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Agnes and the Hitman

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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, his uncle has forgotten to mention a missing five million bucks he might have lost in Agnes's house, and 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 hit men show up for Agnes, and some wedding guests gather with 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.  Agnes and the Hitman is the perfect combination of sugar and spice, sweet and salty--a novel of delicious proportions.

421 pages, Hardcover

First published August 21, 2007

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About the author

Jennifer Crusie

83 books7,268 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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5 stars
7,184 (35%)
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3 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,842 reviews
Profile Image for Jilly.
1,838 reviews6,164 followers
August 31, 2019
I'm still on the fence about Jennifer Crusie's books. They ride a very fine line between hilarious and hectic & stupid. There are always tons of characters and some of them are hard to tell apart because the names and personalities are similar or generic. It's like the Broadway show "Cats". Do I like this? Or, am I extremely annoyed right now?

Funny? Yes.
Annoying? Also yes.

There is zero believability as well. If you are like me, you will become frustrated because of this. It's really better if you check your brain at the door. A lot more fun is had by that method. As a matter of fact, as I often tell my kids who are smarter than they should be: Stupid people are happier. Intelligence makes you depressed. Sorry for the brains and all.

I also did this to them:

So they were doomed to be smart and miserable.

Okay, so Agnes is a food columnist and writes cookbooks. She also has anger issues and has done a lot of court-ordered therapy. She has a tendency to hit her fiance's with a frying pan. Yes, more than once. For some reason, someone is trying to either kidnap her dog or kill her. It's not clear which one. So her adopted uncle decides to send her a bodyguard in the way of a hitman named Shane. I guess if you want to catch a killer, you need to be the killer. Or whatever.

Um... yeah, sure. That's deep, dude.
(see what I mean about dumb people? This guy looks really happy, doesn't he?)

Along with all of the murder attempts, Agnes has to put on an amazing wedding at her house in a few days or she will lose her home. (Yeah, like I said - complicated). There is a villain who is trying to stop the wedding from happening because then she gets to steal Agnes' home. The villain is very OTT.

There is a LOT going on in this story. It will make you tired. But, it was still funny and entertaining, so overall I liked it.
Profile Image for Algernon (Darth Anyan).
1,496 reviews961 followers
November 22, 2017
To Do List, she thought. Feed cast of thousands, several of whom are killers and one of whom is an underage dognapper now living illegally in my barn. Plan flamingo wedding. Remember not to screw hitman's brains out again even though he's really hot. Find nice normal guy without gun permit. [...]
Take revenge on the sleazy bitch who's trying to swindle me out of my dream house,
It was going to be a very busy day.

This is screwball comedy at its best, a very entertaining surprise for my summer read list, a real page turner mixing home cooking, anger management, marriage, murder, sex and a shit-ton of dirty money in a highly improbable plot that 'cooks' together two genres (steamy romance and mob crime) from two new authors for me (Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer). Hollywood, desperate lately for original stories, should pay attention to this homage to the classic zany comedies with Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn. The heroine, spunky red-headed cook and blogger Agnes, makes a reference to another favorite movie of mine that has a similar vibe:

"Like John Cusack in Grosse Pointe Blank"

If this book doesn't make you laugh out loud with its scandalous repartees, you're a proper Grinch and I will strike you out from my Christmas card list ;-)

Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,453 reviews7,562 followers
March 6, 2020
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

2.5 Stars

Jennifer Crusie is an author that one of the nicest people I work with is constantly recommending to me. Allow me to do what I do and use some gifs to explain the difference in our personality types. If we were Disney princesses, she would be . . . .

And I would be . . . .

I just assumed my reaction to her go-to-gal would be . . . .

But then she finally wore me down and I gave Bet Me a chance and it was pretty alright so when she said this one was real good I decided it was worth the gamble. I mean, a leading lady who got her money by writing a cookbook featuring a mobster, her potential romantic interest being a hitman, a dead dognapper and a missing diamond necklace and possible five million additional bucks? What could go wrong? Well . . . . .

Seriously, that’s the gripe. This book shouldn’t even be 300 pages, let alone over 400. It’s full of over-the-top, zany, slapstick antics that make for a fun time when confined to a low page count. The longer it went, the more I felt like I was on an old Hanna-Barbera loop. Are you old enough to know what that means???? If not, it goes a little something like so . . . . .

