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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.

Critic Reviews

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    63
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    7
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    8

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    27
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    32
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    13
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    4
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    2

Story

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Marsha
  • Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
  • 01-30-08

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

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Brooke
  • Dearborn, MI, USA
  • 06-23-08

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Michele
  • Santa Clarita, CA, United States
  • 04-06-10

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

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

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

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Easy, fun entertainment!

Listened to this book and loved the voice, timing and inflection of Ari Graynor. Next I tried the CD version from the library of the third and fourth books - don't like that reader, couldn't even listen to them! I am definitely going to buy the second book from Audible -
Hoping the last two books will become available from Audible and will be read by Graynor.
Stories are very amusing, nice light read. Family dynamics are great.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Incredible series

This is the first of an incredibly hilarious series. Izzie Spelman is a hero for the ages. An excellent read for a 5 hour car trip.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

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.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

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!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

The Spellman Files :) a great novel.

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