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Trail of the Spellmans (The Spellmans #5)

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  7,376 Ratings  ·  987 Reviews
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 secre
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published February 28th 2012 by Simon & Schuster
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Dan Schwent
Feb 05, 2015 Dan Schwent rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
Why are Rae and David Spellman not on speaking terms? Why is Mom throwing herself into numerous hobbies? What is the link between the case Izzy is working and the one dear old Dad has his hooks in? All these questions and more will be answered in Trail of the Spellmans!

My all time favorite dysfunctional family of detectives is back in a fifth installment and I'm glad to say the level of quality hasn't diminished.

In this outing, Lisa Lutz throws a few new characters into the mix. There's the infa
Mar 11, 2011 Jennifer rated it liked it
I gave the first 4 books 5-stars but this gets 3-stars. And I'm not only rating this on the incredibly upsetting event. Although that was ridiculously awful! I didn't read four books where I felt like I was climbing Mt. Everest to only barely reach the top in the fifth book and then be thrown off the cliff before I can even take a look around! I was also very disappointed by all the characters. No Henry/Rae scenes. No Henry anything basically! His character was wasted in this installment. There ...more
Feb 01, 2014 Carol. rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who want a light, fun mystery
Sometimes you just need light and fluffy. Lutz’ Spellman series fits the bill perfectly, with enough complexity and surprises to prevent boredom, clever lines to provide laughter and a remarkable entertaining heroine.

In this installment, Isabel is active again in her family’s detective business. Her younger sister Rae is off at college at Berkley, but still takes a hand in a case or two. Rae mostly seems to come around to work on convincing Spellman Investigations’ newest employee, Demetrius, to
Aug 10, 2012 Melki rated it really liked it
Shelves: humorous-mystery
My family's obligatory Sunday-night dinners have always had the atmosphere of a disappointing baseball game: lots of shouting, subpar and semidigestible dining options, and various individuals occasionally making a run for it.

Isabel Spellman

Here's the latest go-round from that wacky family of private investigators known as the Spellmans.

All the current cases seem rather mundane compared to the theatrics of Izzy's own family. Mom has overscheduled herself to the point of exhaustion with classes
Jul 31, 2011 Shelley rated it really liked it
*Rating* 4.0
*Genre* Mystery/Comedy

*Review forthcoming*

I seriously love this series! I am so happy that after a nearly 2 years of a reprieve from writing this series, Trail of the Spellman's returns without any luster being lost on the characters or the storyline itself.

More shortly.
Mar 07, 2012 RachelAnne rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 13, 2011 Naomi rated it really liked it
I have that deep fear concerning the survivability of the Spellman clan and I hope LL wasn't trying to tell us something. I loved this was LL typical high standard of writing with a ton of questions at the end!
Stacy Curry
Mar 23, 2011 Stacy Curry rated it it was amazing
REALLY we have to wait a whole year!! I love the Spellmans....
Mar 01, 2012 Joey rated it it was ok
Have you ever had a craving for your favorite treat? All day long you've looked forward to indulging in it and when you finally sit down to eat it, it doesn't taste right. Like someone has made it sugar free, carb free, and taken the chocolate bits out. Yep , that's this book. As a huge fan of her superb series, books 1-4 that is, I was seriously disappointed with her latest installment in a series that really should just have been left finished.

Her usual zany cast of characters were made to see
Nov 20, 2016 AdiTurbo rated it really liked it
Another great Spellman book, though a little less so than the others so far. So much wit it hurts, so much smart it makes you jealous. So obvious Lutz is having so much fun writing this series, and this makes it so much fun to read, especially when you need a little laugh.
Lisa Vegan
This is the 5th book in the Spellman series, all 5 star books for me, most of them (why not all?!: Do I have to rectify that?!) on my favorites shelf. (I assigned 5 stars for Lutz’s standalone book too.) (And, there is a new children’s book that will be out in 2013, and readers of this book get a teaser about it, illustrations included.)

I literally laughed out loud, numerous times. The story is hilarious, delightful, and a perfect comfort read for me, warped sense of humor that I have.

The relati
Trick Brown
Mar 17, 2013 Trick Brown rated it really liked it
Clearly, if I am reading the fifth book in any series it's because I thoroughly enjoy the series. What first attracted me to these stories was the originality in their presentation. Ms. Lutz uses a number of interesting, call them gimmicks, to present the story. Not as much for this novel, but she has often utilized in media res techniques as a way to foreshadow. Since the Spellman's are private investigators, she presents scenes as transcripts of recorded conversations. Which creates an interes ...more
Feb 06, 2012 Victoria rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most fun, laugh-out-loud series that I have ever read. After the fourth installment, The Spellmans Strike Again, I had believed Internet rumours that said it would be the last Spellman book, so my delight was tremendous when I first heard about this book's imminent publication (and don't worry, this time the Internet is very upfront that an additional two books have been contracted in the series!)

I love Lutz's writing style and sense of humour - in fact, I first read The Spell
Jess Schira
Mar 03, 2012 Jess Schira rated it it was ok
After reading the Trail of the Spellmans I can't shake the feeling that Lutz planned on ending the series with her fourth (the previous) novel. She'd tied up the loose ends and made it seem like the family had worked through all of their problems. With this book she kind of through a grenade in the middle of life and waited to see where the carnage ended. This book didn't have any of the crazy antics I enjoyed in the earlier novels, and the whole book felt ... forced. Worse of all, the most of t ...more
Feb 07, 2012 Amy rated it did not like it
I am so upset I want to cry. I'm not even finishing this book unless a sixth book comes out to rectify things. Why did I pick this up? I loved this series and told everyone I know about it. Now I'm going to tell them that book 4 is the last in the series. Seriously, I need a forget spell. I would like to understand why all the characters get to grow and be happy except Izzy. Resist the suspense if you know what is good for you and do not read this. You can then remain in the previously inhabited ...more
Feb 29, 2012 Jess rated it liked it
I don't know. Maybe I'm over it. I liked it. I liked revisiting the characters, and the story stayed true to all of them. Still, you know when you see a sequel to a movie that had a very satisfactory ending, and the sequel is fine but you can't help but wonder if it was really necessary? This was like that.
Noah W
Nov 26, 2012 Noah W rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
Lisa Lutz typically records the crazy, but plausible antics of the Spellmans. This file contains the realistic, very plausible musings of a tired investigator. In many ways the Spellmans have matured.

So I'll address how each of the characters have changed (matured):

Albert Spellman (Father): In this book he mainly does paperwork and runs the compnay like a normal boss. No more "retirement age crisis" or interesting hobbies.

Olivia Spellman (Mother): She no longer is obsessed with playing Yenta th
May 20, 2011 Theresa rated it really liked it
Releasing March 2012.
Feb 12, 2017 Mburrows rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tim Chamberlain
May 23, 2012 Tim Chamberlain rated it it was amazing
Written for the KAZI Book Review (

The further adventures of a wonderfully dysfunctional PI and her entire dysfunctional clan.

With Trail of the Spellmans, the fifth book in the Spellmans series, Lisa Lutz delivers a fast and funny mystery that should please old and new fans alike.

The new installment follows the further adventures of Isabel “Izzy” Spellman (a San Francisco private investigator) and her family who just so happen to be her co-workers. There is n
Fred Hughes
Dec 28, 2011 Fred Hughes rated it really liked it
This review is based on an Advance Readers Version of the book which I received free through Goodreads First Reads.

This story revolves around a family of Private Investigators consisting of Dad – Albert Spellman , Mom – Olivia Spellman, oldest Daughter and story teller - Isabel Spellman, and youngest Daughter – Rae Spellman (part time). Occasionally their brother David whose was a lawyer and is now a stay at home Dad to 18 month old Sydney – “Banana” - [you’ll have to read the book to see what “
I've been reading really serious literature recently and I decided that I needed a bit of fluff to clear my reading palate. It doesn't get much fluffier than Lisa Lutz and her family of ditsy San Francisco detectives, the Spellmans.

This is the fifth in the Spellman series. Several years have passed in the family's history since the series began, and yet it is hard to see much growth in most of the family members. They still spend more time surveilling each other, trying to trip each other up, an
Feb 13, 2012 Jennifer rated it really liked it
This is the fifth book in the Spellman series but only the second Spellman book I read. (I read #1 and then jumped to this one.) I thought Lutz smoothed out her writing style in the interval (the first book felt a bit disjointed). If you’re not familiar with the series, the Spellmans are a San Francisco-based family who own a private investigation business run by the Spellman parents and employing Isabel (our narrator) and sometimes Rae (the youngest daughter—in college in this book). The focus ...more
Book Him Danno
The overwhelming thought I had as I read this book was Rory and Lorelei had decided to solve crimes. The dialogue was so fast, so snappy it reminded of the Gilmore Girls interacting at the diner. Thank goodness it was written down or I would have had to keep rewinding to keep up.

