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47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If at first you don't succeed.....
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...
Published on November 18, 2007 by L. Quido

versus
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quite, but not quite
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...
Published on November 20, 2007 by T.G.


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47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If at first you don't succeed....., November 18, 2007
By 
L. Quido "quidrock" (Tampa, FL United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Agnes and the Hitman (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"....here's my favorite:

"Many of us have a recipe passed down to us by our mothers that pretty much sums up our childhood memories in an ingredient list. In my case, it was 'One chilled glass, two parts Tanqueray, wave at the vermouth bottle, stir clockwise if you're north of the equator, and for God's sake, Agnes, don't bruise the gin!'"

"Agnes and the Hitman" has those little laughs scattered throughout a fine comedy romp. Bravo Crusie and Mayer....keep them coming! Highly recommended!
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Frying Pans and Meat Forks..., September 20, 2007
This review is from: Agnes and the Hitman (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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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quite, but not quite, November 20, 2007
This review is from: Agnes and the Hitman (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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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SPICY, FUNNY, ROMANTIC TALE, September 1, 2007
This review is from: Agnes and the Hitman (Audio CD)
She's known as food writer Cranky Agnes. Actually that's really a pretty fair description of heroine Agnes Crandall at and away from her typewriter. "Fair description" may be an inaccuracy because authors Cruise and Mayer can come up with the most outre portraits of the characters they create, all of which makes for fun, fast-paced reading. This is to say nothing of their plots that twist and turn entertaining readers with a spicy, amusing, romantic tale.

Agnes would very much like to have a children, so thinking maybe third times a charm, she's on fiancé no. 3. The pair have just bought a house from a mobster's widow, Brenda Fortunat0 who offers them three months payments in return for having a family wedding in the house (and what a group that is!).

Nonetheless while Agnes is planning the wedding, a dognapper appears on the scene trying to snatch Agnes's dog. Why? Because the canine was wearing an eye popping necklace in a newspaper photograph. Agnes, of course, believes the jewels are paste or worse. Then, her bedroom window is put to good use when Shane climbs in. He's there to protect Agnes, and couldn't be happieir about the assignment after he sees her. (The feeling is mutual).

Missing money, a dead body, a conniving Brenda, Fortunato relatives, and hitmen all combine to make Agnes's life not only iffy but a mess.

Voice performer Sandra Burr brings this comedic collection of characters to vibrant life. She's a gifted actress and director who not only grabs listeners but holds them captive until we hear the last line.

- Gail Cooke
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wacky good fun, August 26, 2007
This review is from: Agnes and the Hitman (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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly entertaining, September 28, 2007
By 
Dizziey (Arlington, VA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Agnes and the Hitman (Hardcover)
"Agnes and the Hitman" by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer reads like a Southern novel with a hint of The Sopranos. Agnes, a columnist for a paper in South Carolina just recently bought a house from her best friend's mother aka ex-mob wife, Brenda Fortunato. An intruder came into her house wanting to kidnap her dog but was instead killed by Agnes with her frying pan. With her ex-mob friend, Joey's help, Shane, a hitman and Joey's nephew, was "assigned" to guard Agnes. Thrown in to this confusing mess was that Agnes needed to throw a wedding for Brenda's granddaughter which didn't look like it will happen anytime soon.

This was such a fun and hilarious novel which has many great secondary characters. It was a little confusing at the beginning to keep track of the characters and their histories but once you get the hang of it, this was such a wonderful read. Overall, the plot was interesting and the characters were likeable. It would be nice if there will be sequel for "Agnes and the Hitman." Highly recommended.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of the Year, August 26, 2007
This review is from: Agnes and the Hitman (Hardcover)
So, it's not her fault she has this problem with her frying pan...no, not burning food, konking guys on the head with it. And usually they don't die, one only needed a plate in his head. But this last time, someone tried to steal her dog, a perfectly good reason, and he discovered a basement she didn't know she had, ....when he fell thru a wallpapered wall and crashed thru the thing and landed, well, badly on the cement floor. Not her day at all.

Luckly on the phone with her best friend, owner of a cafe, and costar of the book she wrote, Mob Food, Agnes got instant help, with the advice not to call the police? The assistance he sent was in the form of his nephew,Shane, a hit man, just finishing up a "job" when asked to help "little Agnes" who he believes is a child. Right, not quite. But with a wedding that Agnes has to pull together for her goddaughter, with the girls grandmother trying to stop, and a body count getting higher due to Shane's assistance and a few mob and civilians thrown in it is one total laugh riot.

