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My musings on a book I just read...

The Spellman Files - Lisa Lutz
I read so few books with a female perspective that I have been looking forward to reading Lisa Lutz's first book for a good long while. I had initially stayed away from the book because my feeling was THE SPELLMAN FILES was 'Chick-Lit' dressed as a crime novel. I don't want to negatively label any book, but the fact is I am guy, so 'Chick-Lit' holds little interest for me.

The other attraction for me was the implication that THE SPELLMAN FILES was going to be funny. And the book is funny, full of snarky asides that pleased this reader's occasionally juvenile sense of humor. As for my original concern that the female perspective was going to be.... a little too female, I can write that I am giving the book a pass. Probably a bit too much emphasis on male-female relationship issues. Boyfriends are referred to as Ex-Boyfriend #1, #6, etc., never by their real name. This falls a little to flat for me. It is neither funny or reveals anything about Isabel Spellman, our hero. They serve only as a punchline to a joke and not the overarching narrative.

THE SPELLMAN FILES is not a singular tale of one crime. The story presents many small narratives about Isabel growing up while living and working with a family of private investigates. About two-thirds of the book presents us with funny sketches of life within the Spellman Clan before settling down to focus on a cold case about a missing boy. This 'mystery' is never given the time to develop into a fully realized story, and one wonders what was so difficult about solving this case the first time around. Still the book was a lot of fun to read. One that will propel me into reading the Edgar nominated follow up CURSE OF THE SPELLMANS soon.

Just as a quick aside to Ms. Lutz's book. I was reminded frequently of the great Sparkle Hayter, and how much I enjoyed her books. I think REVENGE OF THE COOTIE GIRLS is pretty high on Mount Awesome in regards to comedic crime fiction... male or female.

Comments

Kerrie said…
You are not on your own. It was to chick-lit for me too http://paradise-mysteries.blogspot.com/2008/03/spellman-files-lisa-lutz.html

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