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The Spellman Files (The Spellmans #1)

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  27,108 Ratings  ·  3,265 Reviews
Isabel Spellman, the uncompromising—okay, obstinate—twenty-eight year-old San Francisco private eye in Lisa Lutz's riotous debut novel, THE SPELLMAN FILES has her share of problems. And those problems all happen to be named Spellman. Her parents, Albert and Olivia, co-owners of Spellman Investigations, think nothing of placing their daughter under 24-hour surveillance simp ...more
Paperback, 370 pages
Published 2008 by Pocket books (first published January 1st 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Dan Schwent
Aug 29, 2014 Dan Schwent rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
The Spellmans are a dysfunctional family of detectives. When Rae, the youngest, goes missing, her sister Izzy drops what she's doing and goes looking for her while delving into the Spellman family's past. Who kidnapped Rae Spellman? And does it have something to do with a cold case Izzy is working on?

The Spellman Files reads like Sara Gran on mood elevators. The writing style reminds me of a more humorous version of the Claire DeWitt books. As for the Spellmans themselves, they remind me of The
Tea Jovanović
Zauvek ću pamtiti kako me je ova knjiga "kupila" kao urednika :) Dobila sam od njenog agenta rukopis knjige mesecima pre nego što je objavljena... odštampala sam je i ponela papire sa sobom na Sajam knjiga u London, da čitam usput... Te godine sajam je bio izmešten na Doklends i gotovo sat vremena putovali smo metroom od hotela do sajma i obrnuto... I ja sam vukla papire sa sobom, čitala, cerebečila se i svaki cas cimala za rukav vlasnika Lagune i prepričavala mu urnebesne scene iz teksta... pos ...more
Sep 07, 2009 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: blog
I'm one of those people who will forgive anything of a movie or a novel as long as I enjoy the characters. If I like the characters, if I find them amusing or admirable or realistic, I'll gladly read hundreds of pages in which nothing really happens just for the pleasure of their company. This is one of those novels and, as such, while I enjoyed the hell out of it, I probably won't actively recommend it because I don't want anyone wondering, "I don't get it. What did she think was so special in ...more
Jan 05, 2014 Jadranka rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014

Ovo je jedna od onih knjiga do koje ne bih došla da nema Goodreads-a, što bi bio veliki propust.
Zabavna, uzbudljiva, opuštajuća, duhovita knjiga koja mami osmeh na lice od prve strane.
Pratimo svakodnevnicu porodice Spelman, oni vode porodični biznis - oni su privatni detektivi, njuškala, zovite ih kako hoćete.
A Spelmanovi su mama, tata, ujka Rej, Dejvid, Izi i mala Rej.
I have a confession to make :) ja sam ista, preslikana Rej Spelman, da klinče od 13-14 godina, to sam JA. Kako sam počela da či
Feb 20, 2008 Silver rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beach read.
Funny read.
I-want-to-be-this-character read.

Lisa Lutz, if you ever read this, please don't take it the wrong way. By beach read I mean that I was completely entertained, laughed out loud a couple of times, and didn't want to move while I read it. Your book sucked me in and kept me there. When I had to put it down, the story and characters stayed with me enough so it was easy to pick back up. Izzy Spellman reminded me of Thursday Next ( The Eyre Affair) and Jane Charlotte ( Bad Monk
THE SPELLMAN FILES (Private Investigator, Izzy Spellman, San Francisco, Cont) – Poor
Lutz, Lisa – 1st book
Simon and Schuster, 2007, US Hardcover – ISBN: 9781415432392
First Sentence: I duck into the parking garage hoping to escape.
*** Izzy Spellman is a private investigator from a family of private investigators. Her parents sent Izzy and her brother David out on their first official surveillance when they were 12- and 14-years old respectively. Izzy eventually decides to quit the family business
Jan 07, 2012 Carol. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: someone looking for the literary equivalent of Bringing Up Baby

This book won’t work for some, but head into it in the right frame of mind and it’s a fun ride, a modern screwball comedy crossed with spy caper,Harriet the Spy meets Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead.

