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.)
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*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