By Lisa Lutz
Yay, my final book for 2008! I seem to be closing the year with some worthwhile chick lit. This was actually consumed in between Books 1 and 2 of the Twilight saga, but in the interest of keeping the series together and saving the best for last, I hereby present Lisa Lutz's delightful sequel to The Spellman Files.
The past year I had the good fortune of experiencing many great books, but the Spellman books were undoubtedly my faves, only because they were simply the most fun to read. Olman can attest as he heard me chuckle out loud many times while we were reading in bed, which I don’t often do even when I’m reading something that’s supposed to be humorous!
In The Spellman Files, Isabel had to reassess how her lifestyle as a twenty-something was affecting her very impressionable adolescent sister Rae. Now at 31 years old, Isabel tries to impart some wisdom to now fifteen year old Rae as they walk to the corner store to get more snacks for their Dr Who marathon:
“The whole grown up thing is a myth. Whatever is wrong with you now will probably be wrong with you in twenty years.”
“There’s nothing wrong with me now,” Rae said.
“If people really grew up, there would be no crime, no divorce, no Civil War reenactors. Think about it. Was Uncle Ray a grown-up? Does Dad always behave like a grown-up? It’s all bullshit. I can’t tell you what Mom’s been doing lately, but I will say, not grown-up.”
For me it’s hard not to like a caper comedy featuring a street-smart screwball but still lovable heroine, and Lutz balances the hard-boiled and the farcical with finesse. The repeated arrests do get a little over-the-top, as Isabel can’t stop her obsessive-compulsive need to uncover the truth once she’s on the case. But there are little moments of vulnerability with Isabel and her relationship to her family that imbues the novel with some emotion and depth.
And her sparkling conversations with her octogenarian lawyer, Mort Schilling, and possible love interest and almost unflappable police detective, Henry Stone, are an absolute delight.