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The Spellman Files: A Novel | [Lisa Lutz]

The Spellman Files: A Novel

Isabel Spellman's life consists of 24-hour surveillance, routine investigations into her acquaintances, and listening devices planted in her deadbolt-locked room. For a 28-year-old in a family composed almost entirely of private investigators or former cops, the tools of the trade turn typical family dysfunction into commonplace espionage.
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Publisher's Summary

Isabel Spellman's life consists of 24-hour surveillance, routine investigations into her acquaintances, and listening devices planted in her deadbolt-locked room. For a 28-year-old in a family composed almost entirely of private investigators or former cops, the tools of the trade turn typical family dysfunction into commonplace espionage.

Aptly described as Nancy Drew meets Dirty Harry, Isabel has always lived in the shadow of David, her "perfect" younger brother, a lawyer. Her younger sister, 14-year-old Rae, is addicted to "recreational surveillance" and anything with obscene amounts of sugar, and can be found, when the going gets tough, drowning her sorrows in a soda at Isabel's favorite bar. Rae's namesake, Uncle Ray, routinely disappears on benders the family dubs "Lost Weekends".

When their parents hire Rae to follow Isabel in order to ascertain the identity of a suspected new boyfriend, Isabel snaps and quits the business. That's easier said than done, though, with wiretapping and coercion part of the family dynamic. Her parents make her a deal: solve one last case, the Snow case, and her employment contract with Spellman Inc. will be declared null and void. The kicker: the Snow case is decades old, ice cold, and more twisted than a pretzel. Isabel throws herself headlong into what she thinks is the most crucial case of her life. And then her sister Rae disappears, and "crucial" takes on a whole new meaning.

The Spellman Files is a hilarious and at times suspenseful novel about a modern family with a highly unique way of loving, living, and making a living - often times in harmony.

©2007 Spellman Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved; (P)2007 Simon and Schuster Inc. All rights reserved.

What the Critics Say

"Fans of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series will enjoy this clever debut." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (146 )
5 star
 (50)
4 star
 (52)
3 star
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Overall
3.6 (54 )
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Story
3.9 (52 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Marsha Highlands Ranch, CO, USA 01-30-08
    Marsha Highlands Ranch, CO, USA 01-30-08 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
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    "the spellman files"

    laugh out loud humor. likeable characters. much more entertaining than sappy romance novels and not violent like some suspense/mystery.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brooke Dearborn, MI, USA 06-23-08
    Brooke Dearborn, MI, USA 06-23-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "A Funny READ"

    I thought the story was very clever and funny but I didn't like the narration. There was no distinction between any of the characters voices: man, woman or child.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michele Santa Clarita, CA, United States 04-06-10
    Michele Santa Clarita, CA, United States 04-06-10 Member Since 2009
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    "LOVED the Spellman books!"

    Extremely entertaining! Kooky characters, crazy family relationships and a mystery or two. The narrator's dead-pan delivery was perfectly suited to the tongue-in-cheek tone of the book. I ended up listening to the first 3 Spellman books in a row...couldn't get enough! If you like the Stephanie Plum novels, you're definitely going to love the Spellman family antics.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ingrid 07-09-12
    Ingrid 07-09-12

    NorthBayGal

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I liked it"
    Any additional comments?

    As noted by other reviewers, the narrator was a bit monotone - but as I continued listening I got used to it and it did seem to work out as another reviewer said - the voice does seem to fit however, I'm still wavering if I want to move on to another book or not. I felt like the story was fine and I can see (or at least presume) that the books and characters will get better, but this one definitely seemed like a first novel - but everyone does have to have a first.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lilian Santos Long Island City, NY United States 04-29-12
    Lilian Santos Long Island City, NY United States 04-29-12 Member Since 2005
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    "Thought I would love this series but ...,"

    From the description I really thought I would love this series but I was constantly waiting for the story to develop, thinking this was just an introduction to the characters but I never found it very funny nor engaging, sorry... I did listen to the whole book but I think it was wasted time. Not interested in reading the other books of the same series.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    TravisD Denver, CO 02-28-13
    TravisD Denver, CO 02-28-13 Member Since 2007

    Travis

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Mistake"

    This author and/or series might be better, but for heaven's sake, don't get the abridged. I don't know why they even bothered and I bought it by mistake.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mariann Pacific Grove, CA, United States 04-20-12
    Mariann Pacific Grove, CA, United States 04-20-12 Member Since 2006
    ratings
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    3
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    "The Spellman family is disturbed, yet endearing"
    Where does The Spellman Files rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I enjoyed the narrator, and found her voice fit the story well. She was one of the best narrators I've listened to. I loved the character of Izzy, and found her faults to be endearing even though she's more hard-boiled than most comic heroines I've met. I guess I just identify with her more than some of the goody-two-shoes girl-cops in other detective fiction.


    What other book might you compare The Spellman Files to and why?

    Interestingly, I found the review saying Izzy was the love-child of Dirty Harry and Harriet the Spy fairly accurate! I love Harriet the Spy, and she'd be about my age right now, which I find a very good recommendation in a heroine.


    What does Ari Graynor bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I love to read, but her voice fits in with my concept of what Izzy sounds like, and I like to hear "Izzy" telling me the story.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    If I could have, but it was enjoyable to have it to listen to for a while.


    Any additional comments?

    I loved the fact that it was a series and continued with the further adventures of the Spellmans!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Annabelle centreville, VA, United States 09-09-10
    Annabelle centreville, VA, United States 09-09-10 Member Since 2010
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
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    "The Spellman Files :) a great novel."

    i really enjoyed of hearing the narration of Ari Graynor.
    it's a nice and interesting book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    skd NEW YORK, NY, United States 05-01-07
    skd NEW YORK, NY, United States 05-01-07 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "a disappointment"

    writing -- really, really hack. a big disappointment because it sounded like an interesting premise.

    6 of 13 people found this review helpful
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