At some point it became exhausting.
Profile Image for Anna.
157 reviews130 followers
January 10, 2022
Agnes and the Hitman is a story about a cranky food columnist falling in love with a government hitman sent by his mobster uncle to protect her from several assassination attempts, while also trying to throw her goddaughter a flamingo wedding and keep her bridge from collapsing and her dog from being taken by crazy guys from the swamp. Sound bonkers? You haven’t even begun to make sense of this.

Things you can find here:

– A random guy being eaten by a crocodile;
– A Spiritual Humanist cleaner (of dead bodies);
– Grand gestures;
– A secret underground bunker;
– Kissing scenes written by Jenny Crusie, which is honestly all the incentive you should need.

In fact, I think this quote explains how crazy this book is the best: “To Do List, she thought. Feed cast of thousands, several of whom are killers and one of whom is an underage dognapper now living illegally in my barn. Plan flamingo wedding. Remember not to screw hitman’s brains out again even though he’s really hot. Find nice normal guy without gun permit.”

Spoiler: she doesn’t find a nice normal guy without a gun permit. 😏

I love this book so much. The author is such a master at writing female characters who don’t conform to regular heroine standards. Agnes is really fucking angry in this one, and she unapologetically bashes some people over the head with her frying pan, and it's FINE!

Shane is also so great; he’s just trying to keep Agnes alive/keep her from killing anyone. The romance is sizzling and the web of mob mysteries is fantastic. This is a laugh-out-loud book and rereading it is always such a joy. ❤️
Profile Image for Tammy.
126 reviews
June 10, 2009
"... your ass is grass and I am a John Deere super-classic riding lawn mower with a V6 engine and a double cutting blade, do I make myself clear?" - Agnes Crandall a/k/a Cranky Agnes

Don't you just love Jennifer Crusie's dry sense of humor?

Things turn south for Agnes Crandall's wedding catering business when a dognapper invades her kitchen holding a gun. Agnes whallops him upside the head with a castiron skillet, knocking him thru a hidden door in her kitchen and killing him. An unexpected hero - Shane - arrives through a window to rescue her, only he turns out to be a professional hitman who was hired by his retired gangster uncle to protect Agnes. Shane's uncle sort of forgets to mention that $5 million dollars is hidden somewhere in the house - thus the need for protecting Agnes. This leads to a string of hitmen, gangsters, crazies and wedding guests searching for the money. And then there are the flamingos, the flamingo-themed wedding, and the flamingo-colored dresses. Not to mention the stripper with flamingo pasties.

I read this book in early 2008, but couldn't finish it. (Probably because I am bitter about Crusie's proclamation that she is no longer writing romance and moving on to deeper, darker, paranormal kind of stuff.) Long story short, it ended up on my wallbanger shelf next to Crusie's first collaboration with Bob Mayer. (Why, oh WHY, do good authors do this?) But, being the good girl that I am, I decided to give it a 2nd chance.

I struggled with the first 200 pages or so. Too many gangsters and dead bodies and characters to keep up with. The HUMOR plus Agnes and Shane's HOT relationship was what kept me going. But things changed somewhere around the last 100 pages or so and I couldn't put the book down. There were twists and turns and every time I thought I had figured out WHODUNIT, the authors threw a monkey wrench in the mix.

Shane and Agnes's relationship was simple. There were no complications. No silly misunderstandings. And lots of hotness written in classic Crusie style. Agnes was a strong character who did NOT need protecting and I liked the way she embraced Shane's job with a great attitude.

Did I mention that Agnes had anger management issues and was court-ordered to attend therapy? Reading her mental arguments with Dr. Garvin and hearing her tell him to "F** off" was hilarious!

Awesome book if you like a good WHODUNIT with strong romantic elements.

Profile Image for Jim.
Author 7 books2,030 followers
May 16, 2015
I gave 4 stars to a romantic, comedic, murder mystery. Amazing, but so was the book. It was the great combination of setting, mystery, & especially the characters starting with Agnes.