Isabel is a private investigator in the family business, Spellman Investigations. It’s been a hard road getting there after a decade of childish rebellion. “Since David [her brother] had cornered the market on perfection, I had to settle for mining the depths of my own imperfection.” Spellman
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
I still haven't forgiven this book for looking so appealing on my own, personal (also, in my bedroom) bookshelf that my daughter, who was about 12 at the time and a precocious reader, snitched it from my shelf and read it. I didn't find out until after she was finished. It's not the worst thing in the world that she could have read at that age, but it has some adult content that, let's just say, I wasn't quite ready for her to be exposed to yet. And yes, it was totally the book's fault and not m ...more
Ilona Andrews
Jan 01, 2012 Ilona Andrews rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
A deeply hilarious book about Isabel Spellman, a PI in San Francisco, who works for her parents' firm. The entire Spellman family is deeply weird but strangely functional. I loved it, the whole thing: the quirky anecdotes about the family, the list of ex-boyfriends, the younger sister addicted to surveillance.

One small warning: before you read this book, take the concept of plot, put it in a drawer in a closet, and don't come back to it until you are done. It is a non-linear book, and it doesn't
Lois Bujold
Aug 09, 2013 Lois Bujold rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers who like contemporary family dramedy
Recommended to Lois by: random internet review

My casual reading didn't used to come with homework...

Anyway, that was fun. If required to succinctly sum up the mode, I'd dub it family dramady. An... alternatively-functional family of P.I.s in contemporary San Francisco combine variously to drive each other around the bend. The main character reminded me of that tune of Sheryl Crow's, which I mentally dubbed "the borderline-personality girlfriend song", the title of which escapes me just now -- might have been "Man Enough to Be My Man".

That p
May 03, 2011 Dennis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every once in a great while I stumble across a writer who just gets it, one who possesses The Humor – that elusive knack for expressing razor-sharp wit by fusing language and wordplay with insight into human nature and the ironies surfacing in relational complexity. Lisa Lutz looms large in this category. This opening entry in her series about the Spellman family introduces a spirited line-up of family members whose San Francisco private investigation business facilitates honing inquiry skills o ...more
Well, I can honestly say that I have never read anything quite like this. This family was insane! Hilarious for us, but quite dysfunctional.

Pretty much everyone in the family, except the odd man out, David, works as a private investigator for the family company. Privacy is an alien concept to the Spellmans. To keep information to yourself in this family you'll need to lie, dodge tails, and constantly check for bugs. It's an interesting lifestyle, but it's getting exhausting for Izzy.

Izzy had a
Carolyn  Storer
4.5 Stars

This is the first book in the Spellman Series and I absolutely loved it. I found it refreshing and funny and although the Spellman family is bizarre, weird and bordering on completely insane, I simply adored this dysfunctional family.

Isabel, who is the main protagonist and tells the story from a first person narrative, is such a great character. She's strong, feisty and a teeny bit nuts. Brought into the family business, a private detective agency, and the life of a PI at the age of twe
Oct 17, 2011 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a mystery novel? No.
As a cute and funny chick-lit novel? Yes.

I asked my librarian to help me find a book that was good, but not sad, violent, or about animals (What? I don't like sappy books about animals.) I wanted something mind-numbing to pass the time. Something kind of funny maybe?
She gave me this book and told me, "My mother really loved it!". I really tried to smile at her when she said that. There's a possibility it looked more like a grimace. But I took it anyway, because it's just
Apr 16, 2014 Kristijan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Izuzetno lagana i lepršava knjiga. Moram priznati da mi nije privukla pažnju sve dok nisam primetio da je dvoje prijatelja sa Goodreads-a (J. i V. hvala na preporuci!!!) čitaju i uživaju u njoj. Šteta je što izdavačka kuća nije malo poradila na sinopsisu i promociji knjige, ovako je nezasluženo završila u zapećku, zanemarena zbog nekih drugih romana koji ne zaslužuju ni upola pompe koju dobijaju (što od izdavačke kuće, što od čitalaca).
Roman "Dosijei o Spelmanovima" je pravo osveženje, knjiga ko
RJ McGill
Feb 26, 2008 RJ McGill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Lisa Lutz’s first novel, “The Spellman Files,” introduces readers to the lovable, albeit highly dysfunctional Spellman family. Be prepared to adore this zany cast of characters, that will butt their way right into your heart and have you laughing a long the way. A strong female protagonist with a meddling family may, at first glance, seem a bit blase’, but don’t be fooled, the writing, narrative and perspective work together like a well oiled machine generating the ideal reading experience…

