Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie

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.

“Okay, Shane,” Agnes said as Brenda’s clock gonged midnight. “I got Joey in the kitchen, a cop in the front hall, a dead body in the basement, and you in my bedroom. Where do you want to start?”
— Agnes and the Hitman, page 23

What happens when you take a cranky, homicidal cook with anger issues who loves to swing cast iron skillets, a hitman with family issues, an unsolved murder and a crazy ex-mobster’s wife and put them all together at a mob princess’ wedding? Lots of laughs, death and great food!

Agnes (AKA Cranky Agnes) is a nationally syndicated gourmet food columnist who is trying to plan her god-daughter’s wedding in her back yard. Agnes has staked her entire net worth in making sure this wedding goes off without a hitch so everything needs to be perfect. Unfortunately for Agnes, a crazy man with a gun breaks into her house one night trying to steal her dog – and Agnes finds herself in the middle of a downward spiral of murder, mayhem, and mother-of-the-bride hell.

Luckily for Agnes, hitman Shane is called in. Shane shows up to protect Agnes but as he inspects the dead body in her basement, he realizes he needs to protect more than just Agnes – he also has to protect the people that make Agnes angry.

“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 AGNESS KILLS.”

As time goes by, several people die and Shane gets to taste Agnes’ cooking, he realized that he’s found the love of his life: someone who cooks a mean rib and has just as many homicidal tendencies as he does. And she doesn’t make him talk about his feelings, lol.

“…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.”

I loved this book! Very funny and different. It reminds me – in some ways – of the movie Grosse Point Blank at a wedding but the characters are all related in some way (except for the romantic ones!)

I could see this as a movie, actually! It’s also more of a novel than a romance – meaning that I could see a guy reading it…especially if he got it in ebook format. 🙂 I think the pink flamingos might just scare a few guys off. This book has it all. There is romance, comedy, guns, hitmen, strippers, cash, mobsters, death, missing persons, rocket launchers and things (and people) getting blown up. And a wedding. So, don’t judge a book by its cover, ignore the pink flamingos (who wish they weren’t there, either) and read this book.

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