen them?

OLIVIA: That’s enough, everyone. Let’s get back to the meeting. Any other orders of business?

RAE: I’m going to work for Maggie part-time.

MAGGIE: Rae, remember what we talked about.

RAE: More like an unpaid internship. But I thought everyone should know.

OLIVIA: I think that’s an excellent idea.5

ISABEL: Me too. I guess when you’re independently wealthy you can afford to work for free.

RAE: I took a beating in the stock market this last year.

OLIVIA: What will you have her do?

MAGGIE: I’m going to have Rae help me review some pro bono cases I’m thinking about taking on. Preliminary research.

ALBERT: That sounds very educational.

RAE: Don’t try to ruin it for me.

ISABEL: Speaking of pro bono work, when are we going to start investigating Harkey?6

ALBERT: I don’t think now is the right time.

ISABEL: Why not?

OLIVIA: He’ll fight back, Isabel.

ISABEL: He already did. Do you think that audit last month was random?

OLIVIA: My point exactly. I was the one who had to spend three weeks pulling together two years of financial data.

ISABEL: So you’re just going to let him get away with it? Is that what I’m hearing?

ALBERT: This is not a good use of your time, Isabel. In this economy, we should be focusing on keeping our business afloat, not taking anyone down. Besides, we don’t even know if Harkey was behind the audit.

ISABEL: You’re kidding, right? The timing was impeccable. I run into Harkey at the liquor store, suggest that maybe he should watch his back, and the next thing you know the IRS is knocking on our door.

DAVID: Who goes around threatening people like that?

RAE: Isabel loves to threaten people.

ISABEL: Shut up. Back to the audit. Harkey started it, Dad.

ALBERT: Listen, Izzy, business is slow. Do you really want to waste our resources on a witch hunt?

ISABEL: I do. We know he’s crooked. If we can put him out of business, that cuts our competition by about 20 percent.

[Albert shakes his head, still undecided.]

ALBERT: He won’t just roll over, Isabel.

ISABEL: I’m ready for him.

[Olivia whispers in Albert’s ear; Albert nods his head.]

ISABEL: Maggie, is whispering allowed at an official board meeting?

MAGGIE: I don’t take sides with you people.

DAVID: “You people”?

MAGGIE: You know what I mean.

OLIVIA: Okay, we’ll make you a deal, Isabel. You accept now or we shelve this conversation for a later date. One, the Harkey investigation cannot take you away from your regular work, and two, you may not use more than $200 a month in company resources.

ISABEL: Deal.

MAGGIE: Any other orders of business?

DAVID: I hope not.

RAE: One last thing. I request that we never do a group camping trip ever again.

ISABEL: Better than the threatened cruise.

RAE: It’s still torture.

ISABEL: At least you didn’t have someone kicking you all night long and shouting conspiracy theories.

DAVID: If that’s all, I call this meeting to a close.

ALBERT: I wanted to do that.

DAVID: Then go ahead, Dad. It doesn’t actually matter.

ALBERT: Maybe to you it doesn’t.

OLIVIA: Al, enough.

DAVID: [to Maggie] I hope you’re paying attention. Nothing about this morning has been out of the ordinary.

MAGGIE: Relax, David. I’m fine.

ALBERT: As president and CEO of Spellman Investigations, I call this meeting to a close.

RAE: I really do think people can die of boredom.

1The 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.

4 Finger quotes.

5 Excellent for two reasons: 1) Business is a bit slow and so there’s not that much work for Rae anyway; 2) Mom wouldn’t mind another person with a graduate degree in the family.

6 An evil PI who needs taking down.

© 2010 Spellman Enterprises, Inc.

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Trail of the Spellmans includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, a Q&A with author Lisa Lutz and tips on "How to Navigate a Book Club." 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

In Trail of the Spellmans, the fifth installment of Lisa Lutz’s bestselling series, the quirky Spellman PIs again find themselves with more questions than your average family could handle. Luckily for them, they aren’t your average family.

Isabel’s love life is on the rocks—much like the unexpected drinks she’s sharing with her boyfriend’s mother, Gerty. Rather than face the fact that she and Henry may want different things in life, she resorts to The Avoidance Method by burying herself in work.

And there’s plenty of work to be buried in. Objects are going amiss from the apartment of math professor Walter Perkins. Meanwhile, suspicious parents hire the firm to follow their daughter, whose only shady activities seem somehow tangled with Rae’s. Finally, two clients’ surveillance requests present the Spellmans with a conflict of interest, causing Isabel’s father to enact a “Chinese wall.” Of course, no wall is big enough to keep Isabel out for long. She soon learns that she was right about one of the client’s dishonest intentions.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. Of Albert and Olivia Spellman’s three children, Isabel is the only one who wants to follow in her parents’ footsteps and be a true part of the family business. Why do you think this is? What sets her apart from her brother and sister?
2. In the early chapters of the novel, Isabel spends time discussing her opinion of “Old David” versus “New David.” Ultimately, how do you think she feels about each of the two versions of her brother? If she had to choose between them, which do you think she would prefer to have around? Which would you prefer?

