Synopses & Reviews
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.
Part Nancy Drew, part Dirty Harry, Izzy walks an indistinguishable line between Spellman family member and Spellman employee. Duties include: completing assignments from the bosses, aka Mom and Dad (preferably without scrutiny); appeasing her chronically perfect lawyer brother (often under duress); setting an example for her fourteen-year-old sister, Rae (who's become addicted to "recreational surveillance"); and tracking down her uncle (who randomly disappears on benders dubbed "Lost Weekends"). But when Izzy's parents hire Rae to follow her (for the purpose of ascertaining the identity of Izzy's new boyfriend), Izzy snaps and decides that the only way she will ever be normal is if she gets out of the family business. But there's a hitch: she must take one last job before they'll let her go a fifteen-year-old, ice-cold missing person case. She accepts, only to experience a disappearance far closer to home, which becomes the most important case of her life.
The Spellman Files is the first novel in a winning and hilarious new series featuring the Spellman family in all its lovable chaos.
"Cracking the case can get complicated and outrageously wacky when a family of detectives is involved, but Lutz has a blast doing it in her delicious debut. Isabel 'Izzy' Spellman, a San Francisco PI who began working for Spellman Investigations at age 12, could easily pass as Buffy or Veronica Mars's wiser but funnier older sister. Izzy digs TV, too, especially 'Get Smart' (an ex-boyfriend's ownership of the complete bootlegged DVD set is his major selling point). Now 28, Izzy thinks she wants out, but elects to take on a cold case while dealing with 14-year-old sister Rae, a nightmarish Nancy Drew, and parents who have no qualms about bugging their children's bedrooms. At times the dialogue-heavy text reads like a script and the action flags, but these are quibbles. When Rae suddenly disappears, Izzy and her family must learn some serious lessons in order to find her. Can the family that snoops together stay together? Stay tuned as a dynamic new series unfolds." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"A spirited, funny debut...a rush of humor and chaos...casual, swift, and hip....A fresh story that works real issues through an offbeat premise." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"Fast-paced, irreverent, and very funny, The Spellman Files is like Harriet the Spy for grown-ups." Curtis Sittenfeld, author of The Man of My Dreams and Prep
"Hilarious. My enjoyment of The Spellman Files was only slightly undercut by my irritation that I hadn't written it myself. The funniest book I've read in years!" Lauren Weisberger, author of The Devil Wears Prada and Everyone Worth Knowing
"The Spellman Files is hilarious, outrageous, and hip. Izzy Spellman, P.I., is a total original, with a voice so fresh and real, you want more, more, more. At long last, we know what Nancy Drew would have been like had she come from a family of lovable crackpots. Lisa Lutz has created a delicious comedy with skill and truth. I loved it." Adriana Trigiani, author of Lucia, Lucia and Big Stone Gap
"Izzy Spellman is definitely an appealing heroine; all this series needs to become a smashing success is a more generous dose of story and suspense." Booklist
"It's hard to believe that this extraordinarily clever book is a debut novel." Library Journal
Izzy Spellman, a twenty-eight-year-old amalgamation of Nancy Drew and Bridget Jones, launches her career as a private investigator while working for the firm of her outlandishly dysfunctional family. A first novel. 150,000 first printing.
Meet Izzy Spellman, a 28-year-old private eye working for her familys investigative business--a family that puts the fun in dysfunctional--in this irresistible, laugh-out-loud debut novel. Simon & Schuster
About the Author
Lisa Lutz attended UC Santa Cruz, UC Irvine, the University of Leeds in England and San Francisco State University, although she still does not have a bachelor's degree. Lisa spent most of the 1990s hopping through a string of low-paying odd jobs while writing and rewriting the screenplay Plan B, a mob comedy. After the film was made in 2000, she vowed she would never write another screenplay. Though she's not on the lam, Lisa has not had a permanent residence in over two years. She's calling Seattle home, for now.
Reading Group Guide
An Introduction to The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz