Review: Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer

agnes hitmanReviewed by Janell

I’ve been vacationing with my children lately and letting them play games on my phone, which means that I haven’t had access to my multitudes of ebooks. Yes, I only have one e-reader, is that weird? So I went way old-school, borrowing older paperbacks from a friend to fill those moments when the kids were occupied with gadgets. I also bought two books at a grocery store, but researching them on my phone while standing in the aisle didn’t work out so well —  one book was slow and dull, and the other I DNF’d. Which only goes to show how important trustworthy recommendations are! This particular book is one of my friend’s favorites, and I liked it too. So there.

Where do I even begin? Agnes is a food columnist (known as “Cranky Agnes”) who believes that any recipe can be improved with butter and cream. She’s trying to write her latest column and plan a wedding for her friend’s daughter while keeping her new house and holding on to her third fiancé (she whacked the first two fiancés with frying pans because they cheated on her, not that a frying pan is her weapon of choice, you know, but they were just close at hand). This all grows increasingly difficult when people begin showing up at her house to kill her and/or steal her dog.

Shane is the Hitman, and he doesn’t say much. His Uncle Joey, a former mobster, calls him to come and protect Agnes, and he appears in the nick of time to keep her alive. He likes Agnes’s curvy body and he could get used to eating her breakfast every morning, if he can just stop all the would-be killers and buy her a new air conditioner.

Every character is memorable, and they seem to multiply in Agnes’s kitchen as the wedding deadline moves closer and the bodies pile up. There’s her friend, Lisa Livia, the mobster princess; Doyle, the Irish handyman; Garth, the kid from the swamp who learns fast; Carpenter, the spiritual hitman’s assistant; and Brenda, grandmother of the bride and surrogate mother to Agnes, just to name a few. Plus her dog and a couple of lonely flamingos.

With this much plot going on, you’d think the romance would take a back seat. But whenever Agnes and Shane are in a scene together, they manage to squeeze in distracting thoughts, showing how all the little things add up to love. I also noticed that I didn’t have a clear physical description of either main character. Agnes has curly hair, curves, and red glasses. Shane has angles to his face and black clothes. They’re attracted to each other, but the authors barely spend any time on the physical details, which was so cool. I don’t know what color their eyes are and I don’t know how hairy Shane’s chest is, but I know how they feel when they’re together.

Madcap capers like this are not usually my genre, but once I got into the rhythm of this book I had a great time. It was written in 2007 but it’s set in a small Southern town where time probably stands still, and the characters didn’t rely on much technology that would date the book. It’s just as fun now as it was then! Plus, I enjoyed the detailed descriptions of Agnes fixing pancakes, or muffins, or raspberry sauce… You probably shouldn’t read this while you’re hungry. But you should just read it.

Rating: B+

Click to purchase: Amazon

Agnes and the Hitman
by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer
Release Date: August 21, 2007
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

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