Saturday, April 14, 2012

Confessions Of A Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman by J.B. Lynn

"I know your name, where you live, where you work, and that you're the legal guardian of that little girl. I also know how much your annual salary is, that you have no criminal record, and what's in you bank account. Most importantly, I know how much this 'premium care' costs. People say I'm a crook, but the medical establishment has got nothing on me. They just know how to bleed you dry legally. And that is why I think you might find yourself amenable to the offer I'm going to make you."
     "You've lost me."
     "Think of this as a lucrative job opportunity. A change to make some extra cash to care for little Katie."..."I like you. You're a feisty one. That's why I'm offering you $100,000 to take out Alfonso."
     "My mouth went dry as I stared at him. I asked, "You mean like take him out to the ballgame? Or take him out to dinner?"
     He tilted his head and raised his eyebrows knowing damn well that I'd understood his offer and was just playing cute and/or stupid with those questions. The man had just offered me a boatload of bucks to kill his son-in-law.

Maggie Lee was living a rather ordinary life three months ago. That was when tragedy struck. She and her sister and her sisters' family had been in a fatal car accident. Maggie survived fairly unscathed, but her sister and brother-in-law did not. Her niece, Katie, was in the hospital in a Coma and Maggie was her legal guardian. The insurance was about to pull the plug on her niece's care and Maggie was not in the financial position to be able to continue Katie's needed care without it. As a "thank you" Anthony Delveccio, Alfonso's father-in-law, had offered her the job that could make all her financial troubles disappear. She'd just stopped Alfonso, the guy whom she'd been offered the hit on, from killing his son who resided in the hospital. The question now is dare she take the job or leave it and walk away.

This is a fun yet somewhat zany tale. You really can't take it seriously or you won't enjoy the ride. In some ways Maggie reminds me of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum character only Maggie can shoot. Plus, being a hitwoman is different than being a bounty hunter. Additionally, since the car accident that took place three months ago Maggie appears to have picked up some Dr. Doolittle skills--she can talk to animals. At first I didn't know what to think about her ability to speak with animals, but by the end it had me grinning.

Maggie is a likable character who is attempting to hold things together as best she can. Her mother has been institutionalized for her mental state, and her father is in jail for murder. Before the accident her sister had asked Maggie to take care of her daughter if anything happened to her, and Maggie is doing her best to fulfill that promise. Stuck between a rock and a hard place she is torn between taking the hit so she can properly take care of her niece or backing away and attempting to find some other means of caring for her.

Godzilla is her niece's pet lizard, and is the first animal she realizes she can converse with. He adds some humor to the already fun story especially when he requests she call him God. He delves out advice, loves watching Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, and has a voice that sounds like Professor Snape from Harry Potter.

Armani is one of  Maggie's friends. She was apparently disabled by a "runaway Zamboni that had ruined her leg and chewed up her missing fingers." She claims to hold psychic abilities and at one point warns Maggie, "I had another dream. In it, I kept hearing those three words. Doomsday is coming, Doomsday is coming."

The only thing that sort of bothered me was there seems to be an attraction between Maggie and Patrick. Patrick is the man teaching her to be a hitwoman and is already married to two different woman. I'm hoping the author isn't going to got there, but it was making me awful nervous. There is another love interest in the story, but it's complicated because he's a cop and one of the first rules to being a hitwoman is, "Don't get caught." That's kind of hard to do if you end up "sleeping with the enemy", so to speak.

Some of my favorite quotes/lines/moments:

- 'For a split second I thought there was a spark of sexual tension hovering in the air. Yeah, I was so lonely that the mere mention of the word sex in conversation had me misreading signals.'

- "I've freed my inner Chiquita, and I'm living dangerously," I said dryly. 

- "Didn't your mother ever tell you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day?"
  I thought about it for a second. "Nope." That job had fallen to Aunt Susan. "But she did tell me furlies live behind the couch."
  "What the hell is a furlie?"
  I shrugged. She'd imparted that particular bit of mother advice during one of her delusional stages. "I dunno. The way she talked about them I suspected they were some sort of rabid dust bunny."

- "What the hell is that?"
  Apparently Gary had taken note of the little lizard gesticulating wildly on his countertop. He took a shot at God too.

- "Did you bring your lizard to a hit?"

An overall funny book that had me laughing and grinning. I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. I will definitely be reading any sequels that the author writes. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one got a BLUSH rating--at the beginning stages of romance where something is just starting to be stirred.

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