Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Review: Revenge of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz


Private investigator Isabel Spellman is back on the case and back on the couch—in court ordered therapy after getting a little too close to her previous subject. As the book opens, Izzy is on hiatus from Spellman Inc. But when her boss, Milo, simultaneously cuts her bartending hours and introduces her to a “friend” looking for a private eye, Izzy reluctantly finds herself with a new client. She assures herself that the case—a suspicious husband who wants his wife tailed—will be short and sweet, and will involve nothing more than the most boring of PI rituals: surveillance. But with each passing hour, Izzy finds herself with more questions than hard evidence.

Meanwhile, Spellmania continues. Izzy’s brother, David, the family’s most upright member, has adopted an uncharacteristically unkempt appearance and attitude toward work, life, and Izzy. And their wayward youngest sister, Rae, a historic academic underachiever, aces the PSATs and subsequently offends her study partner and object of obsession, Detective Henry Stone, to the point of excommunication. The only unsurprising behavior comes from her parents, whose visits to Milo’s bar amount to thinly veiled surveillance and artful attempts (read: blackmail) at getting Izzy to return to the Spellman Inc. fold.

As the case of the wayward wife continues to vex her, Izzy’s personal life—and mental health— seem to be disintegrating. Facing a housing crisis, she can’t sleep, she can’t remember where she parked her car, and, despite her shrinks’ persistence, she can’t seem to break through in her appointments. She certainly can’t explain why she forgets dates with her lawyer’s grandson, or fails to interpret the come-ons issued in an Irish brogue by Milo’s new bartender. Nor can she explain exactly how she feels about Detective Henry Stone and his plans to move in with his new Assistant DA girlfriend . . .

Filled with the signature side-splitting Spellmanantics, Revenge of the Spellmans is an ingenious, hilarious, and disarmingly tender installment in the Spellman series.

Revenge of the Spellmans is the 3rd book in the Izzy Spellman mystery series. This story has everything; zany characters, humor, suspense, and even some heartfelt moments. Izzy, who has worked for her parent’s PI firm since the age of 12, decides to take some time off from the family business to decide what she wants to do with her life. She moves into her brother’s guest apartment without his knowledge. So worried that her brother will find out, she ends up with a bad case of insomnia. Her car is never where she last parked it but that’s ok because she found out that she could get a good nap in while riding the bus. And that’s just the beginning of Izzy’s wild and crazy escapades. The only issue I had with this story was with Izzy’s younger sister Rae. At 14, her recalcitrant behavior was cute, at 16, not so much. But even with that minor irritation I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read the 4th installment in this series, The Spellmans Strike Again.

If you enjoyed Stephanie Plum’s antics you might just want to give this series a try. A word of warning though, be prepared to giggle and snort. In fact, you might not want to read this in public for fear of people looking at you strangely when you fall on the floor laughing. Just thought I’d warn you. I do recommend reading The Spellman Files and Curse of the Spellmans prior to this one so that you can enjoy the wonderful character development.

I give it a B+.

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