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This is really a love letter to the entire Izzy Spellman series, which began with THE SPELLMAN FILES. Start there. Don’t start here. THE LAST WORD may actually be the last word Lutz gives us about Izzy and her dysfunctional family of private investigators, and it’s been a long, crazy ride. Izzy’s growth and development are not to be missed. So if your interest is piqued by the following snippets, go read THE SPELLMAN FILES. I tend to recommend this series to friends who have enjoyed the early Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich but have grown bored with the love triangle business and Stephanie’s failure to evolve as a person or as a bounty hunter. Isabel Spellman is a smart, funny, deeply flawed person who grows as both an investigator and as a human being through the course of the six books in the series.  While dating is a part of her life, this is in no ways a romance series, nor is romance particularly central. When I compare her to Stephanie Plum, I mean only that she’s a smart, funny investigator and the books have both satisfying mysteries and laugh-out-loud humor.

Isabel Spellman has worked for Spellman Investigations since the age of twelve. In her family, surveillance is the norm and privacy is nonexistent. Wonder where your mother has been heading every Wednesday afternoon? Put a tracking device on her car. Your daughter is acting strangely? Put a tail on her. It’s no wonder Izzy has trust issues. In this installment of the series, Izzy has executed a hostile takeover of the family business. This novel is the fallout. 

Snippets from THE LAST WORD:

“I really must compliment you on your ability to lie to yourself,” said David.

“Thank you,” I said.

***

My point is, entering the house through the front door would have caused more hassle than necessary. I used the slim jim I keep in my purse to pry open the window, hoisted myself inside, extracted the money from the safe, and was back in Henry’s car in five minutes. “Still door-averse, I see,” he said.

“More parent-averse, these days.”

***

How well would I survive in a federal prison? Martha Stewart set the standard pretty high, and you know you can’t live up to that. And you wonder what kind of ridiculous hobbies you might take up. Ceramics? Gardening? Creative writing? That shit is not for me.

***

Rae gathered her belongings and reminded me to call Robbie. “Robbie and you are in a cyber-war right now and he’s winning. You need to throw in the towel. Do you know how to do that?”

“Apologize?”

“With a porn gift basket,” Rae plainly explained.

***

“This needs to be a professional conversation,” Rae said.

“Then maybe you shouldn’t have worn pants with anthropomorphized peanut butter sandwiches on them.”

***

Someone on GoodReads characterized Lisa Lutz’s books in the genre “hijinks,” and that’s very true. But I’m also always surprised that in the midst of the ridiculous revelations and snarky wit, she always makes me cry at least once per book. And if I’m honest, it’s probably more like three times. If you like your female characters complex and enjoy madcap hilarity along with your poignant doses of reality, this series is probably for you.

Note: I did a brief review of this book over the summer: http://hollybooknotes.blogspot.com/2013/07/the-last-word-by-lisa-lutz.html

Source disclosure: I received an e-galley of this title courtesy of the publisher, and I have also purchased copies of every book in the series.

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