Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Spellmans Strike Again

by Lisa Lutz

Thumbs Up.

I think the Spellman books by Lisa Lutz, would probably fall under the chic lit genre, but with a crossover into noir fiction. Whatever one would call them, I love them. The Spellmans Strike Again is the fourth in the series.

The main gist of the Spellman books is that the Spellmans are PIs. Yes, the entire family. The parents raised the kids within this family run business. But they are all so ensconced in subterfuge that as the kids grow up, none of them can stop treating each other as if their family is one big case to be investigated and solved.

As in the first books of the series, the protagonist, Isabel Spellman tells her story by way of log entries, lists, transcripts of recorded conversations, and other sundry writings. The entire collection is lighthearted and witty, as Isabel tries to figure out her bizarre life. I especially got a kick out of Isabel's descriptions of the mandatory-Sunday-night-family-dinners being titled after cheesy horror flicks.

Each book has a mystery to solve, usually either a case the family is working on or something tangential to a case. But there are multiple familial mysteries throughout, and all the wacky interpersonal issues that result from this strange kind of a home life.

Those readers already familiar with the Spellmans will notice a difference in tone in this book. All the known and loved characters seem to be figuring out their lives this time around. They are growing up and evolving. I sincerely hope all the tying up of lose ends Ms. Lutz did at the end of this book does not signal the end of the Spellmans. Although I found the characters' growth very satisfactory, I would be sad to have this be the end.

All in all a good, quick candy read.

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