Trail of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz

The Spellmans, Book 5

Synopsis: 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.

Review: I love the Spellmans series and I waited with great anticipation to read this fifth book. Especially knowing that Izzy was finally in a relationship with Henry, which I wanted from the beginning of the series. But I must say that the book didn’t take the turn I expected. But not at all. It was a very good novel, but I was a little upset by the choices of some characters.

Izzy finds herself once again to investigate rather strange business. She has to follow a man for her wife, while her father is committed to follow this woman. Our young investigator immediately understands that there is something fishy in this story. But with a lack of money, her father refused for her to seek the truth or she would be fired outright. Alas, when she has something in mind, it’s difficult to stop her. But you can imagine that’s not all. She is also committed to monitor an apartment while the occupant is outside. Her visits are often unnecessary but it is easy money … well until some rather strange events happen. I confess that I did not see coming the reason behind all the owner’s problems. But it was still pretty funny!

I was pleasantly surprised to find D., the former prisoner that Isabel managed to release. He is hired as a full member in the Spellman family. And it must be said that he fully understood how the family functions and hides more secrets than they all might think. It was pretty funny to see him scheming in the back of the family without them realizing it. We also discover the Maggie and David’s baby, a young girl who has the nature of a real Spellman. Well Rae is always here to help too but again it was a great pleasure to understand our little darling and I’m curious to see what will become of her  while growing up. There is one person I did not expect to see and it is Gertrude Stone, Henry’s mother. She is the opposite of our policeman and she could be the best Izzy’s friend! They are a lot alike and get along as soon as they meet. Another thing that quite surprised me, the Rae’s behavior. I felt like she wanted a different future but I’m pretty amazed by her choice.

So now the things that annoy me … I love Henry and Izzy, they make a perfect couple and I was curious to finally see them together. The only problem? Isabel avoids Henry like the plague since he decides they need to speak together. And I must say that the decisions of our heroine completely disappointed me. I even tried to skip some chapters to see what would happen and then go back. But nothing was as I wanted it to be, and it’s true that once I finished it the only thing I has in mind was: « No, but this is not possible, why, why??? « . I do not understand the Izzy’s choice and I do not know why the author went in that direction, but I have hope and I’ll cross my fingers for the next volume. Another thing, it is true, that surprised me is the lack of scene between Henry and Rae while they had some very important moments in each of the other novels. But it may also be due to the fact that our younger sister grows and no longer has the same sense of priorities.

The plot is very interesting and we have some surprising revelations here. I loved the initiatives that our heroine took over her work. It was a very good book although I am really disappointed with some of her choices as I said. The problem is that it is this feeling that remains when we finish the book. I really hope everything will work out but I’m a little afraid to see where Lisa Lutz will lead us in the next novel. Especially since I feel that this will not be particularly where I would go.

4

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