The Spellman Files is the first novel in a winning and hilarious mystery series featuring Isabel “Izzy” Spellman (part Nancy Drew, part Dirty Harry) and her highly functioning yet supremely dysfunctional family of private investigators.
Meet Isabel “Izzy” Spellman, private investigator. This twenty-eight-year-old may have a checkered past littered with romantic mistakes, excessive drinking, and creative vandalism; she may be addicted to Get Smart reruns and prefer entering homes through windows rather than doors—but the upshot is she’s good at her job as a licensed private investigator with her family’s firm, Spellman Investigations. Invading people’s privacy comes naturally to Izzy. In fact, it comes naturally to all the Spellmans. If only they could leave their work at the office. To be a Spellman is to snoop on a Spellman; tail a Spellman; dig up dirt on, blackmail, and wiretap a Spellman.
Izzy walks an indistinguishable line between Spellman family member and Spellman employee. Duties include: completing assignments from the bosses, aka Mom and Dad (preferably without scrutiny); appeasing her chronically perfect lawyer brother (often under duress); setting an example for her fourteen-year-old sister, Rae (who’s become addicted to “recreational surveillance”); and tracking down her uncle (who randomly disappears on benders dubbed “Lost Weekends”). But when Izzy’s parents hire Rae to follow her (for the purpose of ascertaining the identity of Izzy’s new boyfriend), Izzy snaps and decides that the only way she will ever be normal is if she gets out of the family business. But there’s a hitch: she must take one last job before they’ll let her go—a fifteen-year-old, ice-cold missing person case. She accepts, only to experience a disappearance far closer to home, which becomes the most important case of her life.
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Lisa Lutz is the author of The Spellman Files, a New York Times best-seller; Curse of the Spellmans, a national best-seller and nominee for both the Macavity and Edgar? Awards for Best Novel of 2008; and the critically acclaimed Revenge of the Spellmans. Although she attended UC Santa Cruz, UC Irvine, the University of Leeds in England, and San Francisco State University, she still does not have a bachelor's degree. Lisa spent most of the 1990s hopping through a string of low-paying odd jobs while writing and rewriting the screenplay Plan B, a mob comedy. After the film was made in 2000, she vowed she would never write another screenplay. A motion picture adaptation of The Spellman Files is in development with Paramount Pictures.
Ari Graynor's theater credits include Little Dog Laughed, Brooklyn Boy, Dog Sees God, Spanish Girl, Fall, King Lear, and Into the Woods. Films include For Your Consideration, The Great New Wonderful, Game 6, Imaginary Heroes, and Mystic River. On television, she has appeared in Veronica Mars, The Sopranos, and Law & Order: SVU.
Chapter 1Seventy-two Hours Later
A single lightbulb hangs from the ceiling, its dull glow illuminating the spare decor of this windowless room. I could itemize its contents with my eyes closed: one wooden table, splintered and paint-chipped, surrounded by four rickety chairs; a rotary phone; an old television; and a VCR. I know this room well. Hours of my childhood I lost in here, answering for crimes I probably did commit. But I sit here now answering to a man I have never seen before, for a crime that is still unknown, a crime that I am too afraid to even consider.
Inspector Henry Stone sits across from me. He places a tape recorder in the center of the table and switches it on. I can't get a good read on him: early forties, short-cropped salt-and-pepper hair, crisp white shirt, and a perfectly tasteful tie. He might be handsome, but his cold professionalism feels like a mask. His suit seems too pricey for a civil servant and makes me suspicious. But everyone makes me suspicious.
"Please state your name and address for the record," says the inspector.
"Isabel Spellman. Seventeen ninety-nine Clay Street, San Francisco, California."
"Please state your age and date of birth."
"I'm twenty-eight. Born April 1, 1978."
"Your parents are Albert and Olivia Spellman, is that correct?"
"You have two siblings: David Spellman, thirty, and Rae Spellman, fourteen. Is that correct?"
"Please state your occupation and current employer for the record."
"I am a licensed private investigator with Spellman Investigations, my parents' PI firm."
"When did you first begin working for Spellman Investigations?" Stone asks.
"About sixteen years ago."
Stone consults his notes and looks up at the ceiling, perplexed. "You would have been twelve?"
"That is correct," I respond.
"Ms. Spellman," Stone says, "let's start at the beginning."
I cannot pinpoint the precise moment when it all began, but I can say for sure that the beginning didn't happen three days ago, one week, one month, or even one year ago. To truly understand what happened to my family, I have to start at the very beginning, and that happened a long time ago.
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Book Description Simon & Schuster Audio, 2007. Audio CD. Book Condition: New. In shrinkwrap. ***We ship daily. Our books are carefully described and packaged in boxes (not envelopes). A gift card and personalized message can be included upon request.***. Bookseller Inventory # 612829
Book Description Book Condition: Brand New. Book Condition: Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 97807435643421.0