The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz

Posted by on Sep 4, 2014 in 2014, 3.5 stars, Book Review, Lisa Lutz | 2 comments

The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz

The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz

Genre: Mystery, Humor
Series: #1 in the Izzy Spellman Mysteries series
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 358
Source: Library

The Short Version:
Izzy Spellman works for her family’s Private Investigation firm and it’s amazing that they have any time for outside jobs because they spend a lot of time investigating each other.

Why I Read It:
I laughed so much reading Heads You Lose which the author co-wrote with David Hayward that I just had to read more of her work. I had heard that this was a fun series.

The Book:
From the publisher

Meet Isabel “Izzy” Spellman, private investigator. This twenty-eight-year-old may have a checkered past littered with romantic mistakes, excessive drinking, and creative vandalism; she may be addicted to Get Smart reruns and prefer entering homes through windows rather than doors—but the upshot is she’s good at her job as a licensed private investigator with her family’s firm, Spellman Investigations. Invading people’s privacy comes naturally to Izzy. In fact, it comes naturally to all the Spellmans. If only they could leave their work at the office. To be a Spellman is to snoop on a Spellman; tail a Spellman; dig up dirt on, blackmail, and wiretap a Spellman.

My Thoughts:
Yes it’s a bit (no a lot) over the top but I was had so much fun reading it I didn’t care.

The Spellman’s are a unique family and that’s probably a good thing. Dad is an ex-cop. He and Mom started their PI business and the kids all grew up as both family members and employees. Then there’s Uncle Ray with his drinking and gambling problems and random disappearances. Izzy’s older brother is now an attorney but that doesn’t mean he’s completely away from the family business (and antics). Her teenage sister Rae isn’t old enough to really work much on the family’s jobs but that doesn’t keep her from honing her skills with some free range spying.

When Izzy decides she’s had enough of being followed and spied on by her own family she tells her parents she’s quitting. They make her take on one last cold case.

This was a lot of fun just for fun’s sake. A good portion of the book is spent establishing background and history but it finally gets going when Izzy’s younger sister Rae disappears.

Lutz’s style clearly shows her screenwriting background but that also works to give it some snappy and quick dialog and action. I’m looking forward to reading more of the Spellman family’s adventures. Now that the background has been established in this first book it should be a fun ride.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5

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Touring my TBR – Vacation Reading

Posted by on Feb 26, 2013 in Blogging/Reading, Edward Rutherfurd, Hilary Mantel, Jacqueline Winspear, Kate Atkinson, Lisa Lutz, Robert Crais, TBR Tour | 3 comments

Touring my TBR Spreadsheet and Shelves

This month I’m talking about vacation books and reading.

I always say that my requirements for vacation are books and someplace where I can watch water in motion (preferably ocean, but a river will do).

I have tried a couple of times to take just one huge book on vacation and just focus on that single book but that just doesn’t work for me. I think vacation brings on my short attention span. I need to be able to read, watch the ocean, read, watch people, read something else for a bit, watch the ocean . . . repeat as needed.

When I go on vacation I take way more books than I can possibly read. I fear being somewhere without access to a bookstore or library and not having several books to choose from.

I have to say that my nook has helped a lot to ease that fear. It’s also helped with reducing the weight of my suitcase. I still take a pile of books with me when we’re driving to our vacation destination but when I fly I now manage to limit it to 2 or 3. I have to have a paper book with me on the plane because that whole having to turn off my nook during take off and landing makes me twitch with the need to have something to read at that very moment.

I like to have a variety of books and genres available to choose from when on vacation. I’ve learned over the years that I should stick with fiction for vacation reading. When I read non-fiction I need to have my computer readily available because I seem to constantly want to look up more information. These are a few of the books that I have on my vacation reading menu this week either in paper or electronic versions.. I won’t read all of them but these are high on my priority list and fit the types of books I tend to choose for vacation.

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel: I love a big fat historical saga for airplane and beach reading. I’ve heard so many good things about this one and I’d like to at least start this one while I have a good chunk of time to devote to it.
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson Life After Life by Kate Atkinson: This is her newest one and it’s getting a ton of positive buzz
Leaving Everything Most Loved by Jacqueline Winspear Leaving Everything Most Loved by Jacqueline Winspear: It’s been nearly a year since I read the last Maisie Dobbs book and this newest one is definitely high on my priority list.
Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd I’ll also have my current long term re-read of Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd with me and this one will definitely be in the mix.
The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz: I’ve been meaning to read this one for ages and I think it’ll be a nice change of pace from some other books I’ll have.
Voodoo River by Robert Crais Voodoo River by Robert Crais: I am way behind in reading the Elvis Cole and Joe Pike books. It’s time to get back to them.

These are just some of the titles I’ve got on my vacation possibilities list. I may read them or I may go with something completely different. That’s why I like my nook for traveling besides it allows me to have plenty of books to choose from without sacrificing valuable shoe space in the suitcase.

How do you approach vacation reading? Do you need a variety of books to choose from or do you focus on one or two?

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Heads You Lose by Lisa Lutz and David Hayward

Posted by on Apr 12, 2011 in 2011, 4.5 stars, Book Review, Lisa Lutz | 6 comments

Heads You Lose by Lisa Lutz and David Hayward

Genre: Mystery/Humor
Publisher: G.B Putnam’s Sons
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 301
Source: Copy Provided by Publisher

The Short Version:
A hilariously unique combination of mystery story and story of how the two authors collaborated to write it.

Why I Read It:
When I first heard about the book it sounded very different and quirky but at the same time something that might appeal to my sometimes dark sense of humor.

The Book
Paul and Lacey Hansen have been on their own since their parents tragically died. They’ve managed to stay in their family’s home but make their living with an illegal marijuana growing operation in the basement. So when a headless corpse shows up in their front yard, they’re not exactly eager to call the cops. Who’s dead, how and why ends up being a wildly and entertainingly meandering and darkly funny tale.

In addition to the story of Lacey, Paul, the corpse and all the crazy people in their rural northern California town, this book is also about how the book was written.

Liza Lutz and her former boyfriend David Hayward agreed to co-author this book in an interesting way. They agreed to a few rules:

  • They would alternate chapters with Lutz writing the odd chapters and Hayward the even chapters.
  • They would not plan out the plot ahead of time, each author would move on from whatever happened in the previous chapter.
  • They could not undo plot or action from the other person’s chapters.

The result is hilarious and a mystery in itself as to whether the co-authors will even be speaking to each other before the book is finished.

My Thoughts:
When I was telling The Hubster about this book he commented that ‘it sounds like part fiction, part non-fiction and part improv show’. He is absolutely correct.

The mystery written by Lutz and Hayward is a bit of a madcap story that twists and turns around a town full of quirky interconnected secondary characters. The added element of the authors themselves and their writing process interjected into the story is what makes it so unique and funny. In most of the chapters are footnotes to that chapter’s author made by the other as they read it. At the end of each chapter are their notes to each other and an ongoing story in itself. The comments on the other person’s writing, plotting, characters and ongoing conversation about their history together start out humorous and fun, but soon become a bit darker as they engage in a bit of revenge plotting when turns in the story introduced by one are taken in unexpected directions by the other.

I giggled my way through this and have been telling everyone I know who likes their humor a bit on the quirky and dark side to read it. The Hubster is reading it now and I’m enjoying hearing the giggles coming from his recliner.

If you’re looking for something a little different and a lot of fun, get this book.

Rating 4.5/5

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