Pr Latta's Reviews > The Spellman Files

The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz
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** spoiler alert ** [audio] First in a series, this is a fun, breezy, wacky family bit of entertainment. Isabel (Izzy) Spellman is being interviewed by Lieutenant Stone about the disappearance of her younger sister Rae, so she tells the story of her family, her totally dysfunctional family, whose business is conducting private investigations and how that shapes the three children, former bad girl Izzy, fourteen years younger Rae, and older brother straight arrow lawyer David. Izzy is trying to break free of her parents' scrutiny and Rae spies on Izzy to keep track of her and the pair carom all over San Francisco breaking head lights (it's easier to know if you are being tailed), climbing in and out of windows, trying to trick each other until Izzy decides enough is enough, she wants to be normal for her dentist boyfriend, and wants to quit the family business. Her parents agree if she'll do one last job: a cold case.

Heavy on the dysfunctional family, car/foot chases, tricks and tricks of the trade, humor, families but light on the actual mystery part. This bogs down in the middle but the ending has me wanting to pick up #2. It received an Alex Award but I'd caution about a casual acceptance of drug use (alcohol use is also prominent but as part of the plot).

I listened to the unabridged version narrated by Christina Moore and I think it added to the experience. Audiofile Magazine gave the abridged version narrated by Ari Gaynor their Earphones Award but I liked the tough, South Chicago persona Christina gave Izzy.
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