It truly is hard to not finish this at one time. With a wonderful back story and family histories that make the book even richer you care about these people, the hurt they have gone thru, the chance for happiness you want them to have.

It is a funny book but it is more than that, and with the story you get the vague recipe for sourcream pancakes with pecans. yummy.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oooooh! Wonderful! 6 Stars!, August 23, 2007
By 
mbg_bookworm (California, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Agnes and the Hitman (Hardcover)
This book is GREAT! I was NOT impressed with the Crusie/Mayer partnership in "Don't Look Down", but this novel has changed my mind! It is hilarious. Wow!

I have to say that Jennie Cruisie writes the best dialogue in romance novels ever. Bob Mayers strong/silent/dangerous male characters & crazy plot are PERFECT foils for JC's female characters. I enjoy the contrast in the male and female dialogue. She says (paragraph, paragraph, paragraph), he says (3 words). Yet they both understand and satisfy/complement each other.

I love the combination of cooking, crazy devious females, the mob, hitmen, weddings, bridezillas, flamingos, explosions, conspiracy, food, etc., etc. This novel has everything & the kitchen sink yet manages to pull it off!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hell hath no fury like a cranky woman wielding a skillet..., November 25, 2007
By 
Tracy Vest (Northern California) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Agnes and the Hitman (Hardcover)
Agnes Crandall is a columnist and cook book writer who is hosting and catering the wedding of her best friend's daughter at the childhood home she shared with the family and just recently purchased from mob widow Brenda Fortunato. When a masked gunman tries to steal Agnes' beloved dog Rhett, she immediately comes out swinging... a skillet that is. The fact he falls and breaks his neck isn't really her fault... Her mentor Joey (who happens to have mob ties) calls his nephew in to watch over Agnes, but the fact that she's wielded that skillet more than once might come back to haunt her. That nephew happens to be a hit man. Shane isn't sure what to make of Agnes or her relationship to his Uncle Joey, but with a distant fiance who's never there for her, the stress of planning a fancy society wedding (with a flamingo theme no doubt and a grandmother insistent that it take place elsewhere), more hit men dispatched, and more bodies piling up than you can shake a frying pan at, Shane knows Agnes is in over her head, and Brenda might be trying to swindle her out of her home.

Penned by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer, their second collaboration is a gem of a story with engaging and quirky characters, plenty of red herrings (and hit men) and just the right touch of romance. The flow of the novel is reminiscent of a 1930's screwball comedy, with plenty of antics to keep you entertained. Each chapter is highlighted with a wry introduction taken from one of Agnes' many food columns.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny, deep and head-clangingly good!, October 31, 2007
By 
M. Fleming "Rescueknight" (Some where in the Southwest, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Agnes and the Hitman (Hardcover)
Agnes and the Hitman is the kind of book you think you should pass on and on reflection, you know you should pass on.
But for some reason you pick it up: maybe the flight got delayed, or you saw it at the doctor's office, or it was the only thing left on the library shelf; whatever the reason you will be glad that you did.

Don't get me wrong, this is not the book to make your choice at the "book club", but for a funny, outrageous, mad cap read this is the book.

Agnes Crandall's life is falling apart, she hears the voice of her long- ago court appointed psychiatrist in her head when she is rattled or angry, and right now she is both as a thug has tried to dog-nap her beloved pet, Rhett.
So you see why Agnes had to wallop him with the skillet!

Her friend Joey is thinking this might need more time than he has and calls his nephew Shane to watch over Agnes, and Shane does.

While this is happening, Agnes is trying to throw a wedding for her god-daughter(Maria)while the bride's grandmother (Brenda), soon-to-be mother-in-law (Evie) and even her mother(Lisa Livia, with the best of intentions) are all sabotaging her efforts. Still on the side lines of all this is Agnes' worthless fiance, Taylor; and in the midst of all this is Shane.

Agnes and the Hitman is engaging and engrossing. You won't want to put it down. You want to find out about the money and the necklace, the mob ties and the hitmen; you want to know why Agnes hasn't managed to pick the right man yet, and what happens for her and Shane.

And in the end, Ms. Crusie and Mr. Mayer wrap it all up and present it as a wedding favor. This book is a treat, savor it.

Happy Reading.
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Agnes and the Hitman
Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie (Mass Market Paperback - August 26, 2008)
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