#CBR4 Review 21: Trail of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz

6 Apr

This is document 5 in Lisa Lutz’s Spellman series, and it was wonderful. For those of you haven’t been introduced to the wonderfully dysfunctional family of private investigators, the Spellmans, I recommend starting with document 1, The Spellman Files. It’s not necessary, because the book contains an appendix reviewing all the major players, but it helps. Lutz introduces a few new characters in this book (an ex-con, Demetrius, their grandmother, Henry’s mom) and brings back some of our favorite old players (Bernie, Fred).

These books are just funny. Laugh out loud funny. There’s an appropriate level of romance, with Isabel’s on again/of again relationship with the (probable) love of her life, Henry the cop. There’s quirk, but not reaching New Girl levels of quirkiness. The family is goofy, the things they do to each other in a never ending series of revenge stunts are ludicrous, and there’s usually some kind of mystery tossed in for good measure.

This is another character driven mystery writer, and honestly, the intertwining mysteries take a pretty far backseat to the family. It’s like if the Royal Tennenbaums were middle classed private investigators living in the San Francisco area. The theme of this book seemed to be avoidance. Isabel, the narrator, threw herself wholesale into work and her family’s problems to avoid a major discussion with her boyfriend Henry. Isabel’s mother throws herself into ten new hobbies to avoid her own mother. Rae, the baby sister, is finally off at college, trying to avoid telling her parents she wants out of the family business. David, the older brother, throws himself into raising his child to avoid dealing with his family’s dysfunction. And yet, they cannot seem to get out of each other’s way, leading to a strange set of hilarious events.

Quick, easy, ridiculously fun read.

2 Responses to “#CBR4 Review 21: Trail of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz”


  1. HelloKatieO’s #CBR4 Review #21: Trail of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz « Cannonball Read IV - April 6, 2012

    […] More…! Share this:ShareTwitterFacebookEmailDiggStumbleUpon Posted by hellokatieo in 5 stars – a favorite and tagged CBR4, family, funny, hellokatieo, lisa lutz, mystery, quirky, the spellmans, trail of the spellmans […]

  2. 2013: #5 – Trail of the Spellmans (Lisa Lutz) - February 14, 2013

    […] “It’s like if the Royal Tennenbaums were middle classed private investigators living in the San Francisco area.” — Book It. […]

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