Angry Agnes is pretty, a wonderful cook, & wears black rimmed glasses. She's smart (an author) & really a nice person, but she tends to see red occasionally - a dangerous combination as she spends a lot of time in the kitchen where sharp implements & heavy pans tend to be at hand. One of the things I liked the most is that while there are a lot of more conventionally gorgeous women around, she has no problem with her size 14 dress size (That's roughly 40"-33"-42" for those of you who have no more clue about women's dress sizes than I do.) which is a nice change of pace in these anorexic days. Not that a big deal is made about this, but it shines through.

The rest of the characters are just as much fun as they & their secrets all come together around Agnes' wonderful table. It's not a huge cast, but there are plenty & each is quite distinct with their own set of problems, histories, & crazy to cement them in my memory. Some start off as caricatures, but all evolve into characters.

The plot is a bit overblown & absurd, but that's half the fun. I knew another shoe had to drop & it did, although usually in a direction I hadn't guessed. Best of all, it had a great ending. I'm definitely going to look for more books by this author.
August 28, 2021
almost 4 ☆

Humor is idiosyncratic as the reviews for Agnes and the Hitman indicate. Rarely do I see the top 10 reviews for a novel represent every point on the rating spectrum.

Jennifer Crusie, usually a writer of romantic comedies, collaborated with Bob Mayer, who frequently pens military thrillers. It may look like an unconventional pairing, but I found this team effort to be more entertaining than Crusie's Getting Rid of Bradley, which had a similar feel. If you've enjoyed movies like "Grosse Pointe Black" (1997) or "So I Married an Axe Murderer" (1993), then I believe that this tale of madcap murderous mayhem will be equally fun for you.
"Agnes, you're curious and fascinating and wonderful. You should probably not stab anybody with a meat fork again, but why be nice when you can be Cranky Agnes..." Lisa Livia slapped her hands on the table. "... Stop pretending you're normal. You're insane. Make that work for you."

Food writer Agnes Crandall is hard at work organizing a wedding to be held in five days in her garden gazebo at the riverside home that she and her fiance Taylor purchased four months ago. The seller, Brenda, had included an interesting clause in the purchase contract. If Agnes and Taylor, a chef, can successfully host the ceremony for Brenda's granddaughter, then the mortgage payments for the first three months will be forgiven. If the new homebuyers fail, however, then the property, including their down-payment, will revert to Brenda's ownership. Hmm, what could possibly go wrong?
"There's nobody I'd go to faster in a crisis, but you are nuts. And not in a cute way. You have been since I met you."
Agnes looked at her stunned. "I was fourteen when I met you."
Lisa Livia nodded, chewing omelet. "And everybody in that damn boarding school was scared of you. You know what the first thing they told me was? Don't make Agnes mad."

Well, her "Uncle" Joe stepped in before Agnes could work up to a good level of "mad," and he summoned his nephew Shane to return home and help his "little Agnes." Not that it mattered that Shane was in the middle of a job that necessitated disabling bodyguards and other things to reach his target.

The GR synopsis was accurate, but IMHO it also revealed too much of the plot. The pace was hectic from the get-go which made the story a bit of a hot mess until I got all of the characters straight. But I didn't mind because the zaniness kept making me laugh. This plot was silly, sure, yet surprisingly complex. The comic tone had been established at the beginning, and I just rolled with it. And I was amused until probably the final ten percent. My only quibble with this novel was in the resolution of one of the character arcs because it was pretty outlandish, even for this novel.
Profile Image for Dianne.
1,560 reviews116 followers
June 27, 2022
Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie

Out of all the books that Jennifer and Bob have written together, I have to tell you THIS one is the only one I think is worth reading. Not only reading once but also re-reading repeatedly! I don’t know how many times I have re-read this book, and I’m still as in love with the story and the characters as I am the very first time I read it!

This is a sexy, funny, mysterious read and a bit of a roller-coaster ride. This is a story containing major deceptions, weddings, food, murder, frustrations, obsessions, the ‘Mob”, hope and out and out hate.

Agnes Crandall is a food writer and wields a mighty frying pan. Sometimes that frying pan is used for purposes other than it was intended; like whacking someone over the head if they tick Agnes off. Perhaps this is one reason why she is known in the newspaper business as “Cranky Agnes”.

