(Image from Barnes & Noble)
If you read this blog with any kind of regularity (If you don't, you really should!), you know I generally prefer to write my own plot summaries for the books I review. Sure, it's a reinventing-the-wheel kind of thing, but hey, I'm just a masochist that way. By torturing myself in this manner, I've gotten a small glimpse of how tough it is to write brilliant back cover copy. So, when I come across a summary that captures the essence of a book as perfectly and fetchingly as this one does, I have to share:
The Spellman Files is the first novel in a winning and hilarious mystery series featuring Isabel “Izzy” Spellman (part Nancy Drew, part Dirty Harry) and her highly functioning yet supremely dysfunctional family of private investigators. Meet Isabel “Izzy” Spellman, private investigator. This twenty-eight-year-old may have a checkered past littered with romantic mistakes, excessive drinking, and creative vandalism; she may be addicted to Get Smart reruns and prefer entering homes through windows rather than doors—but the upshot is she’s good at her job as a licensed private investigator with her family’s firm, Spellman Investigations. Invading people’s privacy comes naturally to Izzy. In fact, it comes naturally to all the Spellmans. If only they could leave their work at the office. To be a Spellman is to snoop on a Spellman; tail a Spellman; dig up dirt on, blackmail, and wiretap a Spellman. Izzy walks an indistinguishable line between Spellman family member and Spellman employee. Duties include: completing assignments from the bosses, aka Mom and Dad (preferably without scrutiny); appeasing her chronically perfect lawyer brother (often under duress); setting an example for her fourteen-year-old sister, Rae (who’s become addicted to “recreational surveillance”); and tracking down her uncle (who randomly disappears on benders dubbed “Lost Weekends”). But when Izzy’s parents hire Rae to follow her (for the purpose of ascertaining the identity of Izzy’s new boyfriend), Izzy snaps and decides that the only way she will ever be normal is if she gets out of the family business. But there’s a hitch: she must take one last job before they’ll let her go—a fifteen-year-old, ice-cold missing person case. She accepts, only to experience a disappearance far closer to home, which becomes the most important case of her life.
See what I mean? You want to read this book now, don't you?
As soon as I read the above description of The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz, I was sold. The novel sounded quirky, charming, and hilarious. And guess what? That's exactly what it is. I'm not sure I've read a more hysterical mystery novel. Seriously. This one had me chortling, snorting, and just loving every minute of Izzy's screwball capers. Clever, engaging, fun, addicting—all of these adjectives describe The Spellman Files. For pure entertainment, you really can't go wrong with this one. There's not tons of substance here, but who cares? Engrossing fluff that makes me laugh-out-loud is a rare and beautiful thing. I simply could not get enough of this book.
(Readalikes: Other books in the Spellman series [Curse of the Spellmans; Revenge of the Spellmans; The Spellmans Strike Again; Trail of the Spellmans; and The Last Word]
If this were a movie, it would be rated:
for language, sex, depictions of illegal drug use, and mature subject matter
To the FTC, with love: Another library