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Don't Look Down

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SHE is a director of dog food commercials who's just been recruited to finish a four-day movie shoot. But as soon as Lucy Armstrong arrives on set, she discovers that the staff is in chaos, the make-up artist is suicidal, and the stunt director just happens to be her ex-husband. That, and the temperamental lead actor has just acquired as an advisor a Green Beret who has the aggravating habit of always being right. HE thought that hiring on as a military consultant for a movie star was a to-die-for easy work, easy money, easier starlets. But his first day on the job, Captain J.T. Wilder ends up babysitting a bumbling comedian, dodging low-flying helicopters, and trying to find out who's taking "shooting a movie" much too literally.

384 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published April 4, 2006

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About the author

Jennifer Crusie

81 books7,262 followers
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.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 543 reviews
Profile Image for Brownbetty.
343 reviews164 followers
February 15, 2008
This book's main problem is that it is actually two decent books with the exact same plot, cut up and interleaved to produce one rather mediocre book. Crusie co-writes this one with Bob Mayer, who may write a decent manly-men with manly-weapons adventure book, (on which subject, remind me later to mention the one point of I-believe-unintentional hilarious homoerotic innuendo) but whose ability at writing a fluffy romance hovers at slightly above zero. I actually attempted to discover if this was because the book was being pushed in two markets, but as near as I can tell, it has only ever been published with the cover you see. On the basis of the cover given, one could be excused, I believe, for expecting a fluffy and amusing romance, not a tale of heavily armed men having shoot-outs in swamps.

Mayer writes the sections that are from the POV of the male protagonist, and Crusie the sections from the POV of the female protagonist. The result is that Lucy, the woman, seems likable, charming, and competent, and J.T. (I don't think we ever learn what that stands for,) seems to like guns and sex. Not that these are not satisfactory interests, but they really failed to make me care if he he lived or died.

I had to force myself to finish this book, and I don't think I so much as chuckled, which for a Crusie book, is a massive fail. Oh, homoeroticism! I think I chuckled at that. One moment, while I find it: damn, cannot find it, but, at one point, J.T. does think fondly of his days with the army as "Manly men doing manly things with other manly men," if I have the quote right. I laughed at that.
Profile Image for Rachel.
691 reviews61 followers
April 29, 2010
Good thing that Crusie & Mayer didn't stop with this book! I read Agnes and the Hitman first, and just trust me: put this one down and go get Agnes. MUCH better.

The plot in DLD is convoluted, and there are certain twists that never seem fully explained. The attraction between Wilder and Lucy just feels forced. It's immediately assumed to be love at first sight, which is just not something I'm sold on. By the end I was racing to get through just to be done. Crusie's usual laugh-out-loud humor is barely noticeable in this book. Once again, trust me...go get Agnes and the Hitman. A much more worthy novel from Crusie & Mayer. I'm hoping that if they do any further collaborations, that it follows the footsteps of Agnes, not DLD.

Would I have liked this more had I not read Agnes first? Eh. Maybe. But the chemistry between the characters just didn't sizzle, the plot kept twisting and answering fewer questions than it raised...so, maybe a half star more, but not much.
Profile Image for SheriC.
679 reviews34 followers
July 7, 2017
This degenerated from silly but cute to just plain old stupid. The plot is an unnecessarily convoluted and nonsensical plot that somehow injects into a Romance. Maybe it’s being purposefully meta, since that’s apparently what’s happened to the hot mess of a movie that our heroine has been hired to finish.

This heroine and her hero, ugh. She knows the guy for all of three days, and hasn’t even slept with him, thinks he doesn’t even have any romantic or sexual interest in her at all, but she’s considering moving herself and her family from NY & LA, respectively, to a swamp in Florida so he can be a part of her life. Then she just literally walks into a swamp in the dark in hopes of finding him so she can have sex with him. And she does! And they do! And it’s awesome! No bugs or anything.

I think it was at this point that I got so frustrated with this story, and cared so little about the characters or what happened to them, that it took real willpower to power on to the end rather than DNFing. I got through it by cheering on the alligator.