Shane is asked by his Uncle to come back and watch over his ‘Little Agnes” after someone tries to dognap her bloodhound and accidentally gets killed in the process.

Shane is a hit man, but who does he work for? And how much does he owe his Uncle and just why is his next hit apparently in the same town as Agnes? What is his boss Wilson hiding?

The team of Cruise and Mayer’s write flawlessly speaking in two voices, yet written so subtlety that I am still not sure as to who is writing what. The characters, ALL of them, are fully fleshed and grow during the telling of the story. The story itself has a lovely flow to it combining the best of comedy and mystery. Those who deserve the ‘happily ever after’ get one and the characters that don’t …well you’ll just have to read the book
Profile Image for Wendy.
1,068 reviews13 followers
April 12, 2008
I thoroughly enjoyed this book!! I enjoyed Crusie/Mayer's first book Don't look back as well but this was better.

Agnes and Shane were wonderful. Just enough baggage and angst to keep the chemistry lively. I thought the supporting cast of characters was awesome. My favourites being LL and Garth.

I wouldn't class this as a mystery or romance but there is enough of both to satisfy readers of both genres. I would call this a 'fun' read. It was great. Can't wait for the next one.

Ppl should read this for what it is - 'a fun romantic romp.' Cos then they will enjoy it rather than pick it to pieces. There are bits that could be picked to bits if one was looking closely, but why would you want to. I laughed out loud in places and IMO that's gotta be good.

Closed the book with a grin, and read it in one sitting. Both indications of a thoroughly enjoyable book.
Profile Image for Robin.
1,702 reviews62 followers
August 26, 2022
Agnes Crandall has her work cut out for her. She and her fiancé have recently purchased the home of her best friend's mother, wanting to turn it into a wedding venue. Part of the purchase agreement was having her goddaughter's wedding at the property. With just five days left until the wedding, things are not looking good. When a gunman breaks into her house and tries to kill Agnes, her "Uncle Joe" sends her help in the form of a hitman named Shane. The next things she knows, Agnes is facing dog-nappers, a cancelled flower order, a series of hitmen, a cheating fiancé, elderly mobsters, a moody bride, pink flamingos, and a grandmother of the bride who wants to make sure the wedding never takes place. Shane has his own problems. His boss has given him a target to take out, but his mind is on the quirky lady who is planning this wedding.

This book was just plain FUN! It took me a couple of chapters to sort out all of the characters and their relationships, but it was worth hanging in there. Agnes wasn't your typical heroine. She is smart, independent, and sometimes violent. She and Shane make a good team. The story itself is a wild ride. I never knew what was going to happen next or when the next dead body would pop up. My rating: 4.5 Stars.
Profile Image for Rayne ♥.
197 reviews40 followers
April 18, 2021
This was so boring. I felt like falling asleep about a million times. There is no suspense nor excitement in this book. It's generic (though it has a unique concept) and the characters are so 1 dimensional it hurts to read about them. I also hate how there's two POVS, WHY CAN'T I EVER FIND A GOOD ROMANCE BOOK WITH ONE POV? Sometimes multiple POVS can be good, but in this case, it's not. It doesn't add anything to the story and the guy's POV was like reading a cliche & corny action novel with an annoying male lead who has issues with his parents (in this case, his uncle).

The romance was just annoying, like the characters, and I found Agnes's reasoning for literally anything quite absurd. She's just the epitome of a Mary Jane, except, with no moral compass (and not even in an interesting way). This a book full of cliches, 1 dimensional characters, and bad romance masquerading as a "unique" novel.

I'd definitely pass on this one.

instagram | goodreads
Profile Image for Allison.
550 reviews566 followers
March 2, 2017
This book was a pleasant surprise. It's a great mix of chick lit and suspense. Full of murders, cooking, mobsters, and wedding prep - a combo that worked, believe it or not, and gave me plenty to chew on, keeping track of it all. It even earned a few chuckles from me - which is not easy, since I hardly ever get things that are supposed to be funny.
Profile Image for Bonnie.
1,372 reviews920 followers
November 15, 2015
The Storyline
Agnes is not your normal chick-lit heroine. The fact that she’s known as ‘Cranky Agnes’ could give you an idea. The fact that she’s used a frying pan in more ways than just cooking (I’ll give you a hint, one guy now has a metal plate in his head) could also give you another idea. There’s also an incident with a meat fork but I won’t spoil the fun for you. Or maybe it’s the mental conversations she has with her therapist.

