Friday, May 7, 2010

Agnes and The Hitman - Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer

Take one food writer named Cranky Agnes, add a hitman named Shane, mix them together with a Southern mob wedding, a missing necklace, two annoyed flamingos, and a dog named Rhett and you've got a recipe for a sexy, hilarious novel about the disastrous side of true love…

Agnes Crandall's life goes awry when a dognapper invades her kitchen one night, seriously hampering her attempts to put on a wedding that she's staked her entire net worth on. Then a hero climbs through her bedroom window. His name is Shane, no last name, just Shane, and he has his own problems: he's got a big hit scheduled, a rival trying to take him out, and an ex-mobster uncle asking him to protect some little kid named Agnes. When he finds out that Agnes isn't so little, his uncle has forgotten to mention a missing five million bucks he might have lost in Agnes's house, and his last hit was a miss, Shane's life isn't looking so good, either. Then a bunch of lowlifes come looking for the money, a string of hit men show up for Agnes, and some wedding guests gather with intent to throw more than rice. Agnes and Shane have their hands full with greed, florists, treachery, flamingos, mayhem, mothers of the bride, and—most dangerous of all—each other. Agnes and the Hitman is the perfect combination of sugar and spice, sweet and salty—a novel of delicious proportions.
I must confess that I had no idea about what this book was about. I have read and enjoyed some Crusie's in the past and had heard a lot of things, good and bad, about her collaboration books and that's why I decided to give this one a try.

I am glad that I did because I had great fun reading this about Agnes, the cranky chef, and all of her friends, enemies and those in between. Agnes just bought a house from her best friend's mother, Brenda Fortunato, the widow of an old mobster. When a young man enters her house trying to kidnap her dog she hits him with a frying pan on the head. Frying pans seem to be Agnes weapon of choice, usually with no big consequences, but this time the guy falls in a hidden basement and dies. When the police start poking around, Agnes' friend Joey calls his nephew Shane to protect her.

Soon it becomes apparent that someone is really interested in Agnes’ dog, that Brenda isn't really planning to give up her house, that Taylor is not above making deals with the enemy and that there may be an old mobster's body and 5 million dollars hidden in the house. Not only that, Agnes has to deal with Brenda wanting to ruin her granddaughter’s wedding, a condition for the sale of the house and old mobsters and other strange characters keep joining the action. The good thing is that Shane, the hitman, is totally fascinated with Agnes. She returns the feeling, even if she can't help being a bit horrified by his line of work, but with so many twists and turns Shane soon has a few surprises in store for him too.

A fun comedy full of funny lines that occasionally seem taken out of a fifties gangster movie and also over the top villains, a reasonable body count, some poignant moments, an energetic romance and an engaging whodunit. Everything helps to make this one a page turner!

Grade: 4.5/5


  1. This is the best of the collaborations that I have read from Jenny Crusie, although there are a couple that I haven't read yet, namely Dogs and Goddesses and Wild Ride.

  2. I had only read The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes and can't say I was much impressed either...

  3. Unfortunate Miss Fortunes is the reason why I am in absolutely no rush to read Dogs and Goddesses.

  4. This is the only one of her collaborations that I've enjoyed. I didn't care for Don't Look Down. Haven't read either Dogs & Goddesses or Miss Fortunes. Heard some not so great things about the new Wild Ride. Luckily she's got a stand alone later this summer. Looking forward to that!

  5. Although I loved Agnes and the Hitman, I prefer her earlier stuff. I haven't read any of her newer stuff since AATH, but I might give her/their latest a try.

  6. Dogs and Goddesses was a GREAT book. I recomend Reading it!~


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