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Darlene Marshall, author

I write award-winning historical romance about pirates, privateers, smugglers and the occasional possum.

The Last Word - Lisa Lutz There's always been a bittersweet note to the Spellman novels. Yes, they're sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, but there are underlying tensions and disappointments for the characters that preclude complete happiness at the end of the novel.Spellman #6, The Last Word, may be the last of the Spellman novels and it raises the bar on melancholy. Isabel is still careening through life, making mistakes in her judgment, her boyfriends, her wardrobe choices, but it's more disconcerting to see this behavior in a woman in her mid-30s than in a 20 year old. I kept thinking that if I was this woman's BFF, I'd be rolling my eyes at her antics and wondering when she was going to grow up. Perhaps that's what Isabel needs in her life, some female friends who'll tell her home truths. In addition to dissatisfaction with Isabel's messed up life we have two characters facing debilitating illness, a former flame with real life problems, and a mystery involving the FBI and embezzlement. Despite all the turmoil though the patter is still snappy, and there are genuine funny moments. This book will best be appreciated by fans of the Spellman family, but if it's the swan song for the Spellmans, I'll understand hope Lutz brings her writing talent to a new, fresh setting.