“The Spellman Files” – Where is the Moral Line?

Book Review : The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz

Spoiler Alert!

Izzy Spellman is a private detective working in the family business. In fact, Izzy has been working for the family since she was twelve, and now she is twenty-eight. The problem is that everyone is too involved. David is a lawyer, and perfect in every way. Uncle Ray is defined by his lucky shirt, but has nothing else on his side. Rae is just a kid, but she’s in the family business too, hired to track Izzy. There is black mail, spying, car chases, disguises and all manner of sleuthing going on to find out who Izzy is dating. As her life spirals out of control Izzy decides she has to quit the business, but her parents won’t let until she takes on one last case. A case that couldn’t be solved years ago, and the family doesn’t even seem to want answers anymore. The breaking point comes when suddenly someone Izzy cares about mysteriously disappears.

Adult Point of View

I instantly thought I would like The Spellman Files when in the opening scene Izzy is in a mad race being tailed by someone who she knows will follow her every move, and finally she ends the chase by demanding that her parents have to stop following her. I became quickly disappointed when Izzy describes growing up in the Spellman home, with her running around getting high, drunk and sleeping around. To make matters even worse Izzy’s language is atrocious. I nearly closed the book, but decided I would read a bit further to see if it got better after Izzy grew out of her teenage years. It did improve some, however, she still reverted back to her immature ways and coarse language occasionally.

As an example of the crude nature of Izzy; when she discovers that her uncle has died in a hotel room she tells her kid sister that he is having sex (implied with a hooker from previous situations) as a diversion to telling the truth that he is, in fact, dead. Are your kidding me? There is no moral line of what is appropriate and what isn’t in the guise of trying to be funny.

There were moments when the story was fun and laughable, but I have to give this one a thumbs down because of the crass diversions within the plot. (If it was cleaned up it could be read by kids in Jr. High and I would have given it 3 stars for being fun.) The Spellman Files is an easy book to skip and find something more worthwhile.

1 out of 5 stars

– Michelle

About Tales Untangled

I am a mother of four children and have a passion for reading. I love sharing my treasury of books with my kids. I also do experiments in cooking which includes such things as Indian Tandoori Chicken slow-cooked in a tagine. I write stories and illustrate in ink.
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3 Responses to “The Spellman Files” – Where is the Moral Line?

  1. Brittany says:

    How sad, I really liked this book. In no way did I ever think it was appropriate for kids/YA – It was definitely an adult book. It is very off the wall and a bit crass, but for me it wasn’t overboard and the goofiness of the family of PIs won me over. Sorry you didn’t enjoy it!!!

    • I think I have a low threshold for vulgarity in books since having children. Kids certainly have had a profound effect in how I view the world and how I want to live my life. I did like the goofiness of the Spellman’s the rest just took away my enjoyment.

      • Brittany says:

        I totally understand! I actually just finished a book that was extremely vulgar and it totally turned me off from the whole book. Just way too overboard. I can totally get what you mean!

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