Curse of the Spellmans: Reviews

What Others Have Said About Curse of the Spellmans

"Lunacy and love. It's a dangerous combination, but in the smart-aleck hands of Lisa Lutz, a winning one. The author of last year's acclaimed "THE SPELLMAN FILES" returns with another wacky laugh-athon about a family of San Francisco private detectives. Two years have passed since their previous misadventures. Isabel, whose mouth would qualify for membership in Mensa International if smart mouths were eligible, narrates this romp among the relatives with all the hilarity of "THE SPELLMAN FILES." Lutz (one of the featured authors at last year's Junior League Book and Author Dinner in Richmond) misses no opportunity to let Isabel crack wise. Which is not to say "CURSE OF THE SPELLMANS" is all hilarity and no mystery. Puzzles abound, and Lutz paces her stories with precision and has the reader turning pages with reckless abandon (sort of like Izzy's investigative technique). All is revealed, of course, partly in a backhanded tribute to Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot, partly in a dizzying climax that could have been concocted by Alfred Hitchcock and Lucille Ball working together. With the humor of a'30s screwball comedy and the edginess of the 21st century, "CURSE OF THE SPELLMANS" will keep you guessing -- and chortling -- all the way. Lutz sends the concept of a sophomore slump crashing to the ground like a drunken leprechaun in this irreverent and ultimately touching story of a family bonded by love as well as by lunacy."

—Jay Strafford Richmond Times-Dispatch, Va. (March 16, 2008)


"In this sequel to Lutz's side-splittingly funny debut novel, THE SPELLMAN FILES, licensed P.I. Isabel "Izzy" Spellman has been arrested for the fourth time in two months, and no one from her oddball family of fellow investigators will bail her out. Her sister, Rae, has run over Izzy's "fianc�," Inspector Henry Stone, during a driving lesson. The senior Spellmans have staged a "disappearance," their term for a vacation where no one can reach them. To complicate Izzy's life further, a man with the suspiciously ordinary name of John Brown has moved next door, and she's absolutely positive he's up to no good. In other words, it's life as usual for the zany Spellmans, and who knows what will happen next. Once again, Lutz treats readers to a madcap roller-coaster ride. Fans of such hilarious sleuths as Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum, Meg Cabot's Heather Wells, and Sarah Strohmeyer's Bubbles Yablonsky will find that Izzy Spellman can make them laugh their socks off, too. Sure to be popular in fiction collections of all sizes."

—Shelley Mosley Library Journal Reviews (March 1, 2008)


"If sassy Jersey sleuth Stephanie Plum had a wacky cousin in San Francisco, it might be Izzy Spellman, the heroine of Lutz's witty series. In this second offering (after THE SPELLMAN FILES, 2007), Izzy, a reluctant member of the family's detective business, is having the usual troubles with her kin. Her father seems in the midst of another REAFO (retirement age "freak-out," not to be confused with MILFO, the mid-life version); her mother has been leaving the house in the wee hours to puncture some poor soul's motorcycle tires; and her teenage sister, Rae, just accidentally drove over Izzy's much older detective inspector pal, Henry. Then there's new neighbor John Brown, a handsome if somewhat shifty gardener who has Izzy experiencing equal parts suspicion and lust. Lutz's new novel reads like a series of humorous vignettes, with provocative titles like "My Almost Fake Drug Deal #2." While mystery purists may prefer a more fast-paced narrative, Lutz is an excellent choice for readers in the market for steady laughs and a smattering of suspense."

—Allison Block Booklist (February 1, 2008)


"In the two years that have passed since the action in Lutz's hit debut, THE SPELLMAN FILES (2007), zany Isabel Spellman, who works for the family PI firm in San Francisco, has become a somewhat responsible member of society. Unfortunately, she's also become obsessed with Subject (aka John Brown), a next-door neighbor who she's convinced has an evil secret she must expose, even if it means losing her PI license. Adding further hilarity is The Stone and Spellman Show, transcripts of recordings revealing 15-year-old sister Rae's fascination with her middle-aged best friend, stoic SFPD inspector Henry Stone, who endures Rae's adoration with liberal doses of Doctor Who watching. Henry's link to the Spellman family's fortunes suggests he might be a good candidate for Isabel's Ex-boyfriend #11 when Subject fails to make the grade. Fans of THE SPELLMAN FILES will laugh just as loudly at the comic antics chronicled in this sparkling sequel."

—Publisher's Weekly Starred review (January 10, 2008)


"Lutz keeps the ball rolling faster and faster with David's problems, her parents' frequent vacations, which they refer to as "disappearances," and the fact that everyone in the family has secrets from one another. If there is any curse at work here, it is that all the family members are terminally nosy. What they discover about each other and the other players keeps you turning pages and hoping that Lutz is hard at work on the next installment of this zany family's misadventures."

—Valerie Ryan