”Fuck you,” Agnes said, bent over the edge of the cake.
Angry language, Agnes.
Fuck you, too, Dr. Garvin.

I think it’s a combination of everything, actually.

Agnes leads a quiet, simple, life as a food writer engaged to a quiet, simple man named Taylor. Her quiet, simple life takes a sharp 180° the day that she’s held at gunpoint for her dog. Yes, she’s held at gunpoint because they’re trying to steal her dog. Her life is soon thrown into even more upheaval when a hitman, Shane, is sent to protect her. People keep coming after Agnes, trying to steal her dog, trying to kill her, but who’s sending them? What follows is a rollercoaster ride that’s entirely way too much fun.

"Somebody might be coming to the house who might be dangerous."
"Really?" Agnes said. "Because that almost never happens here. With advance notice. Should I get my frying pan?"

Final Thoughts
Agnes is going down as one of my favorite book characters of all time, definitely. She’s a single girl, who loves to cook for her friends, she’s preparing to hold a wedding at her house, and she’s a food writer… I mean, at face value she’s just a normal girl. Agnes cannot be taken at face value and that’s what I loved most, the fact that I was completely surprised at how crazy and lovable she was all at the same time.

This book was downright hilarious, was extremely enjoyable, the characters were all amazing (I especially loved Shane), and… why exactly have I never read anything by this author before? Will definitely be correcting this, pronto.
Profile Image for Marie.
33 reviews4 followers
December 10, 2011
**5++++ stars**

Have you ever read a book that you finish but within 2-4 days you are ready to read it again? This is that book for me. I have loved several books in my lifetime. This book was easily one of my favorite books ever.

I think between the humor, violence, humor again, romance, friendships, minor characters, and even the dog, between it all I fell in love with this book.

Agnes is a cookbook author. She also has a column about cooking titled Cranky Agnes. She is armed and dangerous, with a frying pan. Shane is a hitman, simple as that. He swoops in and helps his Uncle Joey keep Agnes safe although she does a pretty bang up job of that herself. I adore Shane because of how he treats Agnes. Something about a guy respecting a woman that gets me. This story had me so enthralled I was screaming at the characters to just whack someone over the head by the end. There is a wedding, the mob, government agencies, strays, and revenge. This isn't a mystery so to say but it had enough to make me reading just to find out what really happened! It's like those alternate endings in the Clue movie. That's how I felt for a while.(Similar too how I felt reading Crusie's Faking It at the end.)

I say if you want to meet a funny set of characters and even fall in love with the minor ones then pick this book up. I loved it. I will be reading it again shortly.
Profile Image for Kaethe.
6,408 reviews463 followers
November 1, 2021
Agnes and the Hitman - Jennifer Crusie, Bob Mayer Nothing says rom com like a body in the basement, amIrite? There are writing pairs who bring out the best in one another (Gaiman and Pratchett, for instance) and this s another such.It is truly a warm, funny family comedy, and also a pretty thrilling crime story. And there’s a dog, and a great house.
personal copy
Profile Image for Anna.
250 reviews97 followers
July 18, 2020
Hilariously funny. The main protagonist, Agnes, who has anger management issues, and a levelheaded, even-tempered (mostly) hitman. There is a crazy sabotaged wedding, a grandma of the bride who is nuts and deadly, 25 year old secrets, the mob, a dozen dead bodies and a best friend who passes the Bechdel test with flying colours.