Hardcover version. I read this for the 2017 Booklikes-opoly square Cars Land 18: Read a book that was published in 2006, 2011, 2013, or 2014, the years of Cars and its sequels, or that has a car on the cover. This book was published in 2006.
Profile Image for Kaethe.
6,403 reviews462 followers
October 17, 2021
Fun, fun, fun. I love the mash-up of the chick lit and the commando, and I love the packaging even: under the chick lit dustjacket is a camo cover. Hah! Fun for readers who enjoy explosions and danger and smooching. Sounds like True Lies, doesn't it?
Profile Image for Jacob Proffitt.
2,937 reviews1,547 followers
March 21, 2014
Yes, I did tag this both action and romance. I was a little worried with this one because Crusie has a co-author (Bob Mayer) and I liked her just fine the way she was. Uh, is. I needn't have worried. Everything I like about Crusie romances was still there. Excellent characters, yummy hero (only yummier if you can imagine, for being a real Green Beret), and a solid plot that flows naturally from who the characters are. Mayer's contribution seems to be all the details that make the action work so very well. J.T.'s relationships with his team and all the things he could do (and his limitations) just felt right. And the actiony bits were tightly written and well-paced, too.

In all, a very enjoyable read and I'll be less worried next time I run into one of their collaborations (I know there's at least one more). Romance took a bit of a hit because the whole book is a total of about four days and that's a bit short to get to the "I love yous", but then, it was a very busy four days with a lot of good emotional connection and opportunities for J.T. and Lucy to develop a solid foundation of trust. So it worked, is what I'm saying, and I didn't even have to edit it in my head to get there...

A note about Steamy: This was a light steam level with one and a half explicit scenes and a few flirty/sexy bits thrown in here and there.
Profile Image for Dianne.
1,557 reviews117 followers
November 3, 2021
I don't understand how this book could have been so bad when "Agnes and the Hitman" was so good. Same writing team, same style, but no spark. Oh well!
Profile Image for Olga Godim.
Author 12 books71 followers
September 10, 2012
I read everything by Jennifer Crusie, so when her first collaborative book with Bob Mayer was published in 2006, I bought it, read it, and enjoyed it. Tremendously. This is a re-read and it stood the test of time.
It has everything you might wish from a comic romantic suspense novel: a movie setting, a series of helicopter stunts, a Green Beret, a crocodile with a personality, a nefarious heist, CIA fumbling, Russian mobsters (implied), and a cargo of jade penises. Yes, jade penises, pre-Columbian Mexican art, presumably a remedy for erectile dysfunction. And of course, a love story.
I don’t need to recap the event-studded plot here, but I’d like to say that it was superbly constructed by the two masters of the writing craft.
The heroine Lucy Armstrong is a movie director who prefers to shoot TV commercials. She hates feature films, considering them a “logistic nightmare.” But when her younger sister Daisy, who works on a feature film set, begged Lucy to come and finish the disintegrating movie, Lucy can’t refuse. Although she is a troubleshooter by trade and an Amazon by looks, at heart she is a softie. She’d do anything to fix Daisy’s problems.
Unfortunately, the problems Lucy encounters on this particular set are way out of her league. As soon as she gets out of her car, she is sucked into the morass of greed and deceit, felonious schemers and double-crossing mercenaries. Lucy can handle ambitious actors and snotty assistants but she is helpless against sabotage and murder. And to make matters worse, Daisy isn’t talking.
Lucky for Lucy, here comes Captain Wilder, an army man slash stuntman slash consultant for the movie star. Like a knight in shining armor, he whizzes in on a helicopter, dressed in camouflage fatigues, and starts solving the unsolvable problems. He gets a rare sticker book for Lucy’s five-year-old niece Pepper, saves the movie star’s ass in a bar brawl, and deals quietly and efficiently with a psychopathic killer.
Lucy, who had always been the strong one in the family, suddenly feels taken care of, protected. Despite the turmoil on the set, she trusts Captain Wilder to keep her and her family safe. Her love for the dashing hero is almost inevitable, although the origins of his love for her are harder to pinpoint.
What makes this story really outstanding is that the two protagonists, Lucy and Wilder, were written respectively by Crusie and Mayer. The female writer wrote the female POV. The male writer wrote the male POV. As a result, their dialogs are pretty hilarious. And the thought process behind the dialogs is even more so, inviting us, readers, to appreciate the differences between male and female of the human species.
There is a well-known anecdote, or maybe it was a true story, about an interview the authors gave after the book’s publication. Mayer said that upon reading one of his chunks of narrative, Crusie suggested that at a certain point his hero should apologize to her heroine. He was baffled, asked why, and received no real answer except something along the lines of ‘he just should.’ As a true collaborator, he included his hero’s apology in the next revision. Neither the hero nor his author knew why it was necessary. They probably still don’t know, but judging by the novel’s success, it was the right thing to do.
The novel comes out as a romantic caper, thrumming with sensual tension, vibrating with danger, and roaring with laughter. A reader’s delight on all counts.
I have only one small objection – a pet peeve of mine. The Captain’s name is J. T. – J. T. Wilder. I hate such monikers. Couldn’t the writer think of a real name? Couldn’t he name his protagonist John or James or Jeremy? Anything would better than J. T.
Profile Image for Sophie.
34 reviews26 followers
January 9, 2013

I had fun with this one, but I have to admit that it can be described pithily by a word that is very over-used in its pages: clusterfuck.

