Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer

What do you get when you combine a cranky cook book author/food critic, a dog- napper, a sexy hitman, a Southern mobster wedding, noisy flamingos, a flying frying pan and 5 million dollars? A delicious crime novel and romance all rolled up together like a brandy soaked trifle with cream filling!

Agnes finds herself (and her dog) the unlikely target of dog-nappers. To her rescue comes Shane, a hitman with a long history and an empty stomach. Keeping an eye on Agnes becomes a full time job, but Shane has troubles of his own when his hits fail and his targets continue breathing. As Agnes is determined to put on the perfect wedding, or lose her house, she’s face with philandering fiancé’s, Mafioso’s threatening florists and cake designers, and with in-laws and outlaws. But having Shane on her side means she could discover her happy ending.

This was my first time reading a Crusie-Mayer collaboration. I heard various things about the writing team, not many of them good. To them, I say, “phooey”. I found the relationship aspects inductive of dreamy sighs and the action aspects worthy of cheers for their sheer cleverness. Cruise and Mayer are a fantastic combination, not unlike strawberries and cream.

The characters created were interesting and fun. I was immediately invested in them and could see Agnes flipping her pecan pancakes and Shane grinding coffee beans as vividly as if I were standing there. In fact, this book made my stomach yearn for a midnight snack as I read into the wee hours. It was a shame that some recipes weren’t featured. There were a lot of different people we got to know in this book, and yet it wasn’t at all difficult to keep up with them all and enjoy their unique qualities.

The story could be a tad far-fetched at times. One and one sometimes added up to three, but that was part of the entertainment. I can’t find too much fault with it because some of the preposterousness was what made it so much tremendous fun. It wasn’t a complicated story, yet it had a lot going on. If it hadn’t been so enjoyable, Agnes’ To Do List alone would have exhausted me!

My favorite aspects were the extremely well written and detailed fight and action scenes. Shane’s bomb defusing, bullet dodging, and use of military firearms were nearly as exhilarating as Agnes and her cast iron skillet! Just kidding. Don’t hurt me, Bob.

I really enjoyed the romance between Shane and Agnes. He had me the moment he brought her home an air conditioner. Sure, roses are nice, but nothing says “potential boyfriend” like cold air on a blistering hot day. Agnes could depend on Shane, and I found that very sexy.

After endless giggle-fits in bed reading until 2AM, my husband had banned me from reading any more Crusie-Mayer books when he has to get up early for work the next day. I suggest for the sake of your marriage, read this book on the weekend, or in the daytime. You’ll thank me later.


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