Book Review: Trail of the Spellmans (Document #5) by Lisa Lutz

spellmanI have been such a huge fan of Lutz and the Spellman Files series for years now (you can read my reviews of some of her previous books here) and I have to say, five books in and she has yet to disappoint me!

For those uneducated in all things Spellman, Trail of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz is 5th in a series about a wacky, dysfunctional family of private investigators and what it’s like to grow up in a family with no concept of privacy or boundaries. Expect a few mysteries and intrigues, a couple of highly complicated love stories, some seriously funny footnotes and family dinner scenes that will make your own family seem quite normal by comparison! Terrifically funny but also clever and insightful. These books truly have it all.

FOR THE FIRST TIME in Spellman history, Isabel Spellman, PI, might be the most normal member of her family. Mom has taken on an outrageous assortment of extracurricular activities—with no apparent motive. Dad has a secret. Izzy’s brother and sister are at war—for no apparent reason. And her niece keeps saying “banana” even though she hates bananas. That’s not to say that Izzy isn’t without her own troubles. Her boyfriend, Henry Stone, keeps wanting “to talk,” a prospect Isabel evades by going out with her new drinking buddy, none other than Gertrude Stone, Henry’s mother.

Things aren’t any simpler on the business side of Spellman Investigations. First, Rae is hired to follow a girl, only to fake the surveillance reports. Then a math professor hires Izzy to watch his immaculate apartment while he unravels like a bad formula. And as the questions pile up, Izzy won’t stop hunting for the answers—even when they threaten to shatter both the business and the family.

Document #5 was just as terrific as the previous four. This book centers around the various secrets that each family member is keeping from one another and involves a lot of crossed paths and crooked agendas and unlikely pairings. Although there is that little bit towards the end that I’m a little disappointed about (if you’ve read the book, you know exactly what I’m talking about but I won’t spoil it for the rest of you)! I am anxiously crossing my fingers for good (or at least better) things to come where that *being vague so as not to spoil* situation is concerned in the next novel which is due out in July according to the powers that be at Amazon.com.

Major Spellman fans will also want to keep an eye out for How to Negotiate Everything : a picture book by Lutz due out in May 2013 that will make more sense to you after you’ve read Trail of the Spellmans. Parents should purchase with caution!