Don't Look Down

Don't Look Down

3.3 99
by Jennifer Crusie, Bob Mayer, Patrick Lawlor, Renee Raudman

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SHE is a director of dog food commercials who's just been recruited to finish a four-day movie shoot. But as soon as Lucy Armstrong arrives on set, she discovers that the staff is in chaos, the make-up artist is suicidal, and the stunt director just happens to be her ex-husband. That, and the temperamental lead actor has just acquired as an advisor a Green

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SHE is a director of dog food commercials who's just been recruited to finish a four-day movie shoot. But as soon as Lucy Armstrong arrives on set, she discovers that the staff is in chaos, the make-up artist is suicidal, and the stunt director just happens to be her ex-husband. That, and the temperamental lead actor has just acquired as an advisor a Green Beret who has the aggravating habit of always being right.

HE thought that hiring on as a military consultant for a movie star was a to-die-for deal: easy work, easy money, easier starlets. But his first day on the job, Captain J.T. Wilder ends up babysitting a bumbling comedian, dodging low-flying helicopters, and trying to find out who's taking "shooting a movie" much too literally.

Editorial Reviews
The Barnes & Noble Review
Bestselling authors Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer scramble their usual genres -- romantic comedy and action thrillers, respectively -- into one tasty omelet, seasoned with plenty of sex, romance, action, and danger.

Movie director Lucy Armstrong and Green Beret captain J. T. Wilder don't exactly get along at their first meeting on the set of the movie Don't Look Down. Lucy, a director of dog food commercials in New York, has come to the Savannah swamps to finish up the last four days of shooting -- only to discover that her ex-husband is the stunt director, her sister seems to be on drugs, and the stars are nutty egotists. Lucy chalks this up to the usual movie production chaos; then the script for this so-called romantic comedy takes a mysterious and abrupt right turn into action-adventure land -- complete with helicopters, Navy SEALs, and exploding cars! To complicate things further, the CIA contacts J.T. and lets him in on a secret: A terrorist with the Russian Mob is using the movie as a money-laundering scheme and clearly has his own reasons for the script change. Then the body count starts to rise...

We won't give away the rest of the plot, but the character of Lucy's five-year-old niece, Pepper, is terrific, and the dynamics between Lucy and Wilder are thoroughly enjoyable. Ginger Curwen

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Brilliance Audio
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5.00(w) x 5.50(h) x 0.75(d)

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Don't Look Down

By Crusie, Jennifer

St. Martin's Paperbacks

Copyright © 2007 Crusie, Jennifer
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780312938512

