The Spellman’s Strike Again (Spellman Files 4)
- Lisa Lutz
Publisher: UK – Pocket Books
At the ripe old age of thirty-two, former wild child Isabel "Izzy" Spellman has finally agreed to take over the family business. And the transition won't be a smooth one. First among her priorities as head of Spellman Investigations is to dig up some dirt on the competition, slippery ex-cop Rick Harkey--a task she may enjoy a little too much. Next, faced with a baffling missing-persons case at the home of an aging millionaire, Izzy hires an actor friend, Len, to infiltrate the mansion as an undercover butler--a role he may enjoy a little much. Meanwhile, Izzy is being blackmailed by her mother (photographic evidence of Prom Night 1994) to commit to regular blind dates with promising professionals--an arrangement that doesn't thrill Connor, an Irish bartender on the brink of becoming Ex-boyfriend #12.
This is one book I’ve left on my TBR pile for too long! The Spellman’s are curious, more curious than any cat. This is a great trait in an investigator and as the Spellman’s all work as Private Investigators in San Francisco you’d be forgiven for thinking they were great at their job. And they are. Trouble is they bring it home with them (well, the office is on their home so it’s not a long commute!). However, the Spellman’s spend most of their time spying, blackmailing and investigating each other. They definitely put the fun into dysfunctional.
Izzy is the middle child, former tearaway teen and now trying to be respectable investigator after three previous books of mishaps, arrests and therapy. Izzy is a very likeable character – she likes good whiskey, junk food, Doctor Who and is trying to curb the amount of additional investigating she does. But she still has to deal with blackmailing parents, a determined but pushy younger sister, a perfect older brother – not mention the bartender Irish boyfriend and police detective friend. This book has several mysteries and investigations running through it – some are about daily family life, others are more serious and tackle police corruption, but it never feels like a heavy read.
The story is much more linear than the other Spellman books, but with just as many great lines and comedic moments. It made a great change to read something so light-hearted and sweet without feeling like I’d been dosed up on sugar! I would highly recommend this whole series if you want an entertaining and immersive look at a family that will make yours seem positively normal. One of the engaging books I’ve read in a while – and certainly different from other mysteries.
Recommended for fans of Janet Evanovich and Victoria Laurie. 8 out of 10