The Revenge of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz is the third book in “The Spellman Books” mystery series.  Publisher: Simon & Schuster, March 2009

YOU THOUGHT YOUR LIFE WAS COMPLICATED

Private investigator Isabel Spellman is back on the case and back on the couch — in court-ordered therapy after getting a little too close to her previous subject.

As the book opens, Izzy is on hiatus from Spellman Inc. But when her boss, Milo, simultaneously cuts her bartending hours and introduces her to a “friend” looking for a private eye, Izzy reluctantly finds herself with a new client. She assures herself that the case — a suspicious husband who wants his wife tailed — will be short and sweet, and will involve nothing more than the most boring of PI rituals: surveillance. But with each passing hour, Izzy finds herself with more questions than hard evidence.

Meanwhile, Spellmania continues. Izzy’s brother, David, the family’s most upright member, has adopted an uncharacteristically unkempt appearance and attitude toward work, life, and Izzy. And their wayward youngest sister, Rae, a historic academic underachiever, aces the PSATs and subsequently offends her study partner and object of obsession, Detective Henry Stone, to the point of excommunication. The only unsurprising behavior comes from her parents, whose visits to Milo’s bar amount to thinly veiled surveillance and artful attempts (read: blackmail) at getting Izzy to return to the Spellman Inc. fold.

As the case of the wayward wife continues to vex her, Izzy’s personal life — and mental health — seem to be disintegrating. Facing a housing crisis, she can’t sleep, she can’t remember where she parked her car, and, despite her shrinks’ persistence, she can’t seem to break through in her appointments. She certainly can’t explain why she forgets dates with her lawyer’s grandson, or fails to interpret the come-ons issued in an Irish brogue by Milo’s new bartender. Nor can she explain exactly how she feels about Detective Henry Stone and his plans to move in with his new Assistant DA girlfriend…

Filled with the signature side-splitting Spellman antics, Revenge of the Spellmans is an ingenious, hilarious, and disarmingly tender installment in the Spellman series.

The Spellmans is a family-run private investigation firm and Isabel “Izzy” has left the coop and they want to return to the family business.  Meanwhile, Izzy is under a court order to begin therapy sessions.  Her life is in rambles: she’s working part-time at Milo’s bar; she’s not getting enough sleep; her friends are moving away; her friends are leading different lives; her sister Rae is annoying as usual; there’s something strange going on with her brother David; she’s secretly living in her brother’s basement apartment without his knowledge; her father Albert wants to do lunch; she’s in love with Henry; she’s being blackmailed; someone keeps moving her car; she’s onto her second court-appointed therapy session and her parents are threatening to sell the family business if she does not come back to them and she only has one month to decide. In other words, everyone is moving forward with their lives, while Izzy stands still.  Izzy takes on a case for a client and is discovering that there’s more to the case than a simple husband suspecting that his new wife is cheating on him.  How will this end?  This a  fun-filled book that has laughter, sadness and comedy. I really enjoyed this ride.  [5 stars – it was amazing]

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