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The Spellman Files (The Spellmans #1)

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  21,912 ratings  ·  2,779 reviews
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' ...more
Audio CD, Abridged
Published March 11th 2008 by Recorded Books (first published January 1st 2007)
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Community Reviews

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Dan Schwent
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
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
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
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
Oct 07, 2013 Carol. rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
Ilona Andrews
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 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
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 (Book Chick City)
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 twelve meant
RJ McGill
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…


Ovo je jedna od onih knjiga koje se ne bih setila da je uzmem na čitanje 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 J
I still haven't forgiven this book for looking so appealing on my (own) (personal) (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, 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 mine. Although n ...more
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
Lisa Vegan
Oct 30, 2008 Lisa Vegan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
Jan 13, 2010 K rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
Nadine Jones
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
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
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
Boring storyline and writing style, annoying characters, pathetic, totally irritating 'heroine'.
Not recommended.
Harold Ogle
I have a compulsive habit. OK, really I have several. But the one I mean to talk about it books: I can't pass up an opportunity to pick up some books that look interesting. I've managed to save some money for my family by switching by compulsion back to libraries in recent years, but it's still out of control. I go to return some stuff to the library - any library, you pick - and I tell myself "OK, I'm just going to return the stuff I have here. I'm NOT going to get anything else until I finish ...more
Ruth Turner

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
What a fun, absolutely kooky story. The Spellmans are a fun family, but one I would go crazy in. The Spellmans run an PI firm and everybody, including 12 year old Rae is apart of the firm. Well except for perfect David, he is a perfect lawyer instead. I have had this book on my TBR for along time and am hoisted by my own petard at having such a funny gem all this time.

I did take me awhile to warm to up to Izzie, the oldest daughter. Alot of the times I just felt she was being an immature jerk o
Jan 05, 2014 Milica rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Milica by: Tea Jovanović
Shelves: humor
Odličan književni početak godine. Hvala Tea Jovanović na preporuci ne verujem da bih ikad sama došla do ove knjige.

Život porodice privatnih detektiva ispričan iz ugla jednog člana. Iako su slučajevi zanimljivi, zaista nisu suština knjige. Ono na čemu je akcenat su porodični odnosi u jednoj neobičnoj porodici opisani kroz niz sitnih dogadjaja i vrcavih dijaloga tako da je gotovo nemoguće ne poželeti da ste se rodili u nekoj sličnoj porodici. Bar je meni bilo nemoguće :)
Barbara ★
First of all, I must say that the Spellman's are serious nutjobs! If they were real people, they'd all be sharing a room at the local sanitarium. All of the family members are part of Spellman Investigationgs and it has gone to their heads. Instead of investigating real cases: they investigate each other, they tail each other, they break headlights and tailights on each others vehicles. It's totally nuts. Kind of like a "Three Stooges" episode.

When the narrative finally gets to the Snow case it
In The Spellman Files, Isabel Spellman is the 28 year old daughter of two private detectives, the niece of a private detective, and has gone into the family business from a purported lack of any other skills.

There are a number of series about young women detectives - Kinsey Milhone and Stephanie Plum spring to mind (Yes, yes, Steph is a bounty hunter, not a private detective, what's your point?) Isabel Spellman is clearly designed to fit right into this genre. Wacky family? Check! Boyfriend prob
This book is dreadful. I rarely abandon books, but I gave up on this one on page 154 after the narrator switched from past to present tense within the same paragraph, which was just the last straw for me. I tried so hard to like it, but the protagonist is not funny, the characters are straight out of Central Casting, the narrative structure is illogical, and the writing is full of boring exposition: "Aside from background research, the databases can also be used to locate an individual whose whe ...more
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
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2015 Reading Chal...: The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz 1 4 Jan 28, 2015 08:31AM  
Ask Lisa Lutz!: Ask Lisa about The Spellmans 33 287 Oct 23, 2013 03:14AM  
It's Lisa Lutz, not Linda Lutz 4 87 May 15, 2012 05:42PM  
Ask Lisa Lutz!: Ask Lisa any other question! 15 96 Feb 19, 2012 10:46AM  
Win a Free Signed Copy of this Book! 1 31 Oct 05, 2008 09:02PM  
finished this one...may look for next in the series 1 29 Aug 20, 2008 08:55AM  
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Lisa Lutz grew up in Southern California. After graduating high school, she attended UC Santa Cruz, UC Irvine, University of Leeds in England and San Francisco State University, although she still does not have a bachelor's degree.

Lisa spent most of the 1990s hopping from a string of low-paying odd jobs while writing and rewriting a mob comedy called Plan B. After it was made in 2000, Lisa vowed s
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)
Revenge of the Spellmans (The Spellmans, #3) Curse of the Spellmans (The Spellmans, #2) 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.” 68 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.”
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