Title: Revenge of the Spellmans
Author: Lisa Lutz
Release Date: March 10, 2009
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Rating: 4 out of 5
From the dust jacket:
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 Spellman antics, Revenge of the Spellmans is an ingenious, hilarious, and disarmingly tender installment in the Spellman series.
Seriously? That is way too long of a description. I’m just saying, reading a novel in order to figure out if you want to read a novel isn’t exactly my idea of a good time.
Ok, onto the subject at hand. I’ve really enjoyed Lisa Lutz’ Spellman series. The books are creative, zany, and extremely funny. The characters are incredibly well-drawn and very unique. I’ve read the first two books in the series (The Spellman Files, which is being adapted into a movie by Paramount Pictures, and Curse of the Spellmans), so I was definitely looking forward to Revenge of the Spellmans.
As ever, Izzy is a wonderful character. I love her quirkiness; it hasn’t really abated over the course of the series. Lisa Lutz has a unique ability to make Izzy’s unique craziness funny, rather than annoying. I loved getting to know her better in Revenge of the Spellmans. The rest of the characters (for the most part) were great as well. I found myself chuckling at their antics and amused by their ridiculousness.
The only character that I don’t really like is Rae. Izzy said it herself in Revenge of the Spellmans – when Rae was a kid, her determination to get her way at all costs and her sheer ruthlessness were funny and cute. As a 17-year-old, not so much. It irritated me how she seemed to get away with everything, regardless of how awful it was. I’d love to see Rae grow up a little in the next book; reading three books about her being horribly selfish has gotten a bit old. I understand she’s written to be amusing, but her character just did not sit well with me.
Revenge of the Spellmans doesn’t exactly have a straight storyline. Instead, it is more about Izzy’s personal development, as well as the cases she takes on. I know that sounds bad, but it actually works really well in this book. I never found my attention wandering or wondered how many pages were left. The entire book was engrossing; I was as eager to learn the solutions to the mysteries as I was to witness Izzy’s character growth.
I really like Lisa Lutz’ Spellman Files series. She has a unique ability to write humor and she never really stops being funny. The books are intriguing and addictive. I’d love to see some more character development in the next book; it would be great if the entire Spellman clan could actually work together against someone else! This is a solid read that makes a great addition to the Spellman Files series.