The Spellman Files: A Novel by Lisa Lutz (Simon & Schuster, 2007), 358 pages
Isabelle Spellman, adult middle child of two private investigators, has grown up in the family business. She strains against the lack of privacy her family provides her (she’s 28). But now, her younger sister is missing.
Reminded me in some ways of the all-too-short television series Veronica Mars (not just because they both star a girl, PI, who grew up in the business; also because this girl is tough, and smart, and strong, among other shared traits). There’s a long-tail mystery investigation going on, but many seemingly unrelated things are relayed along the way, including normal investigative case work. And it’s this “other stuff” that makes the book. The family is comprised of quirky characters, from her 14-year-old sister Rae who engages in the risky practice of recreational surveillance to her uncle Ray who’s a cancer survivor and recovering healthy lifestyle addict who now somewhat regularly has “Lost Weekends” soaked in liquor and centered on gambling. Izzy is quite prone to making lists, which she shares with us, including a list of her ex-boyfriends.
I bought this book after seeing the series lauded my innumerable bloggers. I also have the third book in the series, but I’m lacking the second. A fourth is due out in March 2010. I’m quite sad that I’m missing the second, because I really didn’t want to step out of Izzy’s world yet. The book is funny, fast, and very different than other books I’ve read.
This is not the greatest book I’ve read, not even the best book I’ve read this year. But it’s very, very fun and I’m looking forward to more. I’d place it somewhat above the level of a guilty pleasure.
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