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Agnes and the Hitman Mass Market Paperback – August 26, 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 285 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Crusie and Mayer (Don't Look Down) reunite to pen this mostly successful romantic comedy with a hint of action-adventure. Agnes Crandall is a feisty food writer and cookbook author on her third fiancé, Taylor Beaufort. Though their future looks bright, their romance is curdling, partly due to their deal with widowed mob wife Brenda Fortunato (who is selling them her old house) to hold a Fortunato family wedding at their house in exchange for three months of payments. After an armed thug tries to kidnap Agnes's dog, who appeared in the local paper wearing a gaudy necklace that Agnes believes (incorrectly) to be junk, a Fortunato family friend (and mobster) asks hit man Shane to keep an eye on Agnes. (He does more, of course, than keep an eye on her.) Brenda, meanwhile, may be trying to screw Agnes out of the house, and then there's the matter of a body and $5 million possibly hidden in thebasement. Crusie and Mayer have crafted a bubbly novel with enough convenient coincidences, caricatured characters and ridiculous situations to make screenwriters of goofball date movies proud; amusing banter and surprising moments of poignancy keep the mushrooming plot barely in check. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Food writer Agnes Crandall knows how to use a frying pan to create delicious meals and to deal with difficult men. It's that second skill that gets her into trouble. When a masked intruder tries to take her bloodhound Rhett, Agnes whacks him with a frying pan full of hot raspberry sauce. The teenage dognapper ends up dead; but before the police arrive, Shane, the nephew of an old family friend, turns up at Two Rivers, the faded southern mansion Agnes calls home, to offer his professional services. Shane quickly discovers that while Agnes certainly seems capable of taking care of herself, she could use a little help dealing with a two-timing fiancé, a local crime family determined to kidnap Rhett, and a long-lost fortune. A southern, Mob-flavored, flamingo-motif wedding provides the richly comic setting for the second literary collaboration between the highly entertaining team of Crusie and Mayer. Generously seasoned with an acerbic wit and graced with a wonderfully original pair of protagonists and a wickedly amusing cast of secondary characters, Agnes and the Hitman is fabulous fun. Charles, John --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks; Reprint edition (August 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312363052
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312363055
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 1.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (285 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #217,892 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Authors Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer first collaborated on "Don't Look Down" in 2006. Crusie's crazy-endearing heroines and Mayer's rough and tumble Green Beret adventures didn't mix very well with Crusie's fans, and the novel was not as well received as her earlier efforts. I'd been unhappy with Crusie's "Bet Me" from 2005, and was worried I wouldn't see her back in top form.

The improbable, "Agnes and the Hitman" has changed my opinion greatly. The story of one independent, audacious (and above all, CRANKY) female chef in the south who writes a daily column but spends most of her time disentangling crazy situations, was a resounding hit with me!

Agnes Crandall's mixed up with some crazy Italians who bring the mob concept to South Carolina. One of Agnes' best childhood friends, Lisa Livia, sides with Agnes in a dispute with Lisa's mother, the widow Brenda Fortunato. But is Brenda just trying to renege on her deal to see Agnes the house, or is there something more evil afoot in the fact that Agnes has to fend off numerous attempts on her life with a cast iron frying pan?
Enter Shane, a supposed hitman who is sent to protect Agnes by her friend ( a consigliere-type fellow) and his uncle, Joey.

The details of Shane's mysterious past and his prowess with a gun were donated by Mayer....the romance and some enthusiatic bedroom scenes between Shane and Agnes are all Crusie, returning to form. The chaotic mix of dead bodies, missing money, wedding shenanigans and southern charm are a mix of both their styles. Unlike their former effort, Crusie and Mayer have written, for their second effort, a book you can't put down; a madcap whodunnit.

The authors begin every chapter with an exerpt from Agnes' column, "Cranky Agnes"....
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Format: Hardcover
After reading Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer's first collaboration, Don't Look Down, I fell under this writing team's spell and thought I was in book heaven. Then just a few pages into this book, I knew Agnes was going to surpass that.

Agnes has a food related newspaper column and has had recent success with a cookbook called Mob Food. She has just purchased, with her fiancé Taylor, the home she has loved since childhood from a woman she thinks of as a Mother. She and Taylor are collaborating on another cookbook and a catering business while she is planning a wedding in their home for her Goddaughter. Everything sounds busy but perfect right? Wrong. In one night Agnes's life is turned upside down, enter Shane the hitman.

To say anything more about the plot would spoil so many of the off the wall and entertaining happenings. Agnes and the rest of the characters are truly unique, a little demented and completely unforgettable!

Mr. Mayer and Ms. Crusie make a magnificent writing duo. Their writing is witty, hilarious, adventurous and virtually flawless. In their previous book I could kind of tell (at least I like to think so) from page to page who wrote what; in this book their styles blended so well that while reading I forgot that two people wrote this story. I was so into this book I seriously contemplated calling into work so I could finish it; unfortunately my need of money won out. I can't wait to see what these two come up with next! Enjoy!!
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Format: Hardcover
This is a fun and quirky story and a huge improvement on the Crusie/Mayer writing combination. I nearly didn't buy it after the first book. The characters are wonderful, but Shane and Agnes never really communicate to the reader what it is that ties them together. They have hot and angry sex once, with no tenderness or emotion. It's intimated that there is some tenderness and feeling between them, but as the reader, we just don't see that. But I did find myself really enjoying the characters and laughing in places, so I gave it a higher rating than I otherwise would have.

My only issues are that these are not stupid characters. Silly little things like that bridge bugged the heck out of me. Um, if it's not able to hold weight, Agnes isn't smart enough to figure out that a sign posted before the bridge warning drivers that it could fall apart under the weight of their vehicle isn't a good idea? There were a lot of these little 'inconsistencies' that had me rolling my eyes.

I will probably give Crusie/Mayer another chance after this, but admit that I miss Crusie's solo style.
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Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed this book. First, this book is worth buying for the cool cover alone. The cover art gods have smiled on Jenny Crusie and Bob Mayer. This is kitchy and perfectly sells the wonderful story inside.

I liked our plucky heroine. Partly because I can identify with cranky Agnes. But I partly couldn't. So when she has a fit of self realization during a moment of crankiness, it did a lot to endear her to me. She became feisty rather than mean. A lot of Crusie heroines are very, "I'll take care of everything, just get out of my way." Agnes is capable and driven, but she accepts help and lets other people fix their own problems sometimes too. She doesn't always think she has the right answer and talks things over with her friends which I found quite refreshing.

Our hero I was a little sketchy on. How can you want a heroine to fall for an assassin? But about the time I was getting really nervous about Shane's place in the world, we not only learn who he works for but also that he's re-thinking his career choice for, perhaps, a desk job. And Shane's skill set holds him in good stead around Agnes's bouts of crankiness. I thought they fit together very well. They worked better together than apart, which is the best thing I can say about any couple, whether in fiction or real life.

There are lots of well drawn secondary characters too - both good and evil. I like that despite being cranky, Agnes draws people to her and her food and her house, and invites them in. I felt so invited while I was reading the book at dinner (couldn't put it down) that I ordered pancakes for dessert.
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