Saturday, March 28, 2009

Bookish Review: The Spellman Files

I had been wanting to read The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz for a while, so when I saw the paperback in the airport the other day, I snatched it up. The Spellmans are a disfunctional-with-a-capital-D family of private investigators. Oldest son David is the perfect child, and the only one who escaped the family business, though he still employs his parents occassionally to investigate things for him in his job as a lawyer. Middle daughter Isabel is the wild child who had to rebel against David's perfection. She was never as good-looking, athletic, or smart, but she had a talent for trouble...and for investigating. She started working in the family business as a young teen and still does, living in a converted apartment in her parents' house. Youngest sister Rae is only 14 (Both David and Isabel were nearly grown when Rae was born), but she is already involved in the business and perhaps the most skilled blackmailer and manipulator in the bunch. Add in drunken Uncle Ray and you have a great recipe for disaster.

The book is funny and compelling. We get everything from Isabel's point of view. When you live in a family of PI's, privacy is a rare commodity, but that doesn't stop everyone from trying to keep secrets--and bribing other family members to help them. When Rae goes missing, the whole family has to pull together to try to find her.

Lutz is off to a great start with a quirly cast of characters that are perfect for series fiction. Also available: Curse of the Spellmans and Revenge of the Spellmans.

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