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  • The Spellman Files
    by Lutz, Lisa

    An Introduction to The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz Surveillance Report Subject:
    Isabel "Izzy" Spellman Age: 28 Occupation: Private Investigator Employer:
    Spellman Investigations Residence: 1799 Clay Street (Spellman family residence
    and location of Spellman Investigations), San Francisco Hobbies: Watching Get
    Smart reruns, entering and exiting through windows rather than doors, drinking
    Known Associates: Petra Clark (Lower Haight Street hairdresser), Milo (bartender
    at The Philosopher''s Club) Recent Suspicious Activity: Impersonating a
    schoolteacher, physically threatening a 14-year-old boy, breaking and entering a
    SFPD officer''s apartment Isabel "Izzy" Spellman -- Private Investigator and one
    of the most original comic heroines to debut in years -- is on the run. After a
    dizzying chase through the streets of San Francisco, she turns to confront her
    pursuers: "Mom. Dad. This has to stop" (p. 2). Izzy''s plea betrays her
    desperation -- not only to shake their loving but overweening parental
    attentions but to make sense of the chaos* into which her life has recently
    devolved. She''s just been dumped by a dentist, the witnesses in the cold case
    she''s working are stonewalling her, and her fifteen-year-old sister, Rae, has
    disappeared -- presumably kidnapped. Izzy is well aware that her life and family
    are more than a little unusual but she needs answers. The problem is, she
    doesn''t know the questions or even whom to ask. At the age of 28, Izzy still
    lives with her parents in their rambling San Francisco Victorian
    home-cum-office. An operative in the family detective business, Spellman
    Investigations, she has never held down a job where deceit and suspicion
    weren''t considered standard operating procedure. When she finds herself under
    interrogation by Henry Stone -- the police inspector in charge of Rae''s
    disappearance -- Izzy casts back to the root of the Spellman troubles: the birth
    of her older brother, David. Handsome, brilliant, athletic, and possessed of
    "modesty beyond his years" (p. 11), David is a freakishly perfect man born into
    their otherwise perfectly freakish family. Two years older than Izzy and now a
    successful corporate lawyer, David defined everything that Izzy would rebel
    against being. After years of petty and not-so-petty delinquency, Izzy
    eventually settles down to an acceptably respectable lifestyle but her parents
    continue to fear that the "old Isabel" might return and corrupt the precocious
    and extremely impressionable Rae. On a routine surveillance job at the San
    Francisco Tennis Club, Izzy falls for Daniel Castillo, a handsome dentist who
    shares her passion for Get Smart reruns. While most parents might find Daniel
    promising boyfriend material -- and certainly several steps up from Izzy''s
    usual type -- a string of run-ins with unsavory dentists has left them
    suspicious of anyone authorized to dispense laughing gas. As Izzy resorts to one
    madcap subterfuge after another in the hopes of keeping Daniel and her parents
    in the dark about one another, she realizes that it''s high time to leave
    Spellman Investigations and start a normal life. Unfortunately, Izzy''s parents
    extort her into taking on one last case before they''ll pony up with the
    references she needs to find other work. Much to everyone''s chagrin, Izzy
    becomes obsessed with solving the hitherto unsolved fifteen-year-old missing
    persons case, no matter whose toes she steps on. In the midst of it all, Izzy
    must take time out to track down her reprobate Uncle Ray -- whose "lost
    weekends" of gambling and binge drinking now figure in the double-digits -- as
    well as ferret out the identity of David''s secret girlfriend. So when Rae
    mysteriously disappears, Izzy finds herself pushed to the edge of what this
    hard-drinking, wise-cracking PI can handle. At once heart-warming, suspenseful,
    and laugh-out-loud funny, The Spellman Files is a brilliantly zany take on the
    hard-boiled detective genre and introduces us to an utterly new kind of
    screwball heroine. Spend some time with the Spellmans and you''ll find out why
    the family that sleuths together stays together. *Chaos in its traditional sense
    as opposed to KAOS, The International Organiztion of Evil, which also figures
    prominently in Izzy''s life. Suggested Questions for Discussion: 1. Izzy''s
    delinquent behavior actually prepared her for her work as a private
    investigator. "My life to date had ingrained in me a certain natural stealth,
    had taught me how to test limits, and had disciplined me to know precisely how
    much I could get away with" (p. 25). Do you retain a youthful bad habit that has
    actually benefited you as an adult? How might Rae''s recreational surveillance
    benefit her, in ways other than being a PI, as an adult? 2. "There was nothing
    my mother wouldn''t do to protect her children, even if it was morally
    ambiguous" (p. 61). How did Mrs. Spellman''s exposure of Ex-Boyfriend #6''s porn
    addiction ultimately affect Izzy? 3. Lawyer #4 describes Izzy as "a cross
    between Dirty Harry and Nancy Drew" (p. 90). Is this an accurate description?
    Are there other sleuths that Izzy is heir to? 4. Besides Daniel''s "cocoa legs,"
    Izzy is initially attracted to him because of his assertion that, "some people
    need to win and some people need to lose." (p. 123) What does this say about
    her? 5. Are David and Petra being paranoid in hiding their relationship from
    Izzy? What might she have done had she known they were dating earlier? 6. Uncle
    Ray tells Izzy that "being enemies with Rae was easier than being friends with
    her" (p. 204). Could this be said about any other Spellmans? 7. Does
    wire-tapping constitute a larger betrayal of privacy than simple eavesdropping
    or tailing? 8. Their mom tells David that, "''Without this job, [Izzy is] Uncle
    Ray waiting to happen''" (p. 235). Is that an accurate assessment? 9. Was the
    threat of a temporary restraining order the best way to prevent Izzy from
    further pursuing the Snow case? What method of discouragement would you
    recommend? 10. Daniel claims that his romantic relationship with Isabel ended
    with "the fake drug deal" (p. 309) Do you think they might otherwise have been
    able to work out their differences? What qualities does a man need to be
    compatible with Isabel? Bonus Quiz: Could you be a Spellman? 1.You''ve just met
    someone new and attractive. Do you: a. mumble and look away shyly b. ask for
    his/her phone number c. "borrow" his/her wallet so you can copy the information
    from his/her driver''s license for a background check 2. You never leave the
    house without: a. a heavy object such as a flashlight in case you need to break
    a head/taillight b. a snack in case you get hungry c. an extra $20 in case of an
    emergency>br /> 3. After losing a game of tennis, you think: a. "that was fun."
    b. "next time I''ll win." c. "losing is like breathing to me." 4. You get caught
    in a little white lie so you: a. confess and apologize profusely b. make up a
    more elaborate lie -- or several -- to cover your tracks c. act defensive 5. The
    best present you ever received as a child was: a. a new bike b. a puppy c. a set
    of lock picks Give yourself a point for every correct answer. Correction Key: 1.
    c.; 2. a.; 3. c.; 4. b.; 5. c. If you scored: 0-2 points, you''re hopelessly
    straight 3-4 points, Spellman operative material 5 points, a Spellman separated
    at birth
    The Spellman Files
  • The Lands of Dream
    by Clemons, Charles