“Do not shoot Three Wheels. Save yourself for Grandpa Four Wheels, who sent both boys.”
“I’m not going to shoot Three Wheels,” Shane said, exasperated. “What do you think I am?”
“A hitman,” Agnes said.
Shane nodded. “Good call.”
Agnes wrapped her arms around herself. “You could have lied to me, you know.”
“I’m guessing that’s when you pick up the meat fork,” Shane said, and pointed her toward the bedroom.
“I’m giving up meat forks,” Agnes said, and she sounded as though she meant every word of it.
“We’ll see,” Shane said.
Profile Image for Laurie  (barksbooks).
1,727 reviews673 followers
November 1, 2019
Narrator: Sandra Burr
Length: 12 hours and 9 minutes
Published by Brilliance Audio, August 2007

We all know a narrator can make or break an audiobook. What I didn’t know was that studio effects can do it too. Narrator Sandra Burr does a decent job with the characters here. I can tell who is who and that is always a bonus when a book contains too many zany characters. Burr’s narration of Agnes is a little too upbeat at times (Agnes is supposed to be cranky) but for the most part she is pretty spot on. The light-hearted tone definitely fits in well with the story. I don’t blame the narrator. I blame the person(s) who thought it might be a nifty idea to add an “echo chamber” effect to Agnes and Shane’s inner musings. This person deserves to get stabbed a little with one of Agnes’s meat forks. See, this echo effect makes it very difficult to hear what the characters are thinking when one is driving in a loud car. And Agnes thinks to herself quite often. Fortunately Shane doesn’t think much at all. If I turned up the volume my ears nearly blew off when the echo was shut off. This was more annoying than words can express and went on until the very end of the audio. I will forever be left to wonder if I missed out on some life-changing utterance. And surely I did, right?

So on to the actual story. Cranky Agnes is a food writer baking cupcakes and raspberry sauce when a punk busts into her home and points a gun at her doggie’s head. She grabs the pan of hot fruit and konks him over the head with it. Well, wouldn’t you? But apparently she does this sort of thing often because she has anger issues and even had to see a court appointment shrink because of it. Chaos ensues and the bad guy falls through a swinging door that leads to a basement without stairs. He presumably dies. No one really cares. Too bad for you, sucker.

This is the beginning of a series of madcap events in Agnes’s world. Worried for Agnes, an older friend sends his nephew, a handsome hit man named Shane, to watch over Agnes and keep her out of trouble. Even though Agnes is engaged to someone else, Shane basically moves in and puts the moves on Agnes. And she likes it. Her fiancé is aloof and refuses to spend time with her and Shane is hunkier. Later on we discover the reason the fiancé is MIA. It’s ridiculous but you just have to go with the flow here. Trouble continues to arrive in droves as Agnes attempts to plan a wedding for a friends’ daughter, more bad people get hit with frying pans and stabbed with forks, the wedding is continually sabotaged by the WWF’s Vickie Guerrero in a blond wig (not really but that’s who I pictured whenever the troublemaking Brenda appeared all screechy, bossy and annoying), more people die, flamingos honk and Shane and Agnes fall in lusty-love.

The premise this story is built upon, a sketchy mortgage and a hidden fortune, isn’t worth picking apart. It’s nutty and it’s supposed to be. I’ve read several Jennifer Crusie novels and loved them for their witty, intelligent characters and genuinely funny dialogue. Anyone But You? Oh, how I loved that book. But this book is different. She co-authored this with Bob Mayer and it doesn’t read like a typical Crusie novel. Having never read Mayer, I can only guess that his input perhaps was more on the madcap end of the spectrum? Disappointingly I didn’t find the book very funny or heartwarming. Parts of it were cute but mostly it was all over the place crazy. I liked Agnes who has some nicely sarcastic dialogue. But Shane? Shane is just sort of there. He’s a big, burly man good for offing the wrong people and helping Agnes control her temper with some angry sex but other than that there isn’t much to him. The two didn’t even get to interact very much because they were too busy reacting to the madness around them. It’s a shame because their banter, what little there was of it, was fun.

Shane: “What did Taylor want?”
Agnes: “He brought the health inspector out to shut down the wedding”
Shane : “Did you kill him?”
Agnes: “No. So how was your day? You kill anybody?” She stopped, realizing with horror that he might have.

