Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Mini Review: Curse of the Spellmans

Today's mini review is also an entry in this week's Watercooler Wednesday. The subject is Lisa Lutz's new book, Curse of the Spellmans. (As always, the link takes you to a full review.)

It's been two years since the first book in the series, and life in the Spellman family is about to get wacky again. Okay, wackier. Everyone seems to have secrets. Father Albert is sneaking out of the house and coming back with wet hair. Mom Olivia is also sneaking out of the house for some property descruction. Oldest son David is mobing around his house. Youngest daughter (by 15 years) Rae is trying to make up for almost accidentally killing her best friend Inspector Henry Stone. And Izzy, our 30 year old main character) is hot on the trail of the copycat vandals ruining neighbor Mrs. Chandler's holiday displays. These vandals are copying the crimes that Izzy did when she was a teenage (not that she has any idea what you are talking about).

But it's their neighbor that really has Izzy's attention. He claims to be "John Brown," but since he won't divulge his background, Izzy is suspicious. And her investigation leads to her getting arrest 4 times (or twice, depending on who you ask) in a couple months. What's really going on?

This is such a hard book to describe. There are so many subplots. And you just can't truly capture the wackiness. But it is so much fun. I laughed multiple times over the course of the book. The characters are wonderful and seem real even if they are exagerated.

The book is classified as a mystery, but the mystery takes a back seat to the family dynamics. I'd call if more of a disfunctional family comedy.

And you really should read the first in the series first. While this book explains what you missed in The Spellman Files, it spoils most of that book in the process. I couldn't imagine it any other way, so it's not a complaint. Just a warning.


Anonymous said...

I've chatted with reading buddies about "Curse of the Spellmans". They all have said "Book II is better!" I rated both a 5/5, but liked the first book better.

Mark said...

I think I liked the second one better, but we're nitpicking here. I really enjoyed both of them.

Jim said...

My immediate reaction was the second was better, but the bigger point is they are both great and similar in how good they are.

Mark said...

I'll agree with that 100%, Jim.