There is ALOT going on in this book all the time. It's kinda hard to pay attention to what's happening and suspension of disbelief is very necessary to enjoy this book, much like the Die Hard movies. I just went along for the ride, which was fun once I stopped trying to make sense of it.

Aside from the abundant humour, Crusie's draw for me is her characters. Funnily enough, the character I liked best, next to René the horn-dog Cajun, was the psychotic Tyler. I like villains, especially Crusie's, but this book shortchanged its bad guys. If the craziness of the plot could have been whittled down to dealing with...well, just whittled down, I think this book might have been a little less schizophrenic.

The romance is sweet, if a bit awkward (and rushed - whole thing happens in three days). It is somewhat spoiler-ish, but it must be said that . Maybe because the plot is so bombastically huge, the lovers don't get the time they need.

This is absolute brain candy, maybe not a Ferrero Rocher, but a Twizzler or something along those lines. A Ding Dong, maybe.

Context Free Quote:
���It’s my backup gun. You can have my primary if you want. Anything for you.”
“That’s really sweet, J.T.” Lucy looked at the gun as if it were going to bite her. “Next time, try jewelry.”

-and one more, because I loved René that much-

“She an actress?” LaFavre said.
“No, she’s the Angel of Death,” Wilder said.
“I’ve done one or two of those,” LaFavre said, unfazed. “Got to use the dark swamp voodoo on them.”
Profile Image for Jim.
Author 7 books2,027 followers
June 10, 2015
I didn't like this as much as Agnes and the Hitman since it tried to be serious most of the time rather than tongue-in-cheek. The rather convoluted plot dragged on a bit because of that, but it was still a fun ride. The reading was excellent since the point of view changes between man & woman were read by the appropriate sex & the readers were both very good.
Profile Image for Jennavier.
1,182 reviews36 followers
May 17, 2015
I have no idea where this book thought it was going. I liked some of the characters but didn't buy the romance. On top of that the mystery wasn't all that interesting. The ending felt haphazard and I never got the 'resolved' feeling. This isn't my least favorite Crusie but it's a close second.
Profile Image for Anita.
2,100 reviews146 followers
March 22, 2013
If you are looking for a Harliquin Romance - read something else. What you get here is a fast paced, action adventure with so many plot twists and turns you don't know till the very end what is happening. What makes this book so good is that the characters actually speak with different voices due to the writing partnership of Jennifer Cruise and Bob Mayer. Bob Mayer adds so much to this romantic suspense by the fact that he talks guy. Macho guy. It is so fun to hear what an actually guy thinks and feels.

This book had me on the first page: "The low country,... a euphemism for soggy with a chance of alligator." Lucy Armstrong is brought in to finish a 4 day movie shoot by her ex-husband Connor Nash. In flies (literally) Special Forces Green Beret J.T. Wilder and the fun begins.

I love Jennifer Cruise. She is my go to when I want to escape and find my happy place. Humor, suspense, romance, and sex are all woven together to make a really special blend that is unique to her. Add Bob Mayer and you get action, adventure and so much more.

I actually picked a cast in my mind for this one:

Lucy - Catherin Zeta Jones
J.T. - John Cena
Daisy - Gwyneth Paltrow
Conner - Gerald Butler
Crawford - (plays Lance Sweets on Bones)
Profile Image for Katyana.
1,463 reviews192 followers
September 16, 2018
This is a tough one to rate, because there was stuff I really enjoyed about it, and stuff I really didn't.

Firstly, Lucy is a freaking fantastic heroine. She's tough, smart, loyal, capable, funny, and exactly the kind of woman I'd like to be. This book is filled with lines comparing her to Wonder Woman, and it wasn't cheesy, because that's really who she is. But not in an annoying way - not like, I'm a badass and you should all worship me - but in a quiet, strong way. Her only flaw was Wilder.