Feb 15, 2014 Vladimir rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, owned-read
Zaista se ne sećam kada sam se toliko zabavljao uz neku knjigu i odmah veliko HVALA GR-u i posebno Tei Jovanović što je (između ostalog i meni) skrenula pažnju na ovaj roman.

Knjiga je totalna forica koja će vam dizati raspoloženje od prve do poslednje stranice.

Već sam spomenuo Izi i Rej koje su više nego genijalne ali i oststak porodice Spelman ne zaostaje za njima. Svi njihovi slučajevi, međusobna praćenja, zvrčke koje su smeštali jedni drugima, Izini momci i epitafi koje su dobijali, veza sa
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
This one was okay. A few parts a heck of a lot better than others but not as good as I was hoping for. This was a recommendation from my library's manager directly to me. I wish it had been better as there are more books that come after this. I don't know if I will read them at this point.
John Matsui
Oct 08, 2016 John Matsui rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Spellmans are a collection of quirky, self-possessed psychopaths in a family that operates a detective agency.
The main character is 28-year-old Izzy [Isabel] who tries to leave the family and the business to find a more normal life. In the process, she uses every underhanded, snooping, spying and lying PI technique to make the break. Her parents and younger sister Rae, 14, tap the same arsenal to track her because they feel she may slip back to her former hard-drinking ways.
Running parallel
Lisa Vegan
Sep 11, 2007 Lisa Vegan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who enjoy light mysteries, dysfunctional families & black humor
The Spellmans are one of the most unconventional dysfunctional families ever in a book, and they are hilarious. They are outrageous and over the top and have very peculiar ways of showing love. This delightful book is really, really funny, if you have a weird sense of humor, which I guess I do. It is interesting that what I’d consider disturbing and child abuse in real life can, in a book, cause me to feel affection for all of the characters and send me into frequent peals of laughter.

The friend
Nadine Jones
Feb 10, 2012 Nadine Jones rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Newsflash: boring title conceals highly entertaining book!!! Thanks to Amy for giving it a rave review and piquing my interest :-)


I started out loving this book, but then ... not so much. It begins with lots of really fun character set-up, then there is a whiff of a plot, then there is more set-up, and then ... more set-up and more set-up. Finally there is a plot! The mystery was mildly interesting, but by that point I pretty much hated everyone in the book. There is dysfunctional and then ther
Oct 08, 2010 Jenne rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Annoying people doing stupid things does not automatically equal funny.
Jan 10, 2010 K rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Janet Evanovich fans
Isabel Spellman, the new Stephanie Plum, is a 28-year-old single woman from a dysfunctional family. That in and of itself is not unusual, but the particular form her family’s dysfunction takes is quite different – the family business is a private detective firm and snooping and blackmailing each other is a way of life for all family members, from the middle-aged parents down to Isabel’s tough-as-nails 14-year-old sister. The family wouldn’t be complete without debauched live-in Uncle Ray, a heal ...more
Apr 22, 2015 Christa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks
My perspective on The Spellman Files was a bit different this time, as I reread it after reading all the books as they were released. I enjoyed it at least as much this time, and I was definitely more invested in the characters. I also think I caught nuances that slid past me when all of the characters were new to me.

