Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Spellman Files: A Novel -- Lisa Lutz

I was alerted to this book by Steve Steinbock, who said it was a "laugh out loud treat," or something like that. It's about a family of private-eyes, narrated by the elder (mid-20s) daughter, Isabel, or Izzy. The younger daughter (age 14) is Rae. Then there's Uncle Ray, and Izzy's parents.

As you can see from the title, this isn't called a mystery or a thriller. It's "a novel." I think that's part of my problem with it. It couldn't quite seem to make up its mind about what it wanted to be. There's a mystery, but it doesn't even get mentioned until about halfway through the book. There's also a disappearance, which is mentioned early on, but it's not much of a mystery. So it's a novel.

It's about a family that has problems, and while most of the problems are Izzy's, certainly not all of them are. There's the war between Rae and Ray, for example. There's the perfect brother, David, and his secret. And more. As Steve said, it's very funny, and I like the way Lisa Lutz writes. I'd recommend it for those reasons, but don't come to it expecting anything like a mystery novel. There's a sequel, Curse of the Spellmans, coming in 2008. It might be interesting to see what it's about.

4 comments:

Gerard said...

I bought that book. It's checked out pretty well for us, 11 times in five months.

Bill Crider said...

It's apparently a worldwide biggie, sold in 20 languages, at least.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I had the same reaction. Well-written but too cute by half. Another media darling, I think. Or maybe eccentrics have lost their appeal for me.

Bill Crider said...

Thanks, Patti. I thought maybe it was just me. At least there are two of us.