And that brings me to the primary problem in this book. I won't say that I entirely disliked him, but I definitely disliked lots about him. And I don't feel like he deserves Lucy. Or even necessarily particularly wants her. I mean, I bought that he had some affection for her by the end, but I think that he was surprised by how fast she jumped in, and never got to that level himself. Which is hard to accept, because Lucy deserves that. That said, the fact that this all happens over 4 days makes his level of attachment the more sane one. Which is why I said that he is Lucy's flaw - she went way above and beyond with him.

Wilder has plenty of his own flaws. It's frankly hard to get excited about a hero who, in the first like 20% of the book, has sex with the plastic actress just because, hey, well, big boobs and she was right there, why would I say no? Ugh.

There were some other points of criticism, which I'm going to put in spoiler tags:

As always, with Crusie and Meyer, I love the banter. But I think this book just required way too much suspension of disbelief... both in terms of the action/suspense plot and the romance plot. It needed more time to play out. And less over-the-top evil or crazy,

Profile Image for Margo.
1,921 reviews64 followers
September 27, 2020
I wasn't sold on how awesome the hero was supposed to be, and the fact that the heroine basically worshipped him by the end made me lose any respect I was supposed to have for her. Also, not safe in any way, shape, or form.
Profile Image for Christy.
Author 25 books64 followers
March 23, 2008
Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer are both well-known authors, each writing in different genres, and I enjoy reading each one. They joined together for "Don't Look Down" and overall their voices blended quite well. As for the plot and characterization, well, that's another thing.

Lucy Armstrong makes a living directing dog food commercials in New York. When she's asked by her former husband, stunt coordinator Connor Nash, to direct the action scenes for a movie being filmed in South Carolina, she jumps at the chance in hopes of moving her career forward. On-set are her sister, Daisy, and niece, Pepper, and Lucy is looking forward to being with them. But Daisy is stressed and on something and Pepper is unhappy and isolated. When Lucy meets the male star's stunt double, Army man J.T. Wilder, she's put off by his stoicism. From the start, things go wrong with the planned stunts, and it doesn't take Lucy long to find out Wilder's working for the CIA and her ex-husband is involved in a money laundering scheme between an Irishman and a Russian. Lucy and Wilder team up to try to control an uncontrollable situation which leads to an intimate relationship between them.

There's plenty of action with this book, along with hot romance between Lucy and Wilder, but the plot seems not only meandering but confusing. The ending left questions in this reader's mind concerning secondary characters' involvement in the money laundering scheme as well as the mindset of the two main characters, neither of which seemed fazed by death and destruction. As a man who doesn't give two thoughts to killing another person, Wilder isn't a particularly likable character. Lucy's feelings for her sister and niece are nicely portrayed, but all in all, she comes across as indecisive and ungrounded.

488 reviews56 followers
May 13, 2007
The one where Lucy is brought in at the last minute to direct the end of a movie (though her specialty is ads for dog food) and J.T. is brought in as the "military consultant" for the star, and Pepper, Lucy's 5-year-old niece, is kidnapped.

Enjoyable, in a light-snack sort of way, but not something I'd go out of my way to read again.

Thrillers aren't much my style; a lot of the mystery stuff involving the Russian mafia and the stolen art implements and the IRA and the money laundering just *bored* me.

Oddly, Crusie's romantic relationships never work as well for me as her family relationships do, and her sex is (in my slash-saturated mind) not especially sexy. The family stuff was nice, and Lucy's arc (from "I'll take care of everything" to "we'll figure it out together") was nice.

J.T.'s arc was pastede on yay! and you could *see* where someone said, "He has to change emotionally" and Mayer went, "OK, let's have him spend a couple sentences in the last chapter being shocked how much he likes the little girl." On the other hand, his voice was nicely dry and sarcastic.

Tyler was deeply creepy but in the end what on earth was he doing there?

Pepper was terrific, a very plausible five-year-old, and I liked the way you could spot the good guys from the bad guys based on who lied to her and who didn't.

And it was *so nice* to read a romance where all the conflict didn't revolve around the heroine's assertiveness problem!
Profile Image for Jane Stewart.
2,462 reviews847 followers
September 16, 2010
I was annoyed and irritated with the writing style. Lucy was constantly being interrupted.

For example, A said something to Lucy. B said something on a different subject to Lucy. Lucy answered B. A said something else again. Lucy then answers A. There were many times that two or more conversations were happening at the same time interrupting each other. Later when Lucy was alone with Wilder, she asked him a question, but before he could answer, her cell phone rang, so we didn't get to hear his answer. I found myself frequently annoyed. The authors create mystery simply because conversations are not being done or completed in a normal manner. I also did not like the character of Lucy. She would jump to erroneous conclusions, then later would have to do something different because she had been wrong. She told little white lies to her niece. I would have preferred gentle honesty. Other characters were not likeable or did stupid things. The only character I did like was Wilder, the military consultant. I wanted the book to be over. I did not enjoy it.

