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1 March 2008
THE SPELLMAN FILES, Lisa Lutz
Think of one of the oddest families you know, and I bet it comes nowhere near the Spellmans. 28 year old Izzy Spellman works for her parents, private investigators, and has done since she was 12. Spellman Investigations specialise in surveillance.
Of their three children Isabel (Izzy) has been without doubt the most trouble, a rebel almost since birth, and a constant subject of interrogation and even surveillance herself. Izzy's history of defiance contrasts with the apparent perfection of her older brother David, but he has managed to break away, leave home, and leads an independent life as a lawyer. By contrast Izzy's younger sister Rae began her first surveillance training before she could read, and is, at 12, in real danger of going the same way as Izzy.
Life in the Spellman household is a constant war, with one battle after another between Izzy and her parents, Izzy and Rae, including also skirmishes with Uncle Ray who lives with them. Izzy's life is under constant inspection by her parents and she would like nothing more than to leave home, on her own terms.
This book is lightly connected to crime fiction. Investigations are recounted, but it won't satisfy the serious genre devotee. Some have called it chick-lit, and there are elements of humour, just not really what I like to read. The best part was the investigation that takes centre stage at about page 200 (of a 350 page book), but that was almost too late for me.
For me there was just too much back-story, too much Spellman family history. I thought Lisa Lutz's previous experience as a screenplay writer was well used too. Some bits of the book are presented as a play script, but it was not a device that endeared me to it.
There is some more detail in the progress report I blogged about 5 days ago. Find out there about the awards this book has already won. Just because it wasn't my cuppa, that doesn't mean that you may not enjoy it as much as others, including Lauren Weisberger, have. I think it is just that I like my crime fiction more straight-laced or is it straight-faced? I did find the odd thing to smile about though.
My rating 4.0