The Spellmans Strike Again
Isabel Spellman's family can't keep out of each other's business. Albert and Olivia, her parents, and Izzy are private investigators. Rae, her younger sister, is still in high school, and nominally helps in the family business. David, her older brother, left the family business. He is a lawyer who is out of work and looking for a new path in his life.
Olivia probably is the biggest snoop and force in the family. Izzy is dating an Irish barkeep whom Olivia doesn't like. She uses blackmail to make Izzy date other men, professional men, preferably lawyers. Izzy keeps her end of the bargain, but then purposely sabotages the dates.
Henry Stone is a police detective in his forties who happens to be Rae's best friend. He had dated a woman that Rae felt wasn't right for him. Now Maggie is dating David. They seem quite serious. But something is going on. Olivia has spotted another woman leaving David's. She asks Izzy to investigate. Maggie, a lawyer, needs some help in the office as well. Rae helps her pick out a pro bono case of a man wrongfully jailed for murder. Rae takes her obsessive self into a campaign to Free Schimidt!
Meanwhile Izzy is determined to bring down their main rival, Harkey's Investigation. She knows the man uses illegal practices, but her own proof was also obtained illegally. Now she wants some legal proof. She spends a good portion of her free time trying to find other activities that could get the man's business shut down.
Then there are the Lost Wednesdays. Olivia and Albert kick the family out of the house for 24 hours each week. Doorknobs, light fixtures, and other household hardware start disappearing. When Izzy isn't spying on David for Olivia or on Harkey she is spying on her parents to figure out what is going on with them.
Let's not forget Izzy's personal life. She and Connor (the bartender) work opposing schedules. She is blackmailed into dating men she doesn't like. She still isn't sure she has gotten past the feelings she used to have for Henry. Her close elderly friend Morty is in Florida. They speak by phone weekly. She is sure something is wrong with Morty, but can't find out what is going on.
This is as brief an explanation as I can give of this final, funny book in the Spellman family series. Lisa Lutz a few experiences from her own life and turned them into a sneaky, humorous family. Izzy tells the stories in first person narrative and in lists or episodes. She doesn't hide her own past. David had been the perfect child growing up. She had been the royal screw up. Henry tells her she still isn't grown up despite her age. She figures he's right. Rae is somewhere between David and Izzy - smart but prone to rebellion and stubbornness.
Lutz's humor has not dimmed in the final book of the Spellman's lives. It's witty, fast paced, and unbelievable yet believable all rolled together. The Spellmans Strike Again pulls together the family nicely. Lutz could add another if she wants, but has stated in the past that four books should complete the saga. If you haven't read any of these books, you really should go back and start with The Spellman Files. You're in for a wonderful trip.
These reviews are personal opinions only and in no way reflect other readers' opinions of the books discussed.
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