FAYE DASEN: Novel Introduces Wacky Detective Family
Here are some mystery and suspense books. One is a debut novel; the others are from tried and true authors.
The Spellman Files
By Lisa Lutz
Simon and Schuster, 2007, $25
Lisa Lutz, in her debut mystery, introduces readers to the Spellmans, a family of private detectives that includes Isabel "Izzy" Spellman, 28, and her 14-year-old sister, Rae, a Nancy Drew wannabe.
Izzy joined her folks in the "business" when she was 12, doing stakeouts and research. The parental units have no qualms about sticking their noses in the lives of their adult children. Izzy is tired of being treated as though she's Rae's age. (Brother David has managed to escape the family business by becoming a lawyer, but their parents butt into his life as well.) She's ready to leave Spellman Investigations and find a new career, but first she must solve one last case -- a cold case.
Told from Izzy's "files," the story is amusing and full of twists and turns as we meet Uncle Ray, a former cop who drinks, gambles and chases women, along with other zany characters, including some of Izzy's ex-boyfriends.
Lutz grew up in Southern California.
By Robert Crais
Simon and Schuster, 2007, $25.95
Crais rarely fails to please, and this book is no exception. He finally gives readers a book featuring Joe Pike, who has appeared as a sidekick to Elvis Cole, who takes centerstage in 10 earlier novels. Elvis, who is recovering from severe injuries recounted in the novel, "The Two-Minute Rule," plays a minor role here.
Pike is asked to protect Larkin Barkley, a society brat, who is in danger because she is due to testify in a trial. Someone has already come close to killing her -- twice -- so Pike figures there's a leak somewhere.
The two go "on the run," hiding from everyone, including her father. All the while they are trying to find out just who really wants Larkin dead.
The book is fast-paced and well-written.
By Annie Solomon
Warner, 2007, $6.99
I've enjoyed all of Solomon's books (billed as romantic suspense) so far.
Gillian Gray is a photographer whose pictures are considered obscene by some folks. Her mother, a famous fashion model, was murdered 20 years ago, and Gillian exhibits portraits that feature death scenes.
She's received death threats, so her wealthy grandparents hire Ray Pierce, an ex-cop, to be her bodyguard. Gillian is determined to find her mother's killer, and puts a challenge out during the exhibit opening for him to come after her.
When other women turn up dead, and the crime scenes are made to look like Gillian's photographs, Ray realizes that someone will eventually be coming after his charge.
This is the sixth book from Solomon, who left the advertising business after 12 years in order to pursue a writing career.
Faye Dasen may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 693-2475.
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