Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Beach Read: TRAIL OF THE SPELLMANS by Lisa Lutz

I have been a Spellman fan since about 2008, and was heartbroken when Lisa announced she was ending the series after #4.  But low and behold a search for a complete list of the tittles (so I could recommend them on to a friend) turned up an announcement of the impending installment #5.  Needless to say, I was at the B&N store bright and early on a cold Tuesday Morning in February.  This is one of the few series I continue to purchase at full price hardcover.  That should pretty much tell you all you need to know…

Book Title: Trail of the Spellmans (Spellman Files Series #5)
Author:  Lisa Lutz
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction (with a chick-lit flavor)
Setting: San Francisco      
Format:  Hardcover
Pages:  370
Publication date:  February, 2012
Publisher:  Simon & Shuster
Opening Line: For reasons that will forever remain a mystery, my sister scheduled the client meeting at the main branch of the san Francisco Public Library—specifically, the government section, which is low traffic, offering privacy for a new client intake. 
Favorite Passage:  It was late, so I knocked quietly instead of ringing the bell.  For the record, if you ring the doorbell in the middle of the night at a house containing small children, sometimes the children start crying and the parents turn on you in the meanest way.  There was no answer, so I decided to try the window by the laundry room; Maggie sometimes leaves it unlocked.  I circled the house, shoved it open, and snaked my way through, landing with a hard thud on the linoleum.  There’s nothing like a sloppy window entry to make you feel your age. 

Beach Read Rating: 5 out of 5 Beach Umbrellas

Review: I always tip my proverbial writer’s hat to any book that makes laugh.  I not only tip my hat to Lisa Lutz, but toss it like a mortarboard and tassel at commencement exercises. 

I was not disappointed in the continuing antics of the most dysfunctional family around.  There are no less than five story lines going on, but they are woven together expertly and this is one cohesive unit and not a bunch of mismatched vignettes.  Written in Isabel “Izzy” Spellman’s POV, her snarky comments and frustrations in dealing with whacky family members leaves one burbling with laughter at every turn of the page.  Some people are distracted by the frequent footnotes that offer additional explanations to the text, and I can see why because sometimes I’d get to the end of the page and see an annotation I had missed, so had to go back and find it and read it in context. This slowed me down a bit. But overall, Trail of the Spellmans was a very quickly, very enjoyable beach read. 

Flap Copy: 
FOR THE FIRST TIME in Spellman history, Isabel Spellman, PI, might be the most normal member of her family. Mom has taken on an outrageous assortment of extracurricular activities—with no apparent motive. Dad has a secret. Izzy’s brother and sister are at war—for no apparent reason. And her niece keeps saying “banana” even though she hates bananas.

That’s not to say that Izzy isn’t without her own troubles. Her boyfriend, Henry Stone, keeps wanting “to talk,” a prospect Isabel evades by going out with her new drinking buddy, none other than Gertrude Stone, Henry’s mother.
Things aren’t any simpler on the business side of Spellman Investigations. First, Rae is hired to follow a girl, only to fake the surveillance reports. Then a math professor hires Izzy to watch his immaculate apartment while he unravels like a bad formula. And as the questions pile up, Izzy won’t stop hunting for the answers—even when they threaten to shatter both the business and the family.

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