Sexual language: moderate. Number of sex scenes: three. Setting: current day Savannah River, southern US. Copyright: 2006. Genre: romantic suspense.
Profile Image for Laura (Kyahgirl).
2,063 reviews144 followers
July 12, 2010
I read this book a few years ago and thought it was pretty funny. I recently saw it on audio at the library and decided to listen. Its still a good story. I get a laugh out of the male point of view offered by Bob Mayer. I'm pretty sure he's responsible for the liberal sprinkling of 'clusterfuck' throughout the book.

The two voices (Crusie and Mayer) blend really well. The story has elements of farce but it is well anchored with relationships; the two sisters, the aunt and her niece, the aunt and her gay assistant, the flaky cast and crew members, the Green Beret and his pilot buddy, the CIA guy and the Green Beret. I even got a kick out of the sniper and the one eyed alligator.

These two authors really are good together. I automatically pick up anything I see by them and check it out.
Profile Image for Sara.
162 reviews8 followers
July 1, 2019
One of my favorite authors to revisit is Jennifer Crusie. Her books are just full of fun, exciting, and hilarious characters. I especially enjoy her collaborative books. Don't Look Down, written with Bob Mayer, is wonderful. I had previously given it a 4 star rating, but after re-reading again, I am definitely bumping it up to 5 stars. It has a cool and fun mystery/adventure about figuring out what heist is trying to be pulled. The main characters, JT and Lucy, have chemistry in spades. And Lucy's niece Pepper is a delight. There isn't a single character I disliked. They were all fully fleshed out (even the supposed big-boobed bimbo actress...also, no pun intended there, hahaha!) and had such wonderful quirks and personalities.
This is the perfect summer novel to float in the pool and enjoy.
Profile Image for Marti Dolata.
266 reviews35 followers
May 16, 2020
If you, like me, enjoy both gritty military thrillers and funny chick-lit romances, you'll really enjoy this book. If you don't care for one of these genres, YMMV. As the first collaboration between former Green Beret Bob Mayor and humorous romance writer Jennifer Crusie, it is a bit uneven, but they really do it right in their next book, Agnes and the Hitman. Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie
Profile Image for Anne.
26 reviews
July 18, 2012
"Klappe, Liebling!
Eigentlich dreht Regisseurin Lucy Armstrong Hundewerbespots, aber nun soll sie einspringen, um die letzten Szenen eines Actionfilms zu Ende zu drehen. Doch am Set herrscht das reinste Chaos - zerstrittene Darsteller, ein unverständliches Drehbuch - und dann auch noch das: Kriminelle nutzen die Dreharbeiten für ihre illegalen Machenschaften. Lucy versucht entschlossen, den Ganoven das Handwerk zu legen. Dabei findet sie in Stuntman J.T. Wilder mehr als nur einen hilfreichen Verbündeten..." (Klapptext)

Zuerst einmal, wer dieses Buch lesen will, sollte nicht den inneren Klapptext lesen. Ich habe ihn zum Glück erst am Ende des Buches gelesen (warum auch immer) und bin sehr froh darüber, denn er verrät ziemlich viel von der Geschichte und nimmt damit glaube sehr viel Spannung weg.

Ich habe dieses buch von einer Freundin geschenkt bekommen, weil es um eine Regisseurin und Filmarbeiten geht. Sie hat es entdeckt und dabei an mich gedacht. Von alleine wäre ich sicher nicht darauf gestoßen, denn ich kenne weder die Autorin Jennifer Crusie noch den Autor Bob Mayer.

Rein von der Aufmachung des Buches (rosa und gelb gehaltenes Cover mit einer stilisierten Filmkamera um die Herzen fliegen) habe ich mit einer Liebesgeschichte gerechnet. Diese ist auch vorhanden, aber tritt nicht so sehr in den Vordergrund wie vermutet. Ohne zuviel verraten zu wollen, kann ich nur sagen, dass es vorrangig um die kriminellen Machenschaften und das Chaos am Set geht. Es gab viel mehr "Action" und Spannung als ich erwartet habe.

