Re-Read: The Spellman Files (Lisa Lutz)

The Spellman Files is the first novel in the Spellman Series by Lisa Lutz.
Finished on: 31.12.2019
[Here’s my first review.]

After a rough youth, Izzy Spellman has found her perfect job, her calling: she’s a private investigator to her very core. The only drawback is that it’s the family business. Her parents are private investigators. Her little sister Rae is only fourteen but already training very hard to be one. Only her brother chose a different way to go: he became a lawyer – and a perfectly law-abiding one at that. But when Izzy’s parents set Rae to spy on Izzy (to find out the identity of her new boyfriend), Izzy has had it with the other Spellmans and she leaves the agency and her home. But when Rae goes missing, she can’t stay away anymore.

The Spellman Files were a pleasant surprise discovery for me and when I learned that it was actually the first novel in a series, it was an even better surprise. But it took me a while to get the other books in the series, so I decided to re-read the first one before getting around to the others. And even on the second go-through, it’s the perfect holiday read in the absolute best way.

The book cover showing a stylized detective with a  magnifying glass.

The Spellman Files has such a good energy about it that makes the book just fly by. And it’s spiced with just the right amount of weirdness to make it fun as it whizzes you along. Generally, it just has a great sense of humor.

Lutz has also an incredible way of writing about a very difficult family. She doesn’t make light of the problematic things that they do (to each other) but at the same time, they aren’t assholes either. All of them just aren’t the most balanced of people and they all make some very, very questionable decisions. It’s nice to get a screwed-up family who do some bad things, but not because they’re bad people and never in an abusive way.

And Izzy is such a catastrophe as a human being and she is allowed to grow and develop and learn. In the end, she becomes less of a catastrophe. That room for messiness is rarely afforded to female characters, especially when it’s combined with actual growth, so that’s also great.

Altogether, it’s entertaining and also emotional and it’s bound to make you laugh, giving me everything I could ask of it.

Summarizing: Fun times.

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