'Scuse Me While I Kill This Guy
by Leslie Langtry
(Dorchester,$6.99, PG-13) ISBN 978-0843959338
Desperate Housewives may have began to explore the secret lives of soccer moms and suburban wives, but others are quite happy to run with the idea. 'Scuse Me While I Kill This Guy is one such book. But even with its new ingenious twist, it failed to dazzle me, and the heroine lost me almost at go.

Virginia (Ginny) Bombay isn't your ordinary widowed (hence single) suburban mom; she also belongs to a family of assassins, whose deeds go all the way back to ancient Greece. Like her many relatives, Ginny has been performing hits since she was barely a teen. Now, she is faced with a new series of problems: (1) how to tell her five-year-old daughter what the future holds for her; (2) how to prepare for the upcoming family reunion, a moment which usually spells deadly disaster for someone; (3) what to make of Diego Jones, a charming young Australian bodyguard who she hopes will bring an end to her long dry spell.

The conflict that shadows the romantic relation is rather obvious: a bodyguard and a hired gun probably don't make the best of friends, and their chances are even lower if they have the same target. The book doesn't go down the predictable path, but it doesn't introduce any other major conflicts either. Diego is a perfect man: he is interested in Ginny's daughter; understanding about Ginny's quirky family; and talented in bed. This makes him a great fantasy lover, but doesn't do much for the romance plot. Whatever opposition Diego has to her family business is soon overlooked in the name of love.

The mystery plot doesn't fare much better. Ginny touts herself as a highly competent assassin, but truth-be-told, she wouldn't go very far without a lot of luck and a little help from her family and friends. There is also a little mystery which she must solve, but frankly there is so little to this task that isn't predictable that it didn't result into a page-turning read.

As is usually the case, the story is told in the first person. Ginny strives hard to have a quirky, funny voice. While there is a certain competence to the prose, the humor didn't win me over. Basically, she adds a lot of parenthetical statements to her descriptions (kind of like this), but after a while it seems forced and annoying (see what I mean?).

 From what I can make out from the cover blurb and the publisher's information, 'Scuse Me While I Kill This Guy is first in a series. Good luck trying to drag the concept out. As far as I'm concerned 'Scuse Me While I Kill This Guy is yet another case of much ado about nothing.


--Mary Benn

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