Curse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Why has Izzy Spellman been arrested four times in one month? Why is her mother leaving the house at all hours of the night to vandalize a stranger's motor bike? What is her father up to? Who is the mysterious neighbor John Brown? And who is recreating the string of vandalism Izzy is alleged to have perpetrated during her youth? All these questions and more will be answered in Curse of the Spellmans!
When you enjoy the hell out of the first book in a series, the second book is a risky proposition, like bungee jumping, hitchhiking, or eating at White Castle with a gallon of beer already sloshing around in your innards. Fortunately, my apprehension was unfounded. Curse of the Spellmans is a worth second book.
Much like the last book, Curse of the Spellmans is a hilarious tale of a dysfunctional family and the gross invasions of privacy they perpetrate on one another in the name of love. There's also a number of mysteries but the Spellmans and their supporting cast drive the tale.
Told in a manner similar to the first book, Curse of the Spellman's isn't a linear tale. It starts near the middle, backtracks to the beginning, and then eventually makes it to the end.
Detective Henry Stone is a prominent part of the cast since Rae latched on to him in the first book. He's also my third favorite character, right after Izzy and Rae. I already had a high opinion of him but the Doctor Who marathon clinched it, even though he prefers the ninth Doctor to the tenth.
Izzy, despite her legion of flaws, is quickly winning me over. Raised in a family of investigators, she doesn't really know how to do anything else and conducts her personal life like one of her P.I. assignments.
I think Lisa Lutz's greatness comes from being able to juggle funny moments with more serious ones and still make the book work without it becoming ridiculous. A good humorous mystery is hard to come by, in my opinion, but Lutz has consistently delivered the goods so far.
I really have no gripes about this book. There's the minor quibble about there being less of a sense of discovery but it's the second book in the series. Unless the Spellmans were going to adopt a cute kid to bring new life into the series, there wasn't a lot more to unveil.
Four out of five stars. I'll be reading the rest of this series at some point.
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