Das besondere an dem Buch ist, dass Jennifer Crusie und Bob Mayer das Buch zusammen geschrieben haben. Das Buch ist teilweise aus der Sicht von der Regisseurin Lucy Armstrong, teilweise aus der Sicht von J.T. Wilder und auch aus der Sicht einer dritten Person, auf die ich nicht genauer eingehen will, geschrieben. Jennifer Crusie schrieb also den Part von Lucy und Bob Mayer die männlichen Parts. Ich finde man merkt diesen Unterschied und meiner Meinung nach tut das der Geschichte wirklich gut. Jeder Mensch hat eine andere Art zu denken und so wird der Unterschied deutlicher.

Allgemein fand ich dieses Buch gut. Es ist flüssig zu lesen und ich mag die beiden Hauptcharaktere, welches zwei wirklich starke Persönlichkeiten sind.
Was mir nicht gefallen hat ist das Durcheinander. Am Set läuft nichts wie es eigentlich sollte und die ganze Story in dem Drehbuch macht überhaupt keinen Sinn. Daher ist es für mich unverständlich, dass noch soviele Leute dort mitarbeiten (es sind ja nicht alle involviert). Außerdem finde ich die eigentliche Liebesgeschichte viel zu übertrieben in meinen Augen. Jeder hat was mit jedem wie es scheint und mittendrin soll in den 4 Tagen, in denen das Buch spielt, so eine starke Liebe wachsen? Für mich ist das unrealistisch...jedenfalls in diesem Ausmaß. Dadurch musste ich immer mal wieder mit dem Kopf schütteln.
Ein kleiner Pluspunkt war für mich Wonder Woman, da ich ein großer Comicfan bin. Nein sie taucht nicht als Person in der Geschichte auf, aber Lucy Armstrong wird sowohl äußerlich, als auch charakterlich oft mit ihr verglichen. Dadurch hatte ich ein schönes Bild von ihr als Person.

Es ist ein leicht zu lesendes Buch für Zwischendurch. Es hat mich nicht umgehauen, aber da es komplett anders war, als ich erwartet hatte, bekommt es von mir 3 Sterne!
Profile Image for Malin.
1,418 reviews71 followers
May 28, 2010
Lucy Armstrong is regretting letting her sleazeball of an ex-husband talk her into flying to Savannah to finish the last four days of filming some movie he's stunt coordinator on. She wanted to see her sister and five-year-old niece, but so far her sister Daisy seems worn-down and strung-out, and her niece Pepper is manically pretending that nothing is wrong with the grown-ups around her. The movie set is a mess, the previous director died, most of the crew have quit, the stunts Lucy is supposed to film don't seem to fit into the rest of the narrative at all, her ex seems to think this a good time to get back in her good graces, and the star has hired some ex-Green Beret, who no one else wants on set, to be his stuntman.

Captain J.T. Wilder thought being a stunt-man and a military consultant for a clumsy movie star would be easy money, after all, there's only four days of shooting left on set. Instead, he is recruited by the C.I.A to spy on the movie set, as the movie is apparently funded by an ex-I.R.A terrorist, who wants to launder money through it. Bryce, the comedian who wants to turn action star, seems to idolize him and wants to learn as much as he can. The stunt coordinator obviously hates his guts, the female star wants to get in his pants, the director's niece keeps ending up in life-threatening situations, and the director herself, while stressed and bossy, looks rather amazing in a Wonder Woman outfit.

Jennifer Crusie is the author of several best-selling contemporary romance novels. Bob Mayer has written a number of action-adventure, and sci-fi novels under his own and various pen-names. The two met during a writers' conference and became friends. This is the first of their collaborative novels (they've written two more - Agnes and the Hitman and Wild Ride), and it is, very fittingly, a mix between action-adventure and romance. According to an interview with the authors, most of the book was written via e-mail, where Crusie wrote Lucy Armstrong's scenes, and Mayer wrote J.T. Wilder's, then they cleaned up the manuscript together. Crusie also imagined Lucy Lawless as a model for Lucy Armstrong (which I did not know when I read the book, but which fits wonderfully, especially with all the Wonder Woman comparisons), while Mayer saw Wilder pretty much like Kurt Russell from Soldier.

The book starts very abruptly, and I would possibly have liked to spend a bit more time getting to know J.T. I definitely would have liked to know what his actual name was. The book is a lot more action-packed than Crusie's contemporary romances, and this is not a problem. My niggles with the book is more with the lack of characterization with some of the characters, as mentioned, the hero himself is fairly loosely sketched out. The pair's second collaboration, Agnes and the Hitman was both funnier and more satisfying, so I will be giving Wild Ride a chance. No writer (and certainly no two writers) write perfect books every time.
Profile Image for Rosie Read.
236 reviews8 followers
July 17, 2013
My initial impression was not good, in my review of Anyone but You I waxed lyrical about how Crusie manages to spin a whole cast of rich characters with out making it confusing, not so in Don't Look Down. Within the first few pages the reader is subjected to a huge 'infodump' including a whole host of characters, most of which I couldn't keep straight for the first few chapters or so, in the words of J.T Wilder what a "clusterfuck". On the topic of J. T. Wilder himself I have many a word to say.