In the end it was sadly “meh” and the mob and action stuff was terribly boring for me because I’m not interested in that stuff. My notes are scribbled with “will it never end?” Somewhere around disc 5 or 6 I was ready for it be over and done but it lingered on, finally sputtering to a long overdue conclusion on disc ten. And how was I paid back for my persistence, you ask? By a final visit to the echo chamber of death on the last track, forcing me to rewind no less than four times in a fruitless attempt to hear Agnes’s last thought. Alas, I will never know what it was because I became Cranky Reader and hit eject. If you know what she said to Shane, can you please post it in the comments?
Profile Image for Jane Stewart.
2,462 reviews848 followers
October 23, 2015
2 ½ stars. Some readers may find this fun, but it wasn’t my kind of humor. It had a slapstick quality.

Brenda does many awful things to Agnes and others throughout the book. Other bad guys are also doing bad things. But nothing is provable so no cop does anything (or they don’t look for evidence). The purpose is to give Agnes setbacks and problems to solve. Her responses and reactions are the best part of the story. Agnes is free with her anger. She hits and threatens with frying pans and meat forks. But she’s a really good person inside and does some very nice things for others, like a needy boy she takes in.

Someone wants Agnes dead so her Uncle Joey sends hitman Shane to protect her. Joey and other locals used to be or still are mob related. A romance develops between Agnes and Shane.

I was unhappy with lack of explanations. At the end all of a sudden we hear that one bad guy is in jail, another bad guy left town but we don’t know what happened to him, and money was found and split among so and so. There were no explanations or evidence of things. See example in Spoiler. Also I did not understand things between the hitman and his boss.

Narrative mode: 3rd person. Story length: 419 pages. Swearing language: strong including religious swear words, but not often used. Sexual language: moderate. Number of sex scenes: three plus two references with no details. Setting: current day South Carolina and Georgia. Copyright: 2007. Genre: contemporary romance.
Profile Image for MrsJoseph *grouchy*.
1,011 reviews83 followers
March 27, 2019

5 star read!

“Angry welts on the face. Agnes and her hot raspberry sauce.

Blood underneath the dirty hair. Agnes and her frying pan.

Neck twisted and broken. Agnes and her unknown basement with no stairs.

Joey’s Little Agnes didn’t need protecting, but he might stay and put up some warning signs for unsuspecting intruders. Something like BEWARE OF THE COOK or AGNES KILLS.”

What can I say? I love this book!

“…Agnes came around the counter, her arms full of food, looking like she had every dish in the refrigerator, and dumped it all on the table between them.

“This is my kitchen,” she said, an edge of hysteria in her voice, “and enough goddamn people have been shot in it. You are my family, you’re the only family I’ve got, so you’re going to put those guns away and eat something right now. Or there’s going to be hell to pay.”

She slapped a loaf of bread down on the table and looked at them both, blood in her eyes, and Joey and Frankie both hesitated. “You do not want me angry,” Agnes said, and then both nodded once and, like the unhappy, dysfunctional family they were, they put the guns away together.”
Profile Image for Rebbie.
142 reviews111 followers
August 31, 2017
This is a fast-paced romantic comedy with a protagonist that's funny and refreshing in her own special, anger-filled way. If you like physical comedy in books, romance with vivid sexual descriptions (I mean like really vivid), and murder whodunit mysteries with a dash of rich bitch and a dollop of Italian gangsters thrown in, then this book is for you.

Not that it matters, but I personally didn't care for the explicit lust because I'm a fuddy-duddy who prefers much more subtlety, old-fashioned courtship and a strong sense of morals and values. But that didn't stop me from enjoying the book! This was a fun and fast read, and I may read more of Jennifer Crusie's work.
Profile Image for Cyndi.
2,338 reviews97 followers
September 21, 2017
This book was so cute! Granted, there are a lot of people getting killed, but it was still cute.
Agnes is determined to have her goddaughter's wedding at her new house that is being refurbished. Meanwhile we have a crazy granny who keeps putting up barriers, old mob bosses, dead bodies, stollen loot, and a hot hitman.
Agnes just keeps juggling all these things around while alternating the use of her frypan with cooking breakfast and hitting bad guys in the head.
Important lesson; never make the cook angry, she knows where all the knives are kept.
Profile Image for Gail.
Author 9 books41 followers
August 12, 2008
It is kind of hard to categorize this book by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer. It's more a sassy-chick-lit meets hardboiled adventure novel meets screwball comedy. I read their first book Don't Look Down and just about laughed my butt off. This one is even better, the action and narrative are tighter and more continuous. These two very divergent writers are on to something.

