Top positive review
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If at first you don't succeed.....
on November 18, 2007
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!