Mining the Depths

I'll read almost anything and love what captures my imagination. Best of all is responding to books in the larger cultural sense, loving or loathsome. Literature should have a place in the wider world.

 

And I'm another GoodReads refugee. 

The Spellman Files (The Spellmans #1) - Lisa Lutz A very solid three-star read.Isabel Spellman hasn't—by any conventional standards—made a success of her life. Like most people, she's been thoroughly tangled up in her family's issues; unlike most people, her family are (mostly) private investigators and have given Izzy plenty of extra skills she can use to get into trouble with her personal life. But she's still a good investigator on her own.Despite the quirky set-up, the Spellman's have convincing family interactions. The weight of their history colors every way they interact with each other, and none of them are quite able to react outside of those bonds. I see this is shelved often as 'humor', and I can see why: Izzy's quirky outlook and snark are engaging. There's really a lot of darkness in this novel though, more than I expected. Of course, the best humor does have that element, but for myself I can't quite label it humor, since that's not the most important part of the novel, though it's key to Izzy's character.It's almost tragic how enmeshed all the Spellman's are in each other's lives—even David who managed another profession, but still has ties to the family business. Izabel is herself trapped by Spellman investigations, and in some way, the novel is mostly about coming to terms with that. While there's reassurance in having guaranteed back up like that, it felt very claustrophobic. Finally, while reading, I thought the novel seemed disorganized, and there are at least three main plots and time-lines. However, overall I'd say it was more hyper-organized. Everything is interconnected, and so while I'd lose track of where exactly I was supposed to be, in the end, it'd turned out Lutz did it on purpose. Overall, I do admire the affect, which fits in well with how this mystery is less about the mystery than about the family, and how family's work, what they do to each other, and yet how those bonds are the strongest of all, good or bad notwithstanding.

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