3. What did you think about Rae Spellman’s manipulation of Sydney’s vocabulary, using the “Banana Offensive”? Was it a retaliation against David for “training” her when she was a child, or was it a genuine scientific inquiry?

4. Isabel is surprised to find how well she gets along with Gertrude “Gerty” Stone, her boyfriend Henry’s mother. Why do you think the two are drawn to each other? What do they have in common?

5.According to Bernie, he and Gerty are “just two old ships who collided in the night.” Isabel clearly takes issue with their relationship; did you? Did you support Isabel’s decision not to tell Henry about Bernie and Gerty’s courtship?

6. Of the unlikely friendships in the novel—Isabel and Gerty, Isabel and Charlie Black, Demetrius and Grammy Spellman—which were you most surprised by, and which do you think makes the most sense? Can you think of any other unlikely friendships that emerge during the course of the novel?

7. How did you react to Isabel’s relationship with Henry? Did you suspect that their relationship was coming to an end? What characteristics would a man need to have for Isabel to be with him permanently? What do you think she is looking for?

8. Do you think Albert’s installment of the “Chinese wall” is helpful or hurtful to the family’s work? Why do you think Isabel opposes it so strongly?

9. Isabel is notoriously skeptical of people she doesn’t know. Why does she place her trust in Charlie Black? What does Isabel like about Charlie? Do you think the Slayter case would have ended differently without him?

10. How are each of the members of the Spellman family, including Demetrius, affected by the arrival of Grandma Ruth Spellman to their household? Similarly, how would you describe Grammy Spellman in just three words? How do you think Olivia would describe Grammy Spellman in three words?

11. Isabel says, “As much as one might like to believe that I’ve eased into adulthood without a fight, let there be no mistake. I’m still fighting.” At what points in the novel do you think Isabel is fighting adulthood? At what times does she embrace the transition?

12. Did your opinion of Walter change from the beginning of the novel to the end? Were you surprised to find out who had been messing with his apartment?

13. By coming clean to Mr. Slayter and providing him with evidence of his wife’s infidelity, Isabel gets personally involved in the case, thereby breaking one of her dad’s most important rules. Do you think she did the right thing, or should she have remained neutral?

14. If you’ve read Lisa Lutz’s previous four Spellman novels, which one is your favorite? Why?

Enhance Your Book Club

1. Rae and Al enjoy creating code names for the members of the Spellman clan. For example, they dub Isabel “the Gopher” because she likes to dig through the dirt. Have the members of your reading group choose nicknames for one another, and don’t forget to give explanations as to why you think the names are fitting.

2. From cranberry scones and cherry clafoutis to his famous “Crack Mix,” Demetrius’s homemade treats never go unappreciated by the members of the Spellman family. Choose one or more of your favorite dishes from the novel and make them for your reading group to eat during your discussion.

3. Even Isabel’s father found her high-school self’s snarky, “wholly inappropriate” thank you notes amusing. Is there anyone you’d like to “thank” in the Isabel way? Have the members of your discussion group write quirky thank you notes. But unlike Isabel, you might want to think twice about actually sending them!

4. Cast your ideal Trail of the Spellmans movie with your discussion group. Who would play Isabel? Rae? How about paranoid Walter, or conniving Margaret Slayter?

5. Lisa Lutz may be available to call in to your book club discussion. You can email your request for a call-in to lisa.lutz@att.net with the subject line, “Request to call my book group.”

A Conversation with Lisa Lutz

Isabel tells her readers that they should “quit guessing and let the story unfold as it may,” that even she doesn’t “know how all the pieces will fall.” Do you know how all the pieces will fall when you begin writing a novel? Or does the novel unfold while you write?

I have story threads and themes that I’ve noted ahead of time. I usually have a sense of where my characters are personally and ways in which they might transform throughout the novel. But I never know at the outset how the book will end, nor do I ever stick to my original plan.


Which Spellman do you relate to the most? Do you have a favorite? Why or why not?

The obvious answer and the most honest one is Isabel. However, I relate to all of them in different ways. I relate to Rae’s indifference to social mores. I understand Olivia’s desire to enforce her desires on her mini-universe. And I completely comprehend Albert’s experience of having no control of those around him.

If you had a Spellman clan nickname, what do you think it would be and why?

The Aristocrats!

You’ve said in a previous interview that you did some surveillance work yourself. What was the most exciting thing to happen to you while you were on a job?

I followed a lunatic who had apparently shot a priest (this may have been a rumor) and believed he (the lunatic, not the priest) was the true inventor of “bifurcated jeans” (which are just plain old blue jeans, but he made a point of writing “bifurcated” in some documents we found—that’s how I learned the word). During the surveillance, the subject dropped off in a cigar shop rather complicated drawings of an invention for a new kind of toilet that wouldn’t require toilet paper. It would, however, require a seat belt (this is true; I saw the drawings). Anyway, when I was surveilling this unusual fellow, I tailed him into a bar and overheard the barmaid say, “Joey,[1] are you talking about killing people again?”