Initially I was really intrigued by the concept of the Crusie/Mayer collaboration, having a man write the male character's POV and a woman the female POV seemed an inspired idea. However, I think Crusie and Mayer come from such different backgrounds that this really didn't gel well at all. Crusie is all about the heart and the dialogue, Mayer, in his own words, is all about the killing.

Lucy is the archetypal Crusie heroine, dealing with life's blows and rushing to help everyone in sight, with a healthy dose of snark mixed in. The relationship between Lucy and her sister is wonderfully written and Pepper is an enchanting young addition to the cast. Considering the novel takes place over a four day period things do move a tad too fast for me (but what's new in the romance world?) but the obligatory sex scenes do seem to lack any real depth or vigour (...er, excuse the word choice.).

It is clear that this is the first collaboration between Crusie and Mayer and that it was most definitely a work in progress and even something that was still being negotiated with publishers. Personally I think that the two voices are too distinct in this initial venture and that the transition between the two characters is jarring to say the least. You can also tell that Crusie crafted the majority of the padding of the novel so the Mayer/Wilder sections really do pop.

I am not entirely put off by the premise which definitely has promise and I will be giving Agnes and the Hitman a go.

Full review at Rosie Reads Romance
Profile Image for Lemunty.
6 reviews
December 13, 2010
Let me make one thing clear. I am a colossal nerd, it's true. I read complicated, boring books for fun; this is also true. I read vast amounts of chick-lit; this is also a fact. Undeniable. If it doesn't seem to fit, well, I don't care. I'm perpetually on the hunt for good chick-lit, given how many, many, many, bad examples of the genre litter the literary landscape these days. I have a few authors that I may rely upon for sufficiently interesting characters, a plot that extends beyond millionaires, unplanned pregnancies and improbable rescues from moustachioed villains. Jennifer Crusie is one of those.

I enjoy her novels, usually, because of her atypical heroines, and her quick and ready wit. This one is unusual, firstly, because she's partnering with Bob Mayer. Apparently, they take turns writing from the male and female perspective, focusing on 'military themed romance'. This particular story features a female stunt double, hefty doses of phallic imagery, swamp-stalking madmen, a fair portion of romance, an adorable little niece, and a pre-Columbian collection of phallic symbols made of jade. Yes, it is as crazy as it sounds. And yes, it is as much fun. I bought this for my sister, who likes Crusie's writing but ended up reading it a couple of nights ago and enjoying it quite a bit. At some point I'm going to develop a framework of analysis for chick-lit novels, evaluating them on a list of factors, including PC-feminist lingo and sexual stereotypes, but for now, let me say, this one's up at the top of list.There's enough action and romance to satisfy the little boy and girl in everyone.
384 reviews4 followers
January 9, 2015
Movie Director Lucy Armstrong is self-made and self-sufficient. Against her better judgment, she accepts a four day job to finish the last scenes of a movie for which her ex-husband is the stunt coordinator. When she arrives at the movie set on the Savannah River she finds a depleted crew and total chaos, but no one will tell her why.

Green Beret Captain J. T. Wilder arrives from nearby Fort Bragg at the same time that Lucy does. Hired to be a stunt double for the movie's star, he is also a CIA plant. Sparks immediately begin to fly between Lucy and J. T., much to the aggravation of Lucy's ex-husband who hoped to use their time together to win her back.

J. T. finds out the helicopter stunt is a cover for getting stolen art and pre-Columbian jade phallic symbols into the hands of a Russian mobster wanted by the CIA. To complicate matters, a killer lurks in the swamps along the river and a one-eyed alligator guards her eggs under the bridge where most of the filming takes place.

Crusie is a master at creating female characters that readers love. Lucy is a strong woman with idiosyncrasies that make her appealing and sympathetic. J. T., brave, loyal and stupid about women, has flaws that make him less appealing. He and his friend, helicopter pilot Major LaFavre, seem to have a fetish about women's breasts. They have one important meeting in a strip club where it is almost impossible to focus on their mission.

