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Spellmans kept me laughing & spellbound

Book Review:

The Spellman Files

The Spellmans Document #1

By Lisa Lutz

The Spellmans are a collection of quirky, self-absorbed psychopaths in a family that operates a detective agency.

The main character in this first “document” and every document in the Spellmans series is 28-year-old Izzy [Isabel] who tries to leave the family and the business to find a more normal life.

In the process, she uses every underhanded, snooping, spying and lying PI technique to make the break. Her parents and younger sister Rae, 14, tap the same arsenal to track her because they feel she may slip back to her former hard-drinking ways.

Running parallel to the main plot is the bizarre saga of Izzy’s love-life. While on a case, she spies on Daniel Castillo DDS, who captures her heart when he purposely loses a tennis match to a less talented opponent who needed a spirit-lifting win.

She determines he’s to be ex-boyfriend #9 and runs the background check that’s customary for her potential paramours. Of course, Daniel doesn’t step up as her boyfriend willingly, especially after her brother David, a member of the club and the sole “normal” member of the Spellmans blows her cover.

A reluctant Daniel is lured back via a full-court press of spy techniques, visits through his apartment window and unrelenting persistence.

The Spellmans kept me spellbound and laughing out loud. I loved the writing, the characters and the over-the-top cat and mouse game the Spellmans played more with each other than anyone under investigation.

At one point, Izzy smashes the headlight of the car her mother was driving. An aghast Daniel asked why. A broken headlight makes it easy to tell if her mother is tailing her, she explains as if it were an obvious way to shake a parent.

In terms of a mystery, don’t expect this first book in the series by Lisa Lutz to match Sherlock Holmes. In other respects, it’s one of the most refreshing and wonderfully entertaining reads I’ve come across in years.

–  FIVE STARS  – Reviewed by Dark Matters

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