Favorite Re-reads: Agnes and the Hitman
I started re-reading an old favorite today. Or, rather, I started re-listening to it. Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer is one of those books that I go back to over and over. It’s light, fun, and a little bit naughty, both from a sexy times standpoint and a violence meter.
Agnes is a food columnist living in a tiny town in South Carolina. Her column is called Cranky Agnes and she lives up to the title. She’s on track to cater the wedding of the decade, marry her attractive chef-fiance, and restore the gorgeous antebellum home they just purchased together.
Everything is going swimmingly until the night a young kid breaks into her house and tries to steal her dog. Agnes hits him many times with a frying pan before he falls through the wall into the basement she didn’t know she had. Suddenly, her picture perfect life is full of old mobsters, crazed dognappers, and a government hitman who is her new bodyguard.
Shane, said hitman/bodyguard, has a very straightforward life. He travels frequently and kills people for the government. It’s hard work and he doesn’t enjoy it, exactly, but he is very, very good at it. Until the night his Uncle Joey calls and asks for help protecting “his little Agnes.” Then the hit he’s on goes south for the first time in his career and he’s headed back to Keys, SC, the “armpit of the south.” And “little Agnes” turns out to be a grown woman with a disturbing agility with a skillet. He also can’t help but notice that she’s very well grown.
Soon it’s Agnes and Shane against the oncoming tide of craziness as more people come after the dog, after Agnes, and after Shane all while Agnes still has to cater the wedding of the decade.
Agnes and the Hitman has no pretensions of being highbrow literature, but it’s genuine and it’s fun. Jennifer Cruise is very good at writing witty, entertaining romances and Bob Mayer is great at writing high-paced action. Together they have managed to create a fabulous novel. The two have collaborated on a few other books; Don’t Look Down and Wild Ride. Don’t Look Down is pretty fun, but Wild Ridecan be skipped without regret.
I’ve read or listened to Agnes probably ten or more times. So, what prompted this revisit? I had a quote stuck in my head, Shane and his partner, Carpenter:
“I understand she cooks.”
“I am often hungry in the mornings.”
That’s it. Nothing special. But it’s been kicking around in my head for the last couple of days, so I had to crank up the audio as soon as I finished my last book, which was The Jennifer Morgue by Charles Stross, by the way. I’m really enjoying his Laundry Files novels. And thanks to Seanan McGuire for the recommendation.
What are some of your favorite books to go back to?