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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Agnes and the Hitman

***** Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer. Romantic adventure.

I am such a fangirl. But I like to think I'm a smart one. I liked Jenny's books even before I joined JCF and jCW and the Cherry Forums, but unlike sausage and laws, seeing a smidgen of what goes on behind the scenes made me even more impressed. I do have to admit to not (yet) having read any of Bob's solo work. There are about a half dozen of his books in my TBR pile, however.

Agnes is a food writer with a small anger management problem. But it's really not her fault that the guy ended up dead in her basement--for one thing, he was trying to steal her dog at gunpoint. For another, she didn't know she had a basement.

Enter Shane. Through her bedroom window, no less. He's a hitman her friend Joey sent to protect her.

Shane's on the trail of assassin Casey Dean, whose next hit he's supposed to prevent. Agnes is engaged to Taylor, her third fiance, with whom she's buying the house from Brenda, mob widow, mother of Agnes's best friend, and Agnes's surrogate mother. In exchange for 3 months of mortgage payments, Agnes is hosting Brenda's granddaughter's wedding at the house.

I think those are the major things going on. Everybody's got secrets, and things spiral out of control pretty rapidly. While she's dealing with Shane, and the cops, and somebody who's after either her or her dog, she keeps having to put out (figurative) fires around the wedding--the minister who calls daily with a new rumor about the bride, the florist who cancels, and the bride deciding on a flamingo theme at the last minute.

If Agnes didn't have anger issues before, she'd certainly develop them. To keep herself under control, she has little conversations in her head with her therapist, Dr. Garvin. And through it all, there's Shane, quietly fixing things.

I think if I had to pick one element out of the wonderfully convoluted tangle of this story that was my absolute favorite part, that would be it--how Shane's just there, the only one who's completely on Agnes's side, the calm in the storm, the rock she can depend on, though she doesn't even know it at first. He snags her to-do list from the kitchen counter and just takes care of everything, with no fanfare. (He knows she doesn't have time to get the stuff done--he's not stepping on her toes or being paternalistic.)

I called this a wonderfully convoluted tangle, and it is, but it's all untangled at the end, and everything makes sense. I loved how all the seemingly unrelated threads came together with humor and romance and action.

Crusie and Mayer make a fabulous team--their books combine some of my favorite elements and are reminiscent of action comedy movies, none of which I can think of at the moment, dammit.

And may I say, their covers are just the coolest I've ever seen. Those bullet holes on the cover? They're actual holes, and this is what's behind them: I can't decide which I like better: this, or Don't Look Down's camouflage.
If you click to see the larger version, you can tell those are flamingos, just like there were little alligators on Don't Look Down: Very cool covers for very cool books.


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I was so relieved that I enjoyed this one! Having thought that her other collaborations were not up to the standard of her standalone books, I was worried that I was not ever going to enjoy them! But this one restored my faith!
Got this in my TBR pile, but haven't read it yet. Glad to see that you enjoy it Darla :)

Speaking of Bob, I got two of his books in my TBR pile as well...
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