Author: Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer
Published: 2007, St. Martin's
Category: Romantic Suspense
I was not overly impressed with the first Mayer/Crusie book (though it wasn't bad), so I had planned to get this book from the library. But then I saw these good reviews everywhere. And then I found out that to reserve a book at my new library, you have to pay $1! OMGWTF? I know a buck's not much, but it's a PUBLIC LIBRARY. It's supposed to be free. I used to reserve about 5 books at once and just go pick them up when they had all been nicely set aside for me by those lovely Brooklyn librarians. (AHA! Something I miss about Brooklyn! Take note.)
Sorry for the tangent. Anyway, I ended up buying Agnes and the Hitman and I can't say I'm sorry. Because I had a great time reading it.
Agnes Crandall has just bought the house of her dreams with her fiance. The previous owner gave her a deal, saying that she'd waive the first three months' mortgage payments if Anges let her daughter (who also happens to be a very good friend of Agnes) have her wedding at the house. But then the problems come fast and furious -- people keep breaking in and trying to kidnap her dog; the first of these dog-nappers is accidentally killed by falling into a basement Agnes didn't know existed, which contains a vault that might or might not contain a twenty-years-dead mobster and $5 million; the bride and groom are having mutual cold feet; Agnes's fiance is a putz, and she has a temper that manifests itself in frying pan incidents. The "hitman" of the title is Shane, who is called in to help protect Agnes and ends up all tied up in the craziness.
This book was like Don't Look Down in many ways; any Crusie/Mayer collaboration is going to be a sort of odd combo of Crusie's screwball romantic comedy and Mayer's adventure/boys with toys (and really big guns) suspense. It took a while to get my head around it -- I started out reading happily in Crusie-mode and then . . . someone dies, and I'm all surprised. Twin actually tried to read this and the violence put her off within the first 20 pages. It's not actually very graphic at all, but there are a lot of deaths and those deaths are treated with a levity that is disturbing to me if I think too hard about it. But then the hero is a hit man, so what can you expect?
"We work for a very special organization," Shane said, trying to sound noble.As screwball comedy it totally worked. Tons of crazy stuff going on, all of it wrapping up really nicely to a surprising ending. It takes place over a short period (4 days, I think), so the action is fast. And the romance worked so, so, so much better in this than in Don't Look Down. The problem in DLD was that you have this very cautious, sensible woman falling into bed and then into love with a man within 48 hours of meeting him. Agnes on the other hand is just the sort of volatile, headstrong woman who could SPOILER! bash her cheating fiance on the head with a frying pan and then be so angry that she has to get it out of her system by boinking her bodyguard. End of spoiler. I loved Cranky Agnes, and I bought in to the romance completely.
"That sounds so . . . UNICEF-ish." She looked back toward the kitchen [where a body is being removed]. "It's not UNICEF, is it?"
And there's really good food in the book. Agnes is a food columnist and there are many scenes that made me want to eat, eat, eat. Mmmphm. Yummy.