Lisa Lutz, author of The Spellman Files
, is back with another story of the shenanigans of the Spellman family: The Curse of the Spellmans
. The "parental unit" started a private investigation business when Dad retired from police work. His wife assists him and their two daughters, Isabel, (Izzy) a 30-year-old with a habit of being arrested, and Rae, a 15-year-old Cheetos-loving teen, would like to think that they help out in the family business. Especially where Izzy is concerned, this is a stretch. Brother David is a successful attorney who has nothing to do with the family enterprise. He has troubles of his own.
Izzy has been living in the apartment of a friend while he is away. When he returns unexpectedly, it quickly becomes clear that being roommates with an old, cigar-smoking, poker-playing, big drinker isn't going to work. Izzy moves home temporarily and then the fun begins. She decides that their new next door neighbor, John Brown, whose landscape gardening business she judges to be a cover, is somehow making women disappear. She gets herself invited to dinner, discovers a locked room, believes his name is phony, follows him everywhere, has a restraining order against her, and still she can't let it go.
Meanwhile, Rae has befriended a great guy, a cop named Henry Stone, who is almost too good to be true. The reader starts pulling for him and Izzy to get together right away, even though he doesn't deserve the aggravation. Lutz keeps the ball rolling faster and faster with David's problems, her parents' frequent vacations, which they refer to as "disappearances," and the fact that everyone in the family has secrets from one another. If there is any curse at work here, it is that all the family members are terminally nosy. What they discover about each other and the other players keeps you turning pages and hoping that Lutz is hard at work on the next installment of this zany family's misadventures. --Valerie Ryan
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In the two years that have passed since the action in Lutz's hit debut, The Spellman Files
(2007), zany Isabel Spellman, who works for the family PI firm in San Francisco, has become a somewhat responsible member of society. Unfortunately, she's also become obsessed with Subject (aka John Brown), a next-door neighbor who she's convinced has an evil secret she must expose, even if it means losing her PI license. Adding further hilarity is The Stone and Spellman Show, transcripts of recordings revealing 15-year-old sister Rae's fascination with her middle-aged best friend, stoic SFPD inspector Henry Stone, who endures Rae's adoration with liberal doses of Doctor Who
watching. Henry's link to the Spellman family's fortunes suggests he might be a good candidate for Isabel's Ex-boyfriend #11 when Subject fails to make the grade. Fans of The Spellman Files
will laugh just as loudly at the comic antics chronicled in this sparkling sequel. (Mar.)
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