Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Agnes and the Hitman

The second collaborative project by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer, Agnes and the Hitman, was well worth the wait. Agnes Crandell, also known as "Cranky Agnes" seems to have it all; she purchased the house of her childhood dreams, has a successful career, and is engaged to a man who shares her passion for the culinary arts. Her plate is full with planning and catering a fabulous wedding for her god-daughter, juggling extended dysfunctional family members and the local mob, and is less than thrilled to have a series of strange men appearing in her magnificent kitchen threatening her life. Dealing with this takes a determined woman and Agnes is up to the task. Not all sweetness and light, "Cranky" Agnes has a few anger management issues; she swings a mean frying pan.

Shane, "just Shane," is a hit man for the government. Asked to look after uncle Joey's "Little Agnes" and perform his job/craft regarding a mobster attending Agnes's god-daughter Maria's wedding, Shane is not surprised to learn Joey has left a few pertinent facts out of his story. There is a small matter of missing mobsters, a contract on Agnes, and $5 million that went missing thirty years ago. Soon Shane and Agnes are caught up in mystery, mayhem, and murder, as well as enjoying inevitable sparks between them. If they can only decide what to do with those flamingos. A fast paced, enjoyable read with plenty of saucy and snarky dialogue between the main characters, Agnes and the Hitman begs to be read from start to finish, more than once.

Attesting to the appeal of Crusie and Mayer's writing, on the way to dinner this evening I mentioned to the student circulation worker I had to go back upstairs and get my book to read. She said, "is it anything good?" I told her what I was reading, she was excited and yes, a bit envious. We immediately began to talk about the Crusie books we had read (Alas, she had not yet read any of Bob's titles beyond DLD) and bonded over the clever dust jacket and cover on Agnes. Her aunt is going to one of the Crusie/Mayer book signings on their current tour and has promised to get her an autographed copy of Agnes and the Hitman for Christmas. I gave my word I would bring her my copy of The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes, and told her to check out Bob's book Body of Lies. Everybody loves a good book.

Check out the Crusie Mayer website for more information on Agnes and their first novel Don't Look Down.

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