Thursday, July 11, 2013

I Get the Last Word

The Last Word by Lisa Lutz
(Simon & Schuster, 2013)
Format: advance ebook via Net Galley

From Goodreads: "Isabel Spellman is used to being followed, extorted, and questioned—all occupational hazards of working at her family’s firm, Spellman Investigations. Her little sister, Rae, once tailed Izzy for weeks on end to discover the identity of her boyfriend. Her mother, Olivia, once blackmailed Izzy with photographic evidence of Prom Night 1994. It seemed that the Spellmans would lay off after Izzy was fired for breaching client confidentiality, but then Izzy avenged her dismissal by staging a hostile takeover of the company. She should have known better than to think she could put such shenanigans behind her.

In The Last Word, Izzy’s troubles are just beginning. After her hostile takeover of Spellman Investigations, Izzy’s parents simply go on strike. Her sister, Rae, comes back into the family business with questionable motivations. Her other employees seem to be coping with anxiety disorders, and she has no idea how to pay the bills. However, her worst threat comes from someone who is no relation. Is this the end of Izzy Spellman, PI?"

I've mentioned Lutz's Spellman series before, because: sharp, fun, kooky but not too kooky, and Izzy is great. So I'm sure you all have been avidly following the series, and are ready to bemoan along with me that this looks like the end of Izzy Spellman. Which certainly wouldn't bother her parents, who are engaged in a most hilarious passive resistance campaign against her takeover of the family PI firm. (I shudder to think how I'd have managed moving up in my own family business if my mom had, like Izzy's, refused to explain the ins and outs of the accounting software. So: thanks, Mom!) Fortunately, Izzy has Edward Slayter in her corner, and even though he has Alzheimer's, he's sure he can protect her even as she tries to figure out who is embezzling from his company and framing Izzy. 

Lutz is a playful author. I wonder if she just pulls random items out of the ether and challenges herself to incorporate them plausibly in her book. Izzy's challenges include twelve cans of tear gas, hideous Christmas sweaters, her ex-boyfriend's mother, the FBI, and a windowless file room inconveniently positioned for her attempts to eavesdrop on Bible Study. And somehow it all makes sense. As with the other books in the series, the investigative work takes a back seat to the delights of the Spellman family and their associates. And because the characters are all so real, well - I won't spoil it, but I will say that I cried. 

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