    The dream fantasies of Charles Clemons, includes the Mhorhaen Trilogy, the
    Dreamer Trilogy, two more tales of dream and four poems of high fantasy for a
    total of two novels, two novellas, four short stories and four poems. The Lands
    of Dream is a place where a multitude of gods still compete for the worship of
    men and man is content with the luxuries of their natural surroundings;
    therefore they do not strive to create new inventions or discover new
    technologies to better their life, because all is as it should be. Original
    fantasies that dream in places analogous to the creations of Dunsany, Lovecraft
    and Moorcock.
    The Lands of Dream
  • The B. S. Layer : A Blake Worthy Novel
    by Coston, Jerry

    Blake Worthy is a programmer-a good one. He and his long-time friend and
    business partner, Frankie Jolley, own a thriving software consulting business in
    Little Rock, Arkansas. They love the challenge of a difficult problem. When the
    largest bank in Arizona calls Blake in to speed up their ATM network, it seems
    like any other job. On the flight home though, he realizes that some of the code
    he reviewed is causing much more serious problems than slow response time. The
    discovery leads Blake and friends into the heart of a murder investigation.
    Follow Blake and his band of bright but quirky comrades through this sometimes
    tragic, sometimes triumphant, but always witty and faithful look into the hearts
    and minds of programmers. The B. S. Layer perfectly captures the world view of
    computer geeks-the logical thinking, the creativity, the camaraderie-and marries
    it with a great who-done-it plot. -Dan Darnell, author of Java and the AS/400
    The B. S. Layer : A Blake Worthy Novel
  • Typhoon, Level 2
    by Conrad, Joseph

    Calm, stoic captain Mac Whirr has just been given command of a new steamship,
    the Nan-Shan. He and his crew are transporting Asian workers across the China
    Sea when a sudden drop in atmospheric pressure alerts Mac Whirr of, "some
    uncommonly dirty weather knocking about."
    Typhoon, Level 2
  • A Rib from Eve
    by Christensen, Katherine

    Malgven, daughter of Merovingian King Dagobert I, is afforded the finest
    education available in the 7th century. After she witnesses the savage murder of
    her Saxon mother for sorcery, Malgven's mind and spirit shatter. Under the
    pantheistic practices of her Scotti grandmother, she recovers and flourishes in
    the wilds of the Saxon territories.
    A Rib from Eve
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