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Fast Women

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  9,776 ratings  ·  440 reviews
When a down-on-her-luck divorcee meets a determined-to-dominate detective, they find out that falling in love can be murder...
Nell Dysart's in trouble. Weighed down by an inexplicable divorce and a loss of appetite for everything, Nell is sleepwalking through life until her best friend finagles a job for her with a shabby little detective agency that has lots of potential...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published July 11th 2004 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published May 1st 2001)
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Bet Me by Jennifer CrusieCan You Keep a Secret? by Sophie KinsellaThe Notebook by Nicholas SparksMatch Me If You Can by Susan Elizabeth PhillipsIt Had to Be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Best Ever Contemporary Romance Books
83rd out of 2,502 books — 5,673 voters
Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie KinsellaBet Me by Jennifer CrusieMatch Me If You Can by Susan Elizabeth PhillipsNatural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth PhillipsWallbanger by Alice Clayton
Humorous Romance Books
72nd out of 1,708 books — 3,834 voters

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Community Reviews

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yeah, i'm surprised, myself. but it's a different kind of four-star rating. because while there were elements i thought were unsuccessful and dippy characters whose actions confused me, you don't sit down and eat a tub of frosting with a wooden spoon and then complain about the aftertaste.

i just don't usually have this much fun with the titles for the bodice rippers society. they are fine, but usually they are trying too hard to be sexxy, which is a total turn-off.

this one was goofier, and i th...more
mark monday
Mar 20, 2013 mark monday rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to mark by: RBRS (Assignment #6)
Shelves: romantika
my first contemporary (and heterosexual) romance. or in this case, a "romantic mystery". cute, fun, and even ocasionally interesting. the situations and attitudes depicted in this novel are so outside of my experience that at times i felt like i was reading a scifi novel. which was not a bad feeling.

do you live in a bubble?
interesting question. my first instinct is to say No, of course i don't. that's probably everyone's first instinct; who wants to live in a bubble, who wants to admit that?...more

OK, they're not really fast exactly, but c'mon, they only have fragile little stumpy china legs.

The Walking Ware may be only a metaphor (a pretty obvious one), but these women are Special Olympics fast, not Florence Griffith Joyner fast. They are like people who come out of comas and must slowly learn to walk again. Only, most of them seem to have never known how in the first place.

Suze seemed in some ways to have the most excuse for her retardation: she married an older man whom she met while...more
ALERT, ALERT, ALERT! I think I found one! A real romance novel that feels like a romance novel! It negated most of the problems I have with romance novels: that the people I'm supposed to like are assholes, that it all happens too fast and unrealistically, that the main characters spend all their time thinking about each others crazy crazy amazing bodies. And and and! Women's sexuality isn't fetishized as pure as the driven snow. Possessiveness happens, sure, but you know, when it's realistic. N...more
Evelyn Bryant
Not my first Cruisie book , but I believe it will be my last. I have heard good things about this author and have tried to read her. First off, I liked the fact the characters were not 20 somethings, formula, etc. I liked that Nell was attempting to move on past the bumps in the road that life had dealt her. I have no clue what purpose her best friends served. They were all three annoying ,tiresome women. Who would get a job they apparently need and set out to antagonize the boss? I can see clea...more
*****MINOR SPOILERS!!!********

1. Was anyone else REALLY disturbed about a 40 year old men having sex with an 18 year old high school student in a motel? And people looking at that photo and talking about how "in prime" Jack looked and NOT how it was a few months away from being statutory rape?

2. OMG that whole convo about Gale understanding why men HIT THEIR WOMEN? Are you F-ing kidding me? Um, men don't hit women because "they love them so much they can't have them leave, but they can't stay wi...more
“This does not sound like lust.”
“Thank God.”
“This sounds like luv.”

“Fast Women” is an entertaining contemporary mystery romance. It is about a group of people, who in some sense are all connected to each other. These connections are so complicated that I had to write a list of the characters for myself.

The main characters are Nell and Gabe. Gabe is devilish and tempting, Nell is “gracefully efficient” and go-ahead. Nell enters Gabe’s life, and she rearranges not only his office, but his who...more
I really enjoyed this book. I liked the central characters a lot, and it made me happy. There is humor in this book and an approach to love, romance, and marriage that is grown-up and realistic while still maintaining a sense of fun and optimism. This isn't the kind of romance novel where the leads spend the whole book trying to avoid having sex and then when they do it's just happily-ever-after. They have to work at their relationship. They have to negotiate with each other to get what they nee...more
I quite liked this one, as it was frothy and fun but still somehow realistic—Crusie is good at setting up relationships between both the main and the secondary romantic couples which don't rely on external forces to create angst and drama, but rather at showing how repeated patterns of behaviour can ruin relationships without any outside help. I also liked the fact that Crusie is always happy to show her female characters taking genuine pleasure in their food, but not in a neurotic way, and that...more
Jim son of Jim (formerly PhotoJim)
I'm not sure if I liked this or not.