Isabella "Izzy" Spellman is a twenty-eight year old private investigator who lives at home and works in her family's business. She has never been an easy individual, and now she is
Sep 04, 2016 Cheryl rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The book's first half spent way too much time on the family's background story. At first, the actions of the characters were mildly amusing; but then the author repeated the same humorous actions over and over until they became predictable and boring. This is the first book in a mystery series, but no mystery appears until half-way through the book. After that, the story gets a little interesting. I doubt I will read the next book in this series. A quick read, but nothing special.
Apr 25, 2012 Exina rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Boring storyline and writing style, annoying characters, pathetic, totally irritating 'heroine'.
Not recommended.
Aug 06, 2008 Terry rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cdcs-young-adult
Just to make one thing clear--I read this book, I didn't listen to the audio CD, but goodreads didn't have the hardback book (?!). Amazon has done this to me too...I'm confused, and unlike some I'm not a fan of audiobooks, so it irks me. Enough of this tangent though--on to the review.

The Spellman Files could have been fantastic! The setup was smart and right up my alley--family of private investigators who snoop on each other more than on strangers. Like The Thin Man, the dialogue was (intermit
Ruth Turner
Apr 12, 2014 Ruth Turner rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chic-lit

I started this series hoping these books would fill a void left by Janet Evanovich's Plum series, which in my opinion went downhill fast after Lean Mean Thirteen. Unfortunately, that's not going to happen.

Well written and often funny, it has a cast of crazy characters that appealed to my sense of humour.

The beginning of the book pulled me in, learning about the Spellman family and all their idiosyncrasies. However, the middle of the book became a little tiresome and repetitive with the continual
Apr 01, 2014 Miljana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Duhovit roman o neobičnoj porodici koja vodi privatnu detektivsku agenciju. Devojke Spelman su fantastične-duhovite-inteligente buntovnice i obožavam ih. Naravno tu je i savršeni stariji brat koji jedini nije u porodičnom biznisu ali je velika podrška sestrama u prikrivanju njihovih nestašluka i ispada. Šteta što ovaj roman nije imao neku veću reklamu i što izdavač nije više zainteresovao čitaoce i objavio još neki nastavak. Samo što sam završila knjigu a Spelmanovi mi već nedostaju.
Trenutno je
Clarissa Emiria
Jun 17, 2016 Clarissa Emiria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016, audio
I can't decide if I want to give this four or five stars....

I loved the book.. I loved Isabelle's voice and commentary.. And Christina Moore's narration was perfect <3

I am going to re-listen soon/right away I think, maybe? I don't know?

I can't think right now because motorised gardening implements >_<
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Books on Tap Book...: * June- The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz 1 4 Jun 03, 2016 11:51AM  
2015 Reading Chal...: The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz 1 14 Jan 28, 2015 08:31AM  
Ask Lisa Lutz!: Ask Lisa about The Spellmans 33 316 Oct 23, 2013 03:14AM  
It's Lisa Lutz, not Linda Lutz 4 88 May 15, 2012 05:42PM  
Ask Lisa Lutz!: Ask Lisa any other question! 15 101 Feb 19, 2012 10:46AM  
Win a Free Signed Copy of this Book! 1 33 Oct 05, 2008 09:02PM  
finished this one...may look for next in the series 1 30 Aug 20, 2008 08:55AM  
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  • Unzipped (A Chrissy McMullen Mystery, #1)
  • Electric Blue (Jane Kelly, #2)
  • What Looks Like Crazy (Crazy, #1)
  • I, Spy? (Sophie Green Mystery, #1)
  • Body Movers (Body Movers, #1)
  • The Family Vault (Kelling & Bittersohn, #1)
  • The Case of the Missing Books (Mobile Library Mystery #1)
  • Bobbie Faye's Very (very, very, very) Bad Day (Bobbie Faye, #1)
  • Dating Dead Men
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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)
  • Curse of the Spellmans (The Spellmans, #2)
  • Revenge of the Spellmans (The Spellmans, #3)
  • The Spellmans Strike Again (The Spellmans, #4)
  • Trail of the Spellmans (The Spellmans, #5)
  • The Last Word (The Spellmans, #6)

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“I have a weakness for tough guys who read.” 79 likes
“My father insisted that the boys in my life were directly responsible for my juvenile-delinquent tendencies.
My mother, more accurately, assumed that I was the bad influence.”
More quotes…