Chapter One  Lucy Armstrong was standing on the Eugene Talmadge Memorial Bridge when she first spotted the black helicopter coming at her through the sunset.  Based on the rest of her day, that wasn’t going to be good.  Twenty feet to her right, her assistant director, Gleason Bloom, ignored the chopper and worked the set like a depraved grasshopper, trying to organize what Lucy had already recognized as her career’s most apathetic movie crew. Her gratitude to Gloom for his usual good work was only exceeded by her gratitude that he hadn’t yet seen that the movie’s stunt coordinator was Connor Nash, now half hidden behind his black stunt van, arguing with a sulky-looking brunette.  Of course, Gloom was bound to notice Connor sooner or later. I’ll just point out that it’s only four days, she thought. Four lousy days for really good money, we check on Daisy and Pepper, we finish up somebody else’s movie, we go home, no harm, no foul—  Off to the west, the helicopter grew closer, flying very low, just above the winding Savannah River. All around were brush and trees, garnished with swamp and probably full of predators. “The low country,” Connor had called it, as if that were a good thing instead of a euphemism for “soggy with a chance of alligator.” And now a helicopter—  Lucyrocked back as fifty-some pounds of five-year-old niece smacked into her legs at top speed, knocking her off balance and almost off her feet.  “Aunt Lucy!”  “Pepper!” She went down to her knees, inhaling the Pepper smell of Twizzlers and Fritos and Johnson’s baby shampoo as she hugged the little girl to her, trying to avoid the binoculars slung around Pepper’s neck. “I am so glad to see you!” she said, rocking her back and forth.  Pepper pulled back, her blond Dutch Boy haircut swinging back from her round, beaming face. “We will have such a good time now that you’re here. We will play Barbies and watch videos, and I will tell you about my Animal of the Month, and we will have a party!” Her plain little face was lit with ecstasy. “It will be so, so good!” She threw her arms around Lucy’s neck again and strangled her with another hug, smashing the binoculars into Lucy’s collarbone.  “Yes,” Lucy said, trying to breathe and hug back, thinking, Great, now I have to play with Barbies. She pulled back to get some air and said, “Nice binoculars!” as she tried to keep from getting smacked with them again.  “Connor gave them to me,” Pepper said. “I can see everything with them.”  “Good for Connor.” Over Pepper’s head Lucy saw the helicopter cut across a bend in the river, zipping through an impossibly small opening between two looming oak trees. It’s heading right for us, she thought, and whoever is flying that thing is crazy. Then Connor raised his voice and said, “No,” and she looked over to see the young brunette step up into his face, giving as nasty as she got.  Lucy thought, Good for you, honey, and stood up, smiling at Pepper. “But I have to work first, so—”  “I will help you work,” Pepper said, clinging to her, her smile turning tense. “I will be your assistant and bring you apples and water.”  Lucy nodded. “You will be a huge help.” She took the little girl’s hand and looked back at Connor. After kicking herself twelve years ago for having been so stupid as to marry him, looking at those broad shoulders and slim hips now reminded her why her brain had gone south when she was twenty-two. Good thing I’m smarter now, she thought, and looked again.  The way he was talking to the brunette, the way she leaned into his comfort zone, they were sleeping together. And she looked to be about twenty-two.  That must be his target age, she thought. I should tell Gloom that, he’ll laugh.  Gloom. She looked back toward the set and didn’t see him, but the helicopter was now zipping underneath one of the port cranes, then banking hard toward the bridge. Lucy shook her head, trying not to be impressed. The pilot probably had Top Gun in permanent rotation on his DVD player. Whatever happened to the strong, silent type?  “Aunt Lucy?” Pepper said, her smile gone, her face much too worried for a five-year-old.  “You’ll be a huge help,” Lucy said hastily. “Huge. Now, where is your mama—Ouch!”  Her head snapped back as Gloom yanked on her long black braid from behind. “Connor Nash,” he said, and she dropped Pepper’s hand and grabbed the base of her braid to take the pressure off her skull.  “Yeah.” Lucy tried to pry her braid out of his hand. “I was going to mention that.”  “Really? When?”  “As late in the game as possible. Which appears to be now.”  “What were you thinking?” Gloom glared at her, his gawky form looming beside her.  “Gloom?” Pepper said, and he looked down and let go of Lucy’s braid.  “Peppermint!” He picked her up, swooshing her up to hug her, almost getting beaned by her binoculars as he smacked a kiss on her cheek.  Pepper giggled, happy again, and wrapped her arms around his neck.  “I’m so glad you’re here,” she said, strangling him. “We will have a party.”  “You bet.” Gloom peeled one of her arms away from his windpipe. “Tell you what, go get your mama and tell her we need to make plans. There will have to be a cake—”  “Yes!” Pepper said, and tried to wriggle her way to the ground. Gloom set her down, and she was off like a shot, blond hair flying and binoculars bouncing as she headed for the craft services table set up near Connor’s van, the source of apples and candy and water bottles and, evidently, her mother.  