What I did like: Some people have sex for stupid reasons. Some people have sex with people you don't think they should. Strong women. Columbus Ohio (where I live). Some amusing banter.

What I didn't like: All men are not bastards. More than I ever wanted to hear about china patterns. What's with freezers? Weak women. Somewhat incoherent plot. A couple of totally unreal characters (Chloe anyone?).

So some good, some bad. Overall a light and fun read by an author...more
Anne  (Booklady) Molinarolo
3.5 Stars

This novel is quirky and hilarious! The writing style is good overall, but I did
get confused at times by some of the dialogue - loss of 1/2 star. Gotta love those Dysart women!

Nell Dysart is sleepwalking through her life as a divorced woman. She didn't see it coming. And now she needs a job. She sits in Gabe McKenna's office at his detective agency and thinks of ways to fix it, all the while she is breaking a window, his chair arm, and poking a hole in his Oriental rug. McKenna hires Ne...more
Olga Godim
I love this writer. I’ve read everything she published and I subscribe to her blog. This re-read (it was originally published in 2001) gave me enormous pleasure and induced several laughing fits.
The story starts with the protagonist, Nell, coming to a job interview. She is a divorcee, still reeling from her husband’s betrayal after their 22 years of marriage. Her interviewer and potential employer, Gabe, owns a PI agency and he needs an office manager.
He picked up her resume. “Why did you leav
Horrible. I stopped reading half way through.

I don't know, I'm guessing I"m not the target demographic for this type of book because I found it extremely hard to relate to any of the characters. Being in my twenties, my humanist side roared with indignation at how appalling all these women acted and behaved, not to mention, the stereotypical ways all the men were portrayed. They were all manipulative, dysfunctional, and stupid people trying to do the "right" thing but actually doing the WRONG th...more
Jacob Proffitt
Gabe and Nell are awesome and the story was a lot of fun as well. I was a bit put off by the sex outside the main couple (both sleep with someone other than the main romance storyline during the course of the book, though both instances pull back pretty quick and happen early). I didn't realize that that would be a thing until I read it, but it turns out I'm not a fan—and yeah, I'm still trying to parse out why that bothers me and what aspects of it make a difference.

A note about Steamy: despite...more
I read Jennifer Crusie's "Bet Me" recently and just LOVED it. It is by far my favorite romance I've read in a long time. Maybe ever. I loved the characters, the crazy circumstances and the funny witty dialogue.

So imagine my disappointment with this book.

Nell Dysart is a control freak forty-something, too thin divorcee looking for a fresh start. Gabe is a control freak forty-something divorcee looking to maintain the status quo of his detective agency.

In theory this book could have been great....more
I'm giving this book four stars, not so much because I loved it, but because it had a strong emotional impact on me. Fast Women was not an easy book to read. It contained some heartrendingly-accurate descriptions of the pain, the anger, the self-doubt, and the exhausting circular thinking that attends the end of a marriage. Even though I was exasperated with almost every character in this novel at one point or another, I could identify with almost all of them because they were struggling with th...more
Mar 12, 2013 K rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: women seeking bodice ripper wish fulfillment thinly disguised as chick lit mystery
Meh. I was really hoping for more.

I was hoping this would be like a good Susan Isaacs book, something along the lines of Long Time No See or After all these years. Meaning yes, a light read with some romance and a happy ending, but also a mystery and unconventional main characters I'd actually meet, or would want to meet, in real life. I think Jennifer Crusie was trying for that effect and while I acknowledge some limited success, overall this book didn't make it for me.

We meet Nell, a beaten-do...more
One of my unofficial goals this year is to take part in more of the group reads in one of my online book groups, On the Porch Swing. The group often has interesting and lively discussions, and I wanted to be a part of that this year. To begin the year, January's pick was Fast Women by Jennifer Crusie. I have never read anything by this author before, although I have heard of her. She's a favorite in many circles.

I did not really know what to expect when I began reading Fast Women. When I hear Je...more
I liked it well enough, though at times I felt it was more a book about bad relationships than a romance, and I never really got a feel for who Gabe was.

I did like Nell as a character, and her growth was very nice to see. I also liked that this was a book featuring characters in their forties, who both had been married before.

The other side characters I disliked most of the time, because nobody seemed to take control over their life. But since it was one of the main topics of the book I guess it...more
Funny and witty, but a lot of characters to track...

