Lisa Vegan's Reviews > Trail of the Spellmans

Trail of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz
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Mar 21, 12

it was amazing
bookshelves: fiction, gr-a, mystery, novel, san-francisco, reviewed, favorites, humor
Read from March 12 to 21, 2012

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 relationships between family members and with others too and (most of) the plot resolutions were deliciously satisfying, and I am eager to read the next book. There had better be a book 6!

This book, of all so far, does San Francisco best, although perhaps I noticed one or two errors, and one or more typos at the footnotes. Maybe. The footnotes are definitely worth a bit of effort because as usual they are great.

In addition to some wonderful San Francisco locations and tours, there are a couple quotes that really resonated:

“You don’t drive much in San Francisco unless you have to. Once you find a parking space you keep your car there until circumstances warrant driving.”


“…a common phenomenon in San Francisco. Unless you carry luggage with you at all times, you’ll never be appropriately attired.”

But mostly I love romping with the members of the Spellman family, and there were some wonderful new(ish) characters too. D. in particular is a wonderful addition, but there are many others, some brand new. The “new David” is even funnier than the “old David” and I enjoyed seeing how everyone is evolving. The Spellmans are very endearing, I think. And they make me laugh. And their idea of an “afternoon pick me up” is so entertaining.

The author dedicated the book to two Morgans, and one is Morgan Freeman, and it happens that he’s frequently mentioned in the book. Which is fine because I like Morgan Freeman, as does (pretty much) everybody. I did get a kick out of the repeated references and I hope and assume that he did as well.

Oh, and bananas have never ever been so funny, and not at all in a lewd way.

I also appreciated that there are two serious non-fiction topics mentioned: The Innocence Project ( and a heartfelt message about giving business to (spending money!) at independent bookstores, and she has a message on her blog about that issue too: Now, I will reluctantly return my copy of this book to the library, which will make some other library patron very, very happy; the reserve queue is long, understandably. Oh, and another sobering topic is part of the plot, one that I guessed before Izzy did, and I assume that was the point. These are books where the included mysteries are not the crux of the stories, just fun parts of them.

I’ll toast Lisa Lutz with some ginger ale! (Read the book and you’ll understand that.)
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Reading Progress

03/12/2012 page 1
0.0% "I'll start this later today. I am very happy to have this to read this week."
03/12/2012 page 11
3.0% "As usual, a hoot and a perfect comfort read. Can't wait to get into this story. LOVE the Spellmans."
03/14/2012 page 57
15.0% "As I've come to expect, hilarious and delightful."
03/16/2012 page 99
27.0% "What a perfect book for a rainy weekend, assuming I can lie in bed and read and not have a recurrence of my leaking ceiling. Crossing my fingers."
03/17/2012 page 150
40.0% "I'm thoroughly enjoying this book."
03/19/2012 page 202
54.0% "As usual, laughing out loud."
03/20/2012 page 265
71.0% "I'll try to read some more right before bed. I am laughing so much and so hard. Unusually amusing book, at least as funny as the first four in the series." 6 comments

Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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Lisa Vegan Oh, I'm so disappointed I didn't win this. There were so many copies available i thought I had a reasonably good chance. I hope the library gets it quickly after its publication date. Ah well.h

Lisa Vegan I've been checking the library every day and this book is finally on their computer system. I just became the first patron to reserve it, which slightly takes the sting away from not winning one of the fifty copies offered at Goodreads' First Reads giveaway program. I'm so excited.

Lisa Vegan Yes, support independent bookstores whenever possible:

I have to rely on the library 99% of the time, but every year I try to buy one book from each of my favorite local independent stores.

Lisa Vegan Abigail wrote: "Although I've never read these (maybe, some day), I have enjoyed your reviews of them, Lisa. Wonderful to hear about the mention of the Innocence Project - such important work!"

The Innocence Project had an even bigger role in Document (book) 4, but she does mention it again here.

I think this is my favorite of the 5 books but you really HAVE to read them in order. I'd give book 1 a try. Even though overall the books keep improving, if you don't like book 1, you're not likely to like the others. If you enjoy book 1, The Spellman Files, then definitely read them all. They're quick reads and perfect if you need somthing amusing to read, assuming you have a similar warped sense of humor to mine. I definitely recommend them to you, and to everybody, unless they have no interest at all or read book 1 and it's not their cup of tea, and only then will I stop recommending this series.

Annalisa I think this might be my favorite too. I love the whole banana story line and the way Izzy speaks to Sydney. (view spoiler)

Lisa Vegan Banana was hilarious. And I agree with what you said in the spoiler. Book 6 was really good too. A bit different in one way. I'm hoping that there will be a book 7.

Annalisa I would love a book 7. I kind of want to hold off reading 6 knowing it's the last one as of right now.

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