2010: #96 – Revenge of the Spellmans (Lisa Lutz)

spellmansBook #96 was Revenge of the Spellmans, the 3rd book in Lisa Lutz’s Spellman Files series.  The back of the book reads:


Private investigator Isabel Spellman is back on the case and back on the couch—in court ordered therapy after getting a little too close to her previous subject. As the book opens, Izzy is on hiatus from Spellman Inc. But when her boss, Milo, simultaneously cuts her bartending hours and introduces her to a “friend” looking for a private eye, Izzy reluctantly finds herself with a new client. She assures herself that the case—a suspicious husband who wants his wife tailed—will be short and sweet, and will involve nothing more than the most boring of PI rituals: surveillance.

But with each passing hour, Izzy finds herself with more questions than hard evidence.

Meanwhile, Spellmania continues. Izzy’s brother, David, the family’s most upright member, has adopted an uncharacteristically unkempt appearance and attitude toward work, life, and Izzy. And their wayward youngest sister, Rae, a historic academic underachiever, aces the PSATs and subsequently offends her study partner and object of obsession, Detective Henry Stone, to the point of excommunication. The only unsurprising behavior comes from her parents, whose visits to Milo’s bar amount to thinly veiled surveillance and artful attempts (read: blackmail) at getting Izzy to return to the Spellman Inc. fold.

As the case of the wayward wife continues to vex her, Izzy’s personal life—and mental health— seem to be disintegrating. Facing a housing crisis, she can’t sleep, she can’t remember where she parked her car, and, despite her shrinks’* persistence, she can’t seem to break through in her appointments. She certainly can’t explain why she forgets dates with her lawyer’s grandson, or fails to interpret the come-ons issued in an Irish brogue by Milo’s new bartender. Nor can she explain exactly how she feels about Detective Henry Stone and his plans to move in with his new Assistant DA girlfriend . . .

Filled with the signature side-splitting Spellmanantics, Revenge of the Spellmans is an ingenious, hilarious, and disarmingly tender installment in the Spellman series.

* Yes, plural

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.

Other reviews:

Jen Robinson’s Book Page: Revenge of the Spellmans: Lisa Lutz

Page count: 416 | Approximate word count: 104,000

2009: A Circle of Souls (Preetham Grandhi)
2008: The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
2007: World War Z (Max Brooks)
2006: When the Sacred Ginmill Closes (Lawrence Block)

Used in these Challenges: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge; Pages Read Challenge Season 2; Countdown Challenge 2011;

One thought on “2010: #96 – Revenge of the Spellmans (Lisa Lutz)

  • December 3, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    A good friend of mine loves this series and keeps telling me I have to read it, so it’s already on my wishlist.


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