One of the (regular-speed) women in our book club selected an author new to us, Jennifer Crusie. We picked up "Fast Women" out of amusement with the title, although we're not really sure the book is aptly named. Early on, we almost confused leading lady Nell Dysart with Evanovich's Stephanie Plum - on a job interview, Nell breaks just about everything she touches in the prospective boss's office. But detective Gabe McKenna hires her anyway, an...more
If you want to be happy and entertained you can't go wrong with a Jennifer Crusie novel. This one was filled with offbeat characters, snappy dialog, some sexy scenes here and there, and peppered throughout with a little wisdom and a lot of humor. Fast Women is set to the backdrop of a detective agency and has a decidedly 1940's vibe in a very modern story. There's lots of good chemistry between the characters, and an underlying question or theme regarding the pros and cons of marriage. Some of i...more
I've purchased this book on audio 3 times! The two occasions something has been wrong with the cassettes. I even wrote to the company and they helpfully sent me a new broken cassette. So for the third try, I moved into the digital age and downloaded it from I really do like Jennifer Crusie and the what I'd heard of the book so far convinced me I wasn't going to be wasting my money (again).

I didn't waste my money or my time. Fast Women is a fun and entertaining "read". It has really...more
Kathryn Bain
This book was a humorous romantic mystery. This is not a laugh-out-loud book, but you do find yourself giggling in quit a few places. Be warned, there is sex, but not too graphic, and the "f" word is used every once in a while. This is not a Christian book, it is secular, so the hero/heroine drink and have sex outside of marriage. That, however, is the world we live in.

I had most of the mystery figured out well before the end, but with all the antics of the heroine and her friends, I found myse...more
LG (A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions)
After Nell Dysart divorced her husband of 22 years, she lost her appetite for everything. Because her friends, Suze and Margie, are worried about her, she gets a job as a secretary at Gabe McKenna's detective agency. Of course, Gabe's biggest clients are also all the men who are or once were in Nell and her friends lives, so it's not like she's getting too fresh a start. Gabe's agency starts looking into a blackmail case involving those men, and things start getting very complicated.

This makes i...more
R.E. Mullins
May 08, 2013 R.E. Mullins rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those over thirty who understand life
I love this book. So funny. Ms. Crusie takes all the characters, plots and subplots and weaves them seamlessly together. For the 20 somethings who comment the characters weren't believable, I had to laugh. I know these people. Age does not necessarily bring maturity. Divorce kicks you on your ass and dating again sends you right back to high school behavior. I got it and it was beautifully done.
Loved the dog as I've had my own doxy and they are so manipulative.

I loved the conversations and humo...more
I read this story because it was compared to the Stephanie Plum series. Although, the story did have some humor and likable characters, it did not match the title. I was expecting smart, strong female characters, but they were all pretty submissive to the male characters. Maybe the main character wised up in the end, but I still wouldn't consider her "fast". Plus, there were too many characters in this story. It wasn't until half way through the book that I was able to figure out who was who. Al...more
I have finished this book... It was my first go at Jennifer Crusie... I am not sure what turned me off on this one... I think the family on top of family was confusing a bit... and at one point I thought it was incesteous LOL... corrected quickly but I was like HUH???... and I think the age group was a bit off for me... I think I prefer younger/not divorced heros/heroines based on my relating to this book. So I learned some things with this one... It was funny in parts though and I think it was...more
I was reading this book even though there was parts of it that I wasn't crazy about. But then I got to the bottom of page 244 and stopped reading. Thats the page where the lead male character says he understands why men hit women. I didn't finish the book, couldn't. Yes he was frustrated with her and all the changes she was making to his office and life..but still.

Heres the deal. I read chic lit to laugh, to escape. I expect it to be kinda silly and just fun. That comment he made about hitting w...more
This book made me laugh. Really hard. lol. I think that the characters were just funny, even though they probably weren't meant to be funny now that I think about it. But they seemed like such ordinary people, like maybe a next door neighbor or someone that you might know. That made the book more interesting and easier to relate to.

Plus the situations were funny and the mystery was definitely interesting and kept me guessing. I am already reading another one of her books. I'm on a Crusie binge a...more
FAST WOMEN by Jennifer Cruise didn't really tickle my fancy. I found it very hard to keep up with all the characters, mainly because there was just so much going on.
I didn't find it to be a mystery nor quite a romance either. At one point it became very repetitious and extremely drawn out.

When Nell Dysart and her husband of 22 years get a divorce she finds herself weighed down by depression. She decides to accept a position as a secretary for a bedraggled detective agency. Nell sees some promise...more
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Jenny Crusie is the NYT bestselling author of twenty some novels and lots of other stuff. Her latest novel, Maybe This Time, hit shelves in August, 2010.

Jenny lives on the Ohio River where she often stares at the ceiling and counts her blessings.
More about Jennifer Crusie...
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“I like my afterglow with you in motion. I measure time by how your body sways.” 15 likes
“Drink to me! I just realized that I've slept with everyone at this table! ~Nell” 12 likes
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