Tour’s Books Blog

March 10, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: Stand By Your Hitman by Leslie Langtry

Stand By Your Hitman is the third outing for the Bombay family assassins after ‘Scuse Me While I Kill This Guy and Guns Will Keep Us Together, both immediately had a place on my ‘keeper’ shelf. In ‘Scuse Me we met the Bombays, an extended family of assassins who’ve been in business for, well, about as long as assassins have been around. Business is good, trust funds assure every family member is financially sound, and other than one or two hits a year, it’s the PTA, soccer, car pools and training the kids the best way to eliminate targets – you know, guns, bombs, poison, the usual family stuff.

Missi, short for Mississippi (every family member is named for a location) the family inventor and all around resident genius, has been raising her fraternal twin 17 year old sons on the isolated family island off the west coast of South America, Santa Muerta. Her peaceful existence – well, except for the new explosives she’s working on – is disturbed by a letter saying she had won a spot on the newest TV reality show – Survival – thanks to the wonderful bomb disarming video she sent. Her sons are excited, and once she’s convinced that they hadn’t set her up, she just ignored it. It turns out though her mom set her up. Seems maybe one of the guys on the show is really an illegal arms dealer and the Bombay Vic. Possibly. Not really sure. But he is a hunk.

Two days later, after forcing her conniving mother to take her sons while she was gone, Missi lands in Canada to find she’s a part of some cheesy, low budget Survivor knock off with a group composed of losers, a smarmy wannabe host Alan and his female producer, Julie, who has the charm of a prison camp guard. The ‘remote location’? The beach by a 5* resort. The ‘challenges’? Well, the first two are real enough, but the lack of safety precautions have the contestants worried. Then things go downhill fast. It seems the show is running out of money and the challenges have pointless prizes. Would you believe charades?

The first morning, Missi is out in the jungle looking for more food and her twin sons are up in the tree. Bless them. In true Bombay style, they lied to grandma about camping so she wouldn’t go looking for them, stole her credit card, and followed mom to Costa Rica to give her a hand. She puts them to work trying to find out more about Isaac, the Vic, because she needs an incentive to go against her instincts that say he’s a good guy. Will she or won’t she?

The contestants are ready to mutiny, the host is busy in the Presidential Suite running up a huge tab for booze and girls, the cameramen have sided with the ‘tribes’ and if fellow tribe member Cricket gets any more perky, she stands a very real chance of Missi Bombay offing her. Unless one of her fellow tribe members beats her to it.

Langtry’s books are quirky, very funny and a delight to read. Each of the three stories so far have been different, not just variations of the same theme. Unfortunately, the contrived plot that has Missi isolated on this survival show, though premise had all kinds of potential, begins working against the story as it runs out of steam even as the show runs out of money. Plus the romance between Missi and Lex has no real fire to it. About 2/3rd’s of the way through, Stand By Your Hitman starts to limp along and it ends with a whimper, not a bang.

In both ‘Scuse Me and Guns, Langtry had good plots, the feeling of a real, albeit off-beat, romance, plus an interesting back story involving the Bombay family. The stories worked on several levels. This story has the feel that half of it is missing and that is partly due to the ‘isolation’ the reality show format imposes. Parts are laugh out loud funny, but the book lacks the tension between the lead characters that make for a good romance and the mystery that makes for a good romantic suspense story. It came away unsatisfying on both levels which frustrates the hell out of me because I really wanted the book to work.

Langtry’s new book, I Shot You Babe, is due out this summer and it will be the one that determines if the Bombay’s have what it takes to go the distance as a series.

My Grade: C

Who would enjoy this book: Readers of Suzanne Enoch’s Sam Jellico series, those who enjoyed Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer and Crusie’s Getting Rid of Bradley.


1 Comment »

  1. […] Bombay assassin novel.  Likely to be funny and interesting.  See my review of Lantry’s Stand By Your Hitman to get a feel for her kind of […]

    Pingback by Soon to be released titles of interest « Tour’s Books Blog — March 18, 2009 @ 11:55 pm | Reply

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