With a plot full of holes and a hero who is borderline, Don't Look Down is still readable with an exciting ending, but it lacks the quick wit and warm humor that make Crusie's other books such outstanding reads.
Profile Image for Bonnie Randall.
Author 5 books90 followers
November 28, 2014
You know, I like a good bar fight. And a shot in the nuts always livens up the party: “The combination of smashed balls and pummeled kidneys caused Doofus One to go to his knees and collapse forward.”
There is just never a time when a kick in the coins isn’t funny.

Don’t Look Down is a scream. Mayer’s dry manliness is not, I don’t think, meant to be *intentionally* funny—yet that makes it even more hilarious. Crusie’s in fine form with wit and timing, and the ensemble cast of quirky birds is super. (Such as Bryce, the movie ‘star’, a mimbo (male bimbo) who seems just as bewildered by his own star status as everyone else is—especially heroine Lucy, who reflects that: “Bryce was exactly the kind of guy who’d get eaten by an alligator while feeding it snack cakes.” God, yes).

The plot here is complicated (but capers *are* complicated), yet is well worth sorting through for the laugh-on-every-page dialogue and internalizations. Heroine Lucy is just smart enough, sexy enough, and vulnerable enough to be totally wonderful. JT’s personality is a little thin, but hey, he’s a green beret; he ain’t givin’ up any secrets other than his penchant for guns, boobs, and the word ‘clusterfuck’.

A cute moppet named Pepper and a sidekick called Gloom round out this gong-show of strip clubs, swamps, a sniper and a couple steamy rounds of hot sex. So if you’d like a few giggles and a couple full-on belly laughs, Don’t Look Down is a blast. 4 Funny Stars.
Profile Image for JG (Introverted Reader).
1,113 reviews482 followers
February 26, 2009
Lucy Armstrong is a director who makes dog food commercials--by choice, not lack of talent. Her ex-husband has asked her to come in and finish directing an action flick that he's coordinated the stunts for. The real director has just died with only four days of shooting left to go. She reluctantly agrees. Things get interesting when she shows up on the set and finds out that her star has hired a stunt double. But not just any stunt double. Meet Captain J. T. Wilder of the Green Berets. Wilder is smokin' hot and attracted to Lucy. Despite obvious distractions, the pair are still aware that something weird is happening on this movie set. They set out to find out what it is, and to find out more about each other.

Okay, more like 2.5 stars. It was a quick, mindless read featuring gorgeous people. But this was an odd hybrid of chick lit and military novel that didn't exactly work for me. I don't really read military books, so why do I want my chick lit served up with military stuff? There was too much of the men focusing in on the women's chests and legs, and I never really understood what was going on, even at the end. Maybe I read through too fast, but it felt like a lot of loose ends were left. Lucy's niece, Pepper, was cute, and I liked that Lucy was a strong character. Other than that, this book was pretty forgettable.
Profile Image for Neon.
486 reviews12 followers
August 28, 2016

I read this book years back. I remember that i really liked it then so much so... That i started searching for all the Jennifer Cruise's books. That was before I was on Goodreads. So after I was on Goodreads and I was about to rate this book I only remember that there was female lead who was a director and a guy who came to act in her movie, a kid and a crocodile and a sniper. And I thought how come I enjoyed to so much but hardly remember the story. So i gave this 3 stars. The other day I read a really disturbing and intense book so i wanted a light read so i took out this book once again as to see why I liked it so much and why cant i recollect it. Hence I started and I guess I enjoyed this book second time more than the first time. It was ridiculous and funny and cute and outrageous all at the same time. This book was so good that it took me out my bad mood. I guess it depends upon person to person. Dont read with too logical perspective. Its a fun read and both the writers did an amazing job with it. There was little romance, little sex, wonder woman, manly man, bad guys, little suspense, one eyed crocodile(moot), and some action with guns. On the whole it was entertaining read to take your(my) mind off things.
Profile Image for Reg.
234 reviews31 followers
June 19, 2011
Ah, this book... I don't know. I love Jennifer Crusie and everything she has to offer, but this book fell flat for me. It was, sadly, quite boring. I didn't laugh out loud because it wasn't humorous, I didn't feel that tingle for the romance, the action didn't really excite me, and all the happenings were just "eh". In a way it's a bit like Agnes and the Hitman, but even that was kind of ridiculous, to be honest. Don't Look Down just felt like a book that was trying way too hard to get all of the elements down... and quite failing at that.

I'm resigning myself to the fact that Jennifer Crusie's collaboration with Bob Mayer isn't really for me.
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