Crusie and Mayer team up again (Don’t Look Down, 2006) in a comic caper and raucous romance.
Agnes is a quirky, teetering-on-the-edge-of-insanity chef with a hit cookbook and a penchant for whacking ex-fiancées with frying pans. Shane is a handsome hitman with a shady past. When Agnes is attacked after moving into her dream house in the small southern town of Keyes, S.C., Shane’s Uncle Joey, a mobster with a soft spot for Agnes, sends his nephew to protect her. Shane, having just botched a big job, is questioning his future as a professional killer. When he meets Agnes, her home cooking and voluptuous curves quickly dissolve his tough exterior. Within a nanosecond, the two fall for each other, a coupling about as realistic as the rest of the plot, but forgivable as it makes up in entertainment value what it lacks in plausibility. Bedding a hitman, unraveling the mystery surrounding her house and fending off assassins are only some of Agnes’s concerns. She is also hosting her best friend’s daughter’s wedding at the end of the week, an occasion the grandmother of the bride continually tries to sabotage with, among other creative and psychotic episodes, a delivery of pink flamingos on Agnes’s lawn. But our heroine forges ahead, becoming extra-determined to pull it all off when she learns she will lose her dream house if the wedding doesn’t happen. The cast of local characters makes for a colorful, albeit clichéd, ensemble: Sexy older women, backcountry hicks, an emotional bodyguard and a mobster-in-disguise are added to the mix, though readers may get lost in the mish-mash of names and whodunits as the complicated mafia history unwinds. Despite the movie-like shoot-outs, cheesy cops-and-robbers banter and borderline-painful pillow talk, this is more farce than melodrama. Still, certain scenes are laugh-out-loud funny, and while Shane falls flat, crazy Agnes is a feisty, likable character worth rooting for.
Lots of sugar and little substance, but a fun ride nonetheless.