Review

Spellman Six: The Next Generation

by Lisa Lutz

In this episode of the Spellman story, Izzy soon finds herself with her parental unit in full rebellion to her authority, her primary client in the midst of a potentially disastrous scandal, and an FBI agent who is ready to charge her with embezzlement. And in addition to the extra work that ends up on her desk now that she is the CEO, she is afraid that she will never learn how to reconcile bank statements.

Isabelle Spellman, aka “Izzy,” is the thirty-something daughter of Olivia and Arthur Spellman. Until her recent hostile takeover of the family business, the three had worked together for more than 10 years, mostly in harmony. I say “mostly” because harmony is not a word generally associated with the Spellman family. Dare I say that they put the “fun” in dysfunctional?

"Lisa Lutz has a delightful knack for being able to combine humor and drama without letting one minimize the impact of the other.... If you like your mysteries served up with a generous helping of humor, both subtle and silly, then you are sure to enjoy Lutz's award-winning series."

THE LAST WORD is the sixth “document” in the Spellman saga, as recorded by Izzy from her very own uniquely skewed perspective. She has boundaries, but it would be boring if they were precisely defined. From her way of cataloging her former boyfriends, the latest being ex-boyfriend #13 to her antagonistic relationship with her two-year-old niece, Izzy is never boring. When she is not being self-deprecating, she is being deprecated by someone else. For example, when she asks her boss why a certain person hates her, he responds, “Because you're obnoxious.” Izzy is the quintessential anti-heroine, and reading the Spellman series is as much about hanging out with Izzy as it is about the investigations that she is working on.

Lisa Lutz has a delightful knack for being able to combine humor and drama without letting one minimize the impact of the other. When Izzy's younger sister, Rae, comes to her with a proposal that will help solve the myriad of problems that face Spellman Investigations, the conversation goes like this: “I have a proposition for you. Where can we discuss it?” “Wherever you can find a place to plant your ass.” “This needs to be a professional conversation.” “Then maybe you shouldn't have worn pants with anthropomorphized peanut butter sandwiches on them.”

In addition to her quirky family, the author includes several other unforgettable players who reprise their roles from time to time. While there is always enough information to bring the reader up to date regardless of which “document” is read first, it is fun to read the series in order just to watch the characters grow...at least older, if not more mature! If you like your mysteries served up with a generous helping of humor, both subtle and silly, then you are sure to enjoy Lutz's award-winning series.  

Just a word to those who are already devoted friends of the Spellmans: THE LAST WORD does not appear to mean the end of the series. However, the next document may be from Rae's perspective, which should be fun in an equal but different way!

Reviewed by Maggie Harding on August 9, 2013

Spellman Six: The Next Generation
by Lisa Lutz

  • Publication Date: March 18, 2014
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • ISBN-10: 1451686676
  • ISBN-13: 9781451686678