Demetrius’s “Crack Mix” sounds like, as Al says, “the best snack food in the history of snack food.” Where did you get the idea for this heavenly snack? Is it based in reality? If so, can you divulge the recipe?

I imagine Crack Mix to be the Chex Mix of the gods. Do I know what secret ingredients would make it that? No. But I will admit that I really like Chex Mix. And if anyone does have the recipe for Chex Mix of the gods, call me.

SpongeBob SquarePants made a few appearances throughout Trail of the Spellmans. Is it a guilty pleasure of yours?

Sometimes when I’m sick or depressed or both, I watch. And I don’t feel a tiny bit guilty about it.


Which character do you think has changed the most since The Spellman Files: Document #1?

That question is tough. I think the youngest characters were likely to change the most, since that’s the nature of growing up. But when I sit down and write each book, I want every character to change in the story. That’s what happens. People transform in some ways and they remain exactly the same in others. Often the thing you’d like to change the most about yourself is where you will forever remain stuck.

How was the experience of writing the fifth book in this series different than the experience of writing the first?

Actually, Document #5 was rough. While I had no intention of ending the series after The Spellmans Strike Again, I did close many doors in that book and, with the fifth one, I was opening a lot of doors and not finding anything behind them and then opening another door and another until I found something. It was a while before I found my stride. I’m very pleased with it, but it took a long time to figure out where I was going.

Do you have any idea of what’s in store for Isabel and the rest of the Spellman clan for the next book?

I have a few things up my sleeve. And I should probably transcribe them from my arm before my next shower.

Isabel has had her high points and her low points in each Spellman novel. If you could have a conversation with her face-to-face, what advice would you want to give her?

I’ve got no business giving advice to anyone. Even a fictional character.

[1] Not his real name.

Tips from Lisa Lutz on How to Navigate a Book Club:

I’m honored to have been chosen as S&S’s Something to Read About Book Club pick for January 2012. Here’s where I share an anecdote about some hilarious book club experience I had. Alas, I am not now nor have I ever been a member of a book club. If I were, I would probably be that person who never read the book and showed up just for the food and drink. If you’re like me, might I recommend the book How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read by Pierre Bayard. That will give you some smart ways to navigate the book club experience.

Until you have a chance to read that book, I’ve assembled some handy phrases to get the unprepared member of a book club through her next meeting:

“I wasn’t feeling the ending.”

“What’s-her-name kind of annoyed me.”

“It was a masterpiece, I thought.”

“Pass the chips.”

“The dip is amazing.”

“I agree with what Suzie[1] said.”

“[insert name of book] will stay with me a long time. “

“Word.”

Remember, there’s nothing worse than a book club meeting without drinks. Here’s my recipe for Magic Punch.

1 part vodka

1 part soda water

1 part limeade

1 package Lifesavers (red/green are excellent for the holidays)

[1] Make sure someone named Suzie is in book club.

Customer Reviews

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Trail of the Spellmans 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 63 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm not all the way through the sample, but so far it's amazing. I'm so excited for when the book comes out!!!! I lisa lutz's writing!!!
4HGTV More than 1 year ago
This book could be subtitled, "Izzy Grows Up." While the antics of the Spellman family continue, this book has an underlying seriousness as circumstances change for everyone in the family. I think the added gravity takes the series in a good direction, still humorous, but not as frivolous as the earlier books. I look forward to the next installment.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was by far the most entertaining and best written of the five books in the series.
Helena115 More than 1 year ago
I LOVED the Spellman books 1-4. I thought they were hilarious, and had characters that were both fun and interesting. The author spent 4 books writing about the Spellmans and moving their relationships forward. Book 4 really seemed to wrap up the series in a nice bow, so I was surprised to find out that there was a book 5. After reading it, I almost feel that the author was also surprised. It's almost like she realized that if she wanted to continue the series, she had to unwind almost everything she did in Book 4. While I still enjoyed that author's writing style, I was very disappointed to see most of the characters take a big step backwards.
CynthG More than 1 year ago
Lisa Lutz is awesome. Document 5 introduces you to two more crazy characters and gives you closure on one. Grammy Spellman shows up to shake the Spellman house up, and Henry Stone's mother shows us why Henry is a tedious person. Fast and fun read!
wyogal More than 1 year ago
The footnotes can become tedious in a normal book but in the nook book format, when you have to go back and forth to the end of the book in order to decipher them, it's downright irritating. They need to figure out another way to hole them or just drop them altogether.
Carstairs38 More than 1 year ago
The Spellman clan is hired for several different surveillance cases. Meanwhile, the mom is taking random classes every evening and David and Rae aren't speaking. Will the family survive the latest round of craziness. As always, I laughed my way through the book and had a hard time putting it down. Fans will not be disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This series was meant to end on book 4. It shows in book 5. The author had to undo much of the conclusions to get more books in the series. It was actually depressing
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Irreverant and fun,always sad for these to end
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tillypop More than 1 year ago
The fun and mayhem continue. You won't want to put it down until you're done.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the Spellman books. Read them all and can't wait or the next one.
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