Wednesday, August 22, 2007
AGNES AND THE HITMAN, by Crusie/Mayer
Raise your hand if you're actually surprised that I'm reviewing this book the very day after it was released. Hmmm. No hands. You guys know me pretty well. :)
I've been waiting for this one for a while, just like many of you. I've got friends the world over (Quite literally. No, I'm not bragging, settle down over there. Yes, I mean you!) that have followed this book since before it was born. We've waited for it, and hoped for it, salivated for crumbs from it, celebrated over outtakes, even basked in the glow of drippings from it as very special holiday gifts. Some of us have met the authors and will be seeing them next week. (Yes, I KNOW it's ONE WEEK from tomorrow. I can't wait either!) And finally, finally, at a little after nine last night, my oldest girl child snuck into the Borders with me and helped me get my hands on my very own copy - soon to be one of YOUR very own signed copy.
Have you ever arranged your very hectic life around a book? Some of you are shaking your head in the affirmative, I can feel it. I did that with this book. My life has gone haywire this past six weeks, with friends passing away and friends giving birth and friends losing lots and gaining lots and me taking on a new more-than-full-time job and renters from hell and fighting spouses and so much more, and my only slice of sanity has been the thought of the new Crusie/Mayer book and my imminent departure to Ohio, of all places. It makes me laugh to think that I'm looking forward to Ohio, but you'd have to really know me, or read my personal blog often, to know why that's such a big deal. Knowing that (1)Agnes and the Hitman, the new (2)Romantic Adventure with the beautiful (3)Ta-Da! cover, by (4) Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer was finally going to be (5)on shelves August 21 (see, I got FIVE talking points in!) had me willingly working nine days straight, so I could have today all to myself, to be shared with only Agnes and Shane, Lisa Livia, Carpenter, Joey, Brenda, Maria, Palmer, Wilson, and, obviously, with Princess.
Of course, all good plans can go awry, as I learned early this morning. I sat on my front porch, book in hand, trying to read. I read the same sentence four times, not getting a word of it, while child number four yelled and child number six squealed, and dogs barked and horses whinnied and the goat made a racket almost as loud as a flamingo. I finally got through the sentence and just busted up laughing... It was hard concentrating with all the distractions... (AATHM, page 76). Truer words were never spoken.
Take one food writer named Cranky Agnes, add a hitman named Shane, mix them together with a Southern mob wedding, a missing necklace, two annoyed flamingos, and a dog named Rhett, and you've got a recipe for a sexy, hilarious novel about the disastrous side of true love...
Agnes Crandall's life goes awry when a dognapper invades her kitchen one night, seriously hampering her attempts to put on a wedding that she's staked her entire net worth on. Then a hero climbs through her bedroom window. His name is Shane - no last name, just Shane- and he has his own problems: He's got a big hit scheduled, a rival trying to take him out, and an ex-mobster uncle asking him to protect some little kid named Agnes. When he finds out that Agnes isn't so little, that his uncle has forgotten to mention a missing five million bucks he might have lost in Agnes's house, and that his last hit was a miss, Shane's life isn't looking so good , either. Then a bunch of lowlifes come looking for the money, a string of hitmen show up for Agnes, and some wedding guests gather with the intent to throw more than rice. Agnes and Shane have their hands full with greed, florists, treachery, flamingos, mayhem, mothers of the bride, and - most dangerous of all - each other.
Sounds good, eh? Well, duh! It's a Crusie/Mayer. Of course it's good. And I don't want to hear a single word about how it isn't really a Crusie, because of this or that. I'm telling you, it's a Crusie. A Crusie on speed maybe. A Crusie that has embraced the dark side of the soul for sure. But a Crusie nonetheless. It's got a lot of Mayer in there too, naturally. But a softer, gentler Mayer. Humor. Har. Indeed. Yes, it is fast paced. Yes, Agnes and Shane have a limited amount of time to finish off a To-Do list that includes finding a hitman, renovating a house, solving a twenty-five year old murder, staging a huge Mob wedding, and figuring out what love is really about. Less than a week to accomplish some pretty big things. Of course, their nights are pretty free. Or not. Depending on how you define "free". I define "free" as less distractions, enabling them to concentrate on the more important things in life. You'll probably agree, regardless of how long they may have technically known each other. That's not a criticism. The short timeline really works for me with Agnes and Shane. Really, really works.
Major differences between Agnes and the Hitman and the previous Crusie/Mayer collaboration, Don't Look Down? The body count is up, the laugh count is higher, and the food? Oh Lord, I would just about roll over on a Don for one plate of food from the kitchen at Two Rivers. There's trust and jealousy, revenge and redemption, loyalty and betrayal, flamingos and alligators, and cold-blooded murder to go with sex as hot as raspberries simmering in sugar in a heavy nonstick frying pan. Do you really want anything else when you open the pages of a book?
So take a hint from Agnes. Eat. As in - gobble up this book. Whatever. Just go out and grab this one as soon as you can.
Thank you, Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer, for bringing fun and laughter and love back into my life, when I needed it the most. It's been a long, hot summer, and this book arrived just in time.
Now be quiet out there. I've got a book to re-read.
Keep Turning Those Pages!
PS- Want the book? Blog for it! Copy/paste the cover .jpg and the highlighted Cover Copy onto your own blog, and link back here, or post me a comment. I'll list your blogs over on our sidebar. Next Wednesday, the night before I head out to Ohio, I'll have the oldest girl child pick a winner. You'll get my (slightly read) copy of AATHM. To make up for it being slightly read, I'll ask Jenny and Bob to sign it, just for YOU, when I see them on Thursday. NOW BLOG THIS BOOK ALREADY!