This is about a family, the Spellmans, more so than the crimes the dig into.
They are private detectives who all work together in a nonstop atmosphere of love and suspicion, like any good family who are also paid to be
Jan 25, 2012 Amy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc
ARC/TPB/Mystery: Rarely does a character come alone that I really miss after I've finished the book (Abby Normal & Stephanie Plum). I really like Izzy; she's like my friend and she's telling me her life story.
I've listened to Spellman's 1 & 2 and when I saw Book 5 on Amazon Vine, I bit the bullet and skipped over. I don't think skipping is going to be a problem. First, the books stand on their own because it is a mystery. Second, even though I know facts now that have happened in books 3
Susan Johnson
Jan 31, 2012 Susan Johnson rated it it was amazing
I really like the Spellman family and their private investigation business. I like how they spy on each other. I like how they bring others into their loop especially Henry. Izzy has been living with Henry for about two years when this book starts. If you remember, Izzy's sister, Rae, had a major crush on him (she was around 12) and followed him everywhere. That's how Izzy met him. Izzy is living the most normal life in her family which is highly unusual. Izzy's mom has taken on a boat load of h ...more
Paul Pessolano
Jun 04, 2012 Paul Pessolano rated it really liked it
“Trail of the Spellmans” by Lisa Lutz, published by Simon & Schuster.

Category – Mystery/Comedy

Just as Lays Potato Chips says, “You can’t eat just one”, Lisa Lutz has a series that, “You can’t read just one”.

The Spellman Detective Agency continues on its merry way in “Trail of the Spellmans”. This is the fifth book in the series and they must be read in order to get the most out of them.

The Spellmans I’m sure most of you know are a family of Private Investigators that mainly do surveillance w
Cindy Crawford
Jan 26, 2012 Cindy Crawford rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 12, 2012 Tabi34 rated it really liked it
Ahhh...the next installment of Izzy Spellman and her dysfunctional family/life. If you remember in book 4 she had moved in with Ex boyfriend #13 (she always calls them that from the start) and was in going to take over the family PI business.

Book 5 opens with her still living with Ex #13. Her brother David who married Maggie at the end of book 4 is now a stay at home dad to 18 month old Sydney. He has morphed into New David, a guy who doesn't care about money or his appearance. In fact he isn't
Mar 05, 2012 Lighthearted rated it it was amazing
The Spellmans are back! As dysfunctional and secretive as ever, they now have new nicknames for each other as well as Code Phrases for meeting clients. The Eagle (Izzy’s mom) has inexplicably decided to take on a number of new hobbies, none of which she actually shows any interest in. The Tortoise (Izzy’s dad) has a secret. The Weasel (Rae) and David (nickname pending) aren’t speaking to each other and refuse to tell anyone what happened. The Gopher (Izzy) is determined to avoid having “the talk ...more
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ENDING! *Spoilers* 52 270 May 03, 2016 05:07PM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: Trail of the Spellmans 1 6 Oct 03, 2012 04:34AM  
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Lisa Lutz is the New York Times bestselling author of the six books in the Spellman series, How to Start a Fire, Heads you Lose (with David Hayward), and the children's book, How to Negotiate Everything (illustrated by Jaime Temairik). Her latest book, The Passenger, a psychological thriller, will be published March 2016 by Simon and Schuster. Lutz has won the Alex award and has been nominated for ...more
More about Lisa Lutz...

Other Books in the Series

The Spellmans (6 books)
  • The Spellman Files (The Spellmans, #1)
  • Curse of the Spellmans (The Spellmans, #2)
  • Revenge of the Spellmans (The Spellmans, #3)
  • The Spellmans Strike Again (The Spellmans, #4)
  • The Last Word (The Spellmans, #6)

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“You know what I'm thinking?' Maggie said.
I had no idea.
'Nope,' David replied. Apparently David didn't know either.
Maggie turned to me with pleading eyes.'Our babysitter has the flu.'
'I'm sorry to hear that,' I replied.
Dead silence.
I honestly had no idea what Maggie was getting at, so I misread the silence.
'It's not serious, I hope,' I said sympathetically.”
“I don't have any kids, so I'm not as worried about my heirs as the rest of you, but still: I think the youth of tomorrow might be better off if they knew the physical sensation of cracking a spine and turning the page.” 5 likes
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