Agnes is "Cranky Agnes" the nationally syndicated food columnist and cook book author, living in South Carolina in the house of her dreams about to be married to a hunky normal guy. Agnes does have a little anger problem--in her hands a frying pan doubles as either a cooking tool or an assault weapon. The story opens with a man trying to steal her hound dog while she's preparing to host and cook for her god-daughters society wedding. To her rescue comes the neighborhood (retired) mobster, his hitman-working-for-a-secret-government-agency nephew (who is really hot), a crime scene clean-up man who is also ordained, a mobster's daughter, a kid from the swamp, two flamingoes and a host of others. The action defies logic and plausibility and yet it all comes together in a delightful, fun, funny, zany, happy story that makes you laugh, smile and hope for more.
Profile Image for Michelle.
943 reviews223 followers
December 18, 2018
4 Stars!
Jennifer Crusie is always a go to book for me when I need a laugh. I’ve had it for a while and glad I finally got to it. I really enjoyed it.
This book was one hell of a ride. Loved Agnes and Shane:)
Profile Image for ᴥ Irena ᴥ.
1,649 reviews213 followers
August 9, 2020
In Agnes and the Hitman romance isn't the most important thing. It's just there for no reason. It would have worked without it too.

There are so many things that happen in this book, it's a bit overwhelming. You might find yourself thinking oh, come on more than once. There are assassins, secrets rooms, lots of money, mafia, a wedding someone wants to sabotage, boat chases, explosions, both horrible and not so horrible characters, and so much more. The romance definitely took a back seat to all that.

I had fun, though.
Profile Image for *The Angry Reader*.
1,375 reviews306 followers
October 19, 2018
I don't get to use the word zany very often, but this was zany! Sort of like a Stephanie Plum novel, but way better. A huge insane cast. Hijinks galore. And a hero who didn't have a huge role, but gave good swoon.

This was highly recommended to me as a laugh-out-loud book. It didn't make me laugh, but it did make me genuinely happy.

I'm excited to have found Jennifer Crusie and delighted with this silly read.

Profile Image for Book Concierge.
2,772 reviews332 followers
February 1, 2016
The dialogue is trite. The sex is bland. The characters are cardboard cutouts. The plot is inane and unbelievable. It seems that the author(s) can’t figure out what kind of book this is. Is it a comic crime caper? A mystery? A romance? A mafia thriller? A cooking cozy? Bodies pile up left and right, plot lines disintegrate or appear from thin air. Even the editing is bad … the electricity goes out, thanks to a bad guy who “did something” to the power, but early the next morning Agnes is in the kitchen using her coffee grinder and CD player. The authors would have us believe that her cooking is so great that people set their guns down to feast on pancakes and ham (and where does all this food come from when she never goes to the store … and remember that the electricity was out … we’re talking South Carolina summer HEAT). Oh, and what’s with the psychiatrist (who just disappears in the middle of the book). Crusie (or Mayer) does manage to write a few humorous scenes that tickle me, but if it weren’t for a Shelfari book group Challenge I would not have finished it at all.
Profile Image for DeliaC.
141 reviews3 followers
December 18, 2007
it's to be expected that something changes when a writer you're used to pairs up with someone from an entirely different genre. some of the old pop and sizzle disappears to make room for the new writer's style and strengths. ok. but i have to say that this was a miss for me.

crusie's novels strengths aren't in elaborate plots but in outlining the relationships between her very un-neurotic hero/heroine in ways that don't seem forced or unreal. her characters are snappy, funny, cranky, quotidian people who are completely taken unawares by romance. i like that. her characters are basically mugged by love.

where this novel misses is in shane's characterization. while i could understand agnes' anger issues (heh), i didn't see why she should suddenly fall so much for him. he wasn't particularly funny, quirky, or endearing. he was like a block of wood - a weird superhero that got dropped in the wrong story. i found myself skipping all the action bits.

and can i say that the love scenes weren't hot at all? i mean, come on. phin tucker went down on whatshername on a dock! that was hot! this one? not so much.

(however, huzzah for crusie having an interracial secondary couple in this book! yay! at last!)
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