Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Spellmans Strike Again by Lisa Lutz, a Review

From San Jose Mercury News --

It's a Mystery: 'Strike Again' spells the last for Lutz's whacked-out family series --

By Roberta Alexander --
03/14/2010 --

Gripping characters stride across the landscape this month, making for good mystery reading.

"The Spellmans Strike Again" by Lisa Lutz (Simon & Schuster, $25, 388 pages). The Spellmans do not run your ordinary private investigation business. Members of this San Francisco family interfere endlessly with each other's lives.

This fourth and final book is funny, troubling and addictive. If you don't think about what life in such a family would be like, you can skip the "troubling" aspect.

There's Isabel, a 32-year-old recovering delinquent, her unemployed attorney brother David and her teenage sister Rae. Their mother's mission appears to be getting rid of Izzy's boyfriends.

The crux of this book is not the plot, which deals with improper convictions and a shady PI competitor, but this lunatic clan, with its mandatory Sunday dinners, its missing antique doorknobs and Rae's refusal to ride the bus.

There is no way to describe what happens here, but finding out is a lot of fun.

And kudos to Lutz for quitting while she's ahead. Plenty of fine series fizzle when they go on too long.

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