John's Reviews > Revenge of the Spellmans

Revenge of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz
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's review
Nov 05, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: audiobook, mystery, audible
Read in November, 2011

If there were a magic "2.5" button, I'd use it for this one, but after due consideration, I'll err on the side of generosity.

The audio narration affected my impression of the book to a significant extent; but first, I'll go into the story itself - weak, but served as a place holder for the next one. This is a series where one must read the books in order, otherwise the characters would be nearly impossible to follow. Izzy, the first-person narrator of the series, came across here as not just quirky, but annoyingly so - attributing that to the dysfunction in which she was raised only goes so far. Her (much younger) sister Rae came off as a brat. At one point Izzy insists on pressing auto theft charges against Rae for taking her car without permission, and when her folks try to get her to drop them as a "misunderstanding", Izzy replies in great frustration, "But ... there are never any consequences for anything she does!" At that point I added an "Amen!" of my own. There's a subplot about Rae and the PSAT test, later extended to her schoolwork and intelligence in general, which I could've done without. Her parents have let her get out of control, and then they're standing around moaning "What happened?" As for Henry Stone ... yes, I know there are metrosexuals out there, but as someone in a political forum wrote recently of Rick Perry: "My gaydar only goes to 10, but still he managed elebenty gazillion (in that NH speech)." Morty I'll get to in the audio discussion in a second, but the rest of the cast were pretty much stock; they were just ... there. The "secret" and blackmailing ended up a rather lame affair, but the Spellmans would shrivel up and die without that kind of drama in their lives.

I really liked Cristina Moore as the voice of Izzy in the first two unabridged versions, but Audible only offered Ari Graynor (who had read the abridged editions for those) as a choice for this title. I knew right away I did not care for her when I heard almost every single "he said" and "she said" - the woman is terrible with dialogue. Moreover, she made Izzy sound more like a suburban teenager, only a couple of years older than 16 y/o Rae, rather than a 31 y/o native San Franciscan. The most painful part was listening to her do Izzy's 84 y/o lawyer, and friend, Morty. She laid on the New York Jewish accent so thick, he sounded like a parody of a stereotype of a Borscht Belt comedian - ugh! I stuck with the audio as I'd paid for it, or I would've gotten the print book from the library.

So ... would I recommend the book (to Spellman fans)? Yes, as it introduces new characters, and Izzy does actually learn from her 20 mandated therapy sessions, though mostly in hindsight. I do not, however, recommend the audio at all. Just read it!


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