Lucy frowned up at the sky. “We didn’t order a helicopter today, did we?”  Gloom yanked her braid again.  “Ouch. Stop that.”  “Now about that Aussie bastard,” Gloom said.  Down the bridge, Connor looked up at them, distracted by the commotion, and saw Lucy for the first time. His face lit up—God, he’s beautiful, she thought—and then he started up the bridge to her.  “Connor called and offered us an obscene amount of money to finish this thing and I said no,” Lucy said, talking fast so that Gloom wouldn’t say, “Hello, dickhead,” when Connor reached them.  The brunette went after Connor, catching his arm, and he stopped and tried to shake her off.  Gloom’s dark brows met over his nose. “If you said no, why—”  “And then Daisy called and said to please come down because we hadn’t seen her and Pepper in so long, and I said no, I’d send her the money to come visit us. . . .”  The brunette held on, but Connor yanked free, making her stumble back as he came up the bridge, oblivious to the chopper closing in on them. He kept his eyes on Lucy, everything in him focused completely on his objective.  And that’s why I married you, Lucy thought.  “So why are we here?” Gloom said.  “Because Daisy put Pepper on the phone and I told her we weren’t coming and she cried.” Lucy switched her attention back to Gloom. “Pepper’s not a crier, you know that, Gloom, but I understand that you hate Connor, so you go tell Pepper we’re not staying. Take Kleenex. Meanwhile, I’ll explain to Connor why he’ll be directing these last four days himself instead of paying us a small fortune to do what we can do in our sleep.”   “What?” Gloom said and turned to follow her eyes and saw Connor. “Oh, fuck.”  “Be nice,” Lucy said. “He—”  She broke off as the bubble-shaped helicopter suddenly gained altitude and swooped over the closest bridge tower, sharp against the red sun. Connor stopped and looked up at it and then got an odd look on his face, anger or surprise, she couldn’t tell.  Gloom stepped closer to her as the chopper dived to the middle of the bridge and abruptly slowed, coming to a perfect hover just to the east, well out of the way of the cables that lined the roadway. Then it pirouetted smoothly, moved sideways down the bridge, and to the ground. Pepper came running back from craft services to say, “Wow,” as the chopper touched down lightly next to the roadway.  “There’s no helicopter on the shooting schedule,” Gloom said, frowning. “And that one has—is that a machine gun?”  Lucy peered at the ugly-looking contraption bolted to the right skid. “I think so.” She bent to pick up Pepper. “I don’t think it’s on Connor’s schedule either. Look at him.”  Connor’s shoulders were set as he reversed direction and headed for the chopper, walking past the brunette without even acknowledging she was there until she grabbed his arm again. Honey, never interrupt him when he’s on a mission, Lucy thought and looked back at the helicopter.  A man got out, ignoring the blades whooping by just over his head, broad shouldered and slim hipped in Army camouflage, with none of Connor’s electricity or glossy good looks, just tan and solid in the middle of the noise and wind. He walked forward out of rotor range and halted to look back at the chopper, his lantern jaw in profile, completely still in the storm, and Lucy lost her breath.  “Tell me that’s my action star,” she said.  Another man dressed in jeans, a black T-shirt, and flip-flops got out of the copter on the other side, tripping over the skid as he stumbled out from under the blades. Then he stood up and joined the quiet man on the edge of the road, swaggering as he went.  “That’s your star,” Gloom said. “Bryce McKay. Medium-famous comedian. Great at pratfalls. Action? Not so much.”  “Right,” Lucy said, but her eyes went back to the quiet man, so much like Bryce physically, so much his opposite in every other way. Anybody that still had to have his act together. None of that macho garbage that had driven her away from Connor after six months of marriage.  Connor shook off the brunette and moved down the bridge to the helicopter, his focus on the newcomer, his hands out at his sides. Hell, Lucy thought. He’s already gunning for this guy.  The quiet man turned to face him. Connor stiffened, and the other man stared back, not moving.  “Oh, boy,” Gloom said happily.  “Oh, great,” Lucy said. “And they’re both thinking, ‘Mine’s bigger than yours.’ ”  “I love this,” Gloom said. “It’s like High Noon. Maybe somebody will finally outdraw that son of a bitch.”  “Yeah, that would be good except this is real life, not a Western,” Lucy said, exasperated. “Why don’t they just pull them out and show them to each other?”  “Pull out what?” Pepper said.  “Their binoculars.” Lucy put the little girl down. “I have to go see what’s going on, baby. You wait here with Gloom.”  “I want to come,” Pepper said, her smile gone.  “Oh, I do, too.” Gloom picked up Pepper. “I think this is going to be my party.”  “Try to control your joy,” Lucy said and headed down the bridge to contain the disaster, trying not to admire the quiet man for remaining so still in the midst of the chaos.  Copyright © 2006 by Argh Ink and Robert J. Mayer. All rights reserved.  


Excerpted from Don't Look Down by Crusie, Jennifer Copyright © 2007 by Crusie, Jennifer. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Don't Look Down 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 99 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was also disappointed in this book. The only character that I found likeable was Pepper the 5 yr. old. I've read worse but still.........
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was okay. Kind of hard to get into, but the ending was pretty good. I was mainly disappointed by the fact that this was obviously not Crusie's voice. She has such a distinct style, and this fell far short. It was nice she tried something different, but please! go back to writing on your own! Bring back the voice that created the wonderful books that came before Don't look down.
RobertDowns More than 1 year ago
It was harder than I expected to get past those first sixty pages. And I’d been all set to give DON’T LOOK DOWN three stars, but then something changed for me. Enough that I found myself flipping through the pages, rather amused by the storyline, and engaged with the characters to the point that I wanted to know what happened next. I hadn’t expected this turn of events, and I found myself increasing my rating to a solid 3.5 stars. Another aspect that helped me enjoy this read was a behind-the-scenes look at the movie business. I love movies, probably a bit too much, to the point that I consume movies the way writers consume words and electronic pages on a computer screen. Like the rest of the book, the behind-the-scenes look was all in good fun, but even that brief glimpse was enough to peak my curiosity and keep the pages turning in front of me. Sure, the movie experience may have been a bit outlandish, and the characters may have been a bit larger than life for me at times, but I found myself thoroughly immersed in the worlds of Lucy Armstrong, J.T. Wilder, and Pepper. Good beach reads are notorious for somewhat zany plotlines and off-the-wall characters, and this book was no different. And for me, that certainly added to my enjoyment. Because the bottom-line was I needed to be in the right frame of mind to finish this story, and once I was, I jumped out of the helicopter and onto the movie set with the ease of an experienced paratrooper. Robert Downs Author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator
CEGB More than 1 year ago
This book is really slow moving at first, and really hard to get interested in. Towards the end it was entertaining enough that I wanted to finish it just to find out how they wrapped things up. Like most of the other reviews I've read, I would agree with the point that Pepper is the most likable character. She kept me entertained. I have read other Crusie books that I liked much better.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think OKay, but not great rates it. I think Jennifer Cruise is really going to have to watch quality before people stop reading her.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Why do these two write together? Separately, they are both good 'she is better' but together they are weak, implausible and STUPID. I used to buy a Crusie the day they came out -- now I wait for a used copy. Soon, I wont buy at all. These are really bad books
Guest More than 1 year ago
Love, love, love Jennifer Crusie's writing, but this one was incredibly disappointing. The story was such a mess and the characters not interesting. I kept looking at the book cover to make sure that this was actually a Jennifer Crusie book. I don't mind that characters are not infallible, but I really couldn't understand the dynamics between the 2 leads. Sorry if you paid full price for this one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i was disappointed by this book. i absolutely love jennifer crusie and was really looking forward to a new book. but this just went so fast, there was no chemistry between the two main characters, and alot of the characterization was lost in the shuffle. however, i thought this book had great potential and if they keep up a collaboration, i can only hope the books get better. also, it made me want to get a bob mayor book to see what it was like. rent don't buy
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love Jennifer Crusie! I have read and re-read all of her previous books and they are wonderful! This book was sooooo awful. The characters were flat and really annoying. There was way too much cursing. There was no chemestry between the main characters. I have not idea how they fell in love when they didn't spend that much time alone getting to know each other. Usually when you read a Jennifer Crusie book you walk away with the feeling that these two people were really meant for each other and will be in love forever. I can totally see this relationship being over in 6 months if they don't kill each other before that. I hated this book! I have been very disappointed by the newest releases of MANY of my favorite authors (Linda Howard, Julie Garwood, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Johanna Lindsey) and this is just one more let down. I am just about ready to give up on all new novels (especially the ones written by seasoned authors) and just re-reading the great books I currently own. Sