Sunday 18 September 2016

Book Discussion: The Spellman Files - Lisa Lutz

Happy September everyone! This week Carole and I are discussing, "The Spellman Files" by Lisa Lutz.
Author: Lisa Lutz
Title: The Spellman Files (The Spellmans #1)
Genre: Mystery and Comedy
Pages: 370 pages
First Published: January 1st 2007
Where I Got It: Borrowed from library

Isabel Spellman, the uncompromising—okay, obstinate—twenty-eight year-old San Francisco private eye in Lisa Lutz's riotous debut novel, THE SPELLMAN FILES has her share of problems. And those problems all happen to be named Spellman. Her parents, Albert and Olivia, co-owners of Spellman Investigations, think nothing of placing their daughter under 24-hour surveillance simply to find out if she has a new boyfriend. David, her perfect older brother, who escaped the family business by becoming a lawyer, is hypercritical of just about everything Isabel says, wears, or does. Fourteen-year-old sister Rae lives on sugared snacks, considers recreation surveillance her favorite hobby, and believes that life is one endless opportunity for intra-familial blackmail. And good-natured Uncle Ray, a former cop and health food nut, now embraces gambling and drinking; and when he's not in battle with his niece Rae over the whereabouts of his favorite shirt, must be rescued from "lost weekends."

Welcome to Izzy Spellman's off-kilter world. Equal parts Sam Spade and Bridget Jones, she's a damn good investigator—if only her dysfunctional family would back off and let her do her thing. Izzy's cynical—okay, wise—enough to realize that a primrose-covered cottage with a white picket fence is not in her future. That's okay with her. Ever the jaded P.I., she catalogs her ex-boyfriends with calculated brevity, reducing her romantic misjudgments to curt summaries of name, age, occupation, hobbies, duration, and last words. No sooner has she met a new man that she begins composing his exit profile.

Hired to trail a husband whose wife suspects he's gay, Isabel easily determines that nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed, Daniel Castillo, the object of her subject's misidentified affection, turns out to be a gorgeous—and straight—Guatemalan dentist whom Isabel quickly zeroes in on as the future "Ex-Boyfriend #9." Keeping her family and Daniel from discovering the truth about each other, though, proves harder than she would have guessed. While other parents might be happy to learn that their daughter is dating a professional man, Olivia Spellman has a pathological distrust of dentists. When Isabel discovers that her folks are not only having her followed, but have hired Rae to do it, her outrage pushes her to quit her job at the family agency—even though it's the only job she's ever had and the only thing she does well.

But just because Izzy says she is leaving the family fold doesn't mean that the family has any intention of loosening its hold on her. Besides, she's under contract. So, they make a deal—one last, ice cold case, from twelve years before when a Marin County teen went missing in the woods near Lake Tahoe.

Izzy throws herself into the case, thrilled at the prospect of getting away from Spellman Investigations for good. But then Rae, who has been expertly manipulating every member of the family with her ill-gotten knowledge of their individual secrets, disappears without a trace. Izzy, who loves the little creep in spite of everything, is propelled into the most vital missing person search of her career.

B: Truth be told we were supposed to read something else and went for this one instead, i n my opinion that never works out. Or what do you think?

C: Nope - I don’t think it ever has so far. Le sigh.
B: Lesson learned then, never ever change book.
C: We are truly in the minority with this one. I was going through Goodreads and EVERYONE gave this a 3+ only 2% of the reviews had 1 star. But I tried...I tried REALLY hard to like this. Normally books like these are fun, but it was a failure in my eyes. How about you??
B: I saw that, everyone was all, it’s funny, cute whatever. While I was all, what is this weird crap? It felt like it jumped from one thing to another, flashbacks here and there, which timeline are we on? Messy. And well, so not funny. Everyone were also idiots and I did not like anyone.
C: I felt the same. The beginning….OH MY GOODNESS. I had such a hard time getting through it. Yes, I love backstories as much as the next person. However, we went through her entire childhood. It took over 100 pages to get through to get to the actual story. By then I was not caring at all. The only character that was bearable was her brother, but he was the perfect character and I can’t handle perfect characters. Bllleeeehhhh
B: I was all, why is she talking to that person….why is these whatever things still here...omg still on this. And when we finally learned what was going on I had stopped caring. It took WAY too long to get there. I was done with these people. They are creepy stalkers all of them.
C: It was especially creepy how they made their kids work for them! They had them track, stalk, and monitor people. that safe???????? What type of parents do that?
C: Yes he did. Just strange….IDK why you want to have your PI office where your kids are. Do they not realize that if baddies find out where you live you are putting your lives and your kids’ lives on the line! Just...I couldn’t care about the family because they are messed up. Sure some parts were funny like the dad and mom interrogating her when she was a child. She was witty and I found that funny. But the rest? No.
B: How are these kids alive? Bad parenting all around. The dad had the cops in his pocket.
B: I could not even find her witty. The book was just sad and skimworthy, nothing else. A huge huge disappointment. I promised you a fun ride with this book and it failed. Noooooooooo! I am the worst picker of books.
C: Oh hush. You are not ;) You picked a few good ones! Getting bad ones makes us extra love the good ones we find! Trust me. ;) Like I have been itching to re-read “The Snow Child” and “Me Before You”. Two awesome picks that I just randomly remembered. Hehehe

B: But yes - this was a super bummer. It truly had SUCH promise.That reminds we, we were supposed to read book 2 one day, me after you or whatever. But yes I do not really have much to say about this book. Just do not bother reading it. I skimmed a lot. It was not funny, people were idiots and I was disappointed. It did hold promise as you say, but for me it totally failed to deliver on that promise.

C: Yes, not funny, characters were annoyingly idiotic, and the beginning was the most long-drawn out thing EVER. It made Nathanial Hawthorne look speedy. Simply a bummer.
B: Lol, I think this is one of our shortest discussions ever. It was just so bad that we can't even rant.
C: There is not much to say. I couldn’t even enjoy the main part of the story, because I was so done after 100+ of backstory on this crappy family. LOL!
B: Ha. yes for me it would have been a dnf but I wanted to read so we could talk about it...well skim ahead ;)
C: Skim away m’am!!!!! My turn to pick the next book I suppose ;)
B: By all that is holy, make a better pick than I did.
C: *kneels* I shall try milady! Hehe B: The end?
C: Then end of a bad tale.


  1. that's sad I love this series so much

  2. Oh.... I was about to be polite but then I read the discussion!! I tried this a few years back on recommendation and.... hated it! Well hate too much but just didn't jell with it at all. I see I have company!

    1. LOL.
      But you are honestly the first one of bloggers I know, everyone else seems to have loved it

  3. I haven't read this author. I don't want to either. I have finally learned to just quit reading when I get to the point that I am skimming.

    1. I would totally have dnfed if it had not been for this. It is good to let go

  4. I haven't read this book, but it is on my wishlist. I usually like this type of book :)

  5. Oh that's too bad. The cover looks fun. Bleh :(

  6. I wouldn't feel too bad about picking "bad" books for each other, it makes the discussions all the more entertaining :P

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

  7. oh this sounds pretty disappointing!!! I am pretty sure this is a book I wouldn't like very much either.

  8. Hate to say that I judged a book by it's cover a glance, your review seemed right in line with what I'd expect. Oh well. Not normally my cup of tea anyway.

    1. I actually thought the cover was funny and promised something light. It was so not

  9. sounds great hope i can find it here

  10. I felt this way about The Hating Game. I just did not get what everyone thought was so funny. lol

    You'll find a good one to discuss! I have faith!

    Karen @For What It's Worth

    1. That one was cute, but not hilarious haha. And this one was not even cute, and not a single haha

  11. I haven't read it but yours is the first less than glowing post I've read about it. Thank you!

  12. Haven't read that author, probably won't pick up that series though :/ Hope yalls next buddy read is better for yall!

  13. Haha, oh no! Sorry to hear you two didn't like it. I thought it was absolutely hilarious when I read it, but that was almost 6 years ago who knows!



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