Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz

I suggested the first title in this series to my book group and by the time we met everyone had enjoyed it so much that they had read other books in the series. Our discussion was punctuated with no that happened in the third book and wait don't tell me, I haven't read that one yet. It was definitely one of our livelier discussions and an evening filled with laughter.

I don't think you will find many characters like Isabel "Izzy" Spellman. Being raised in a family of private eyes must make you very cautious. Would anyone else think of investigating their brother because he changed jobs? Maybe I can see the necessity of running a background check on soon- to-be ex-boyfriend number 22, but tailing him for two weeks before even introducing herself might be a little extreme. The rest of the family are just as cracked as she is. They see nothing wrong with tailing each other, blackmailing each other or breaking into or bugging each others residences.

What makes this mystery novel so entertaining is that it is written like a case file document, complete with footnotes . Sample footnotes " In case you were curious, rule #2: no deli meats in the car" or "I believe Henry was referring to a few of the individuals on my list of ex-boyfriends (see previous two documents for details if you are curious)."

If you like your mysteries fast paced, character driven and laugh out loud funny, this is your book. I recently read the fourth one and am eagerly awaiting the next one. You might also want to try Sarah Strohmeyer's Bubbles series, Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series or Joan Hess's Maggody series. For lovers of young adult novels, try Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls series.

The Spellman Files, the first title in the series, was an Alex Award winner for 2008. The Alex Awards are given by the American Library Association to given to ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults, ages 12 through 18. In an October article Variety magazine reported that ABC may soon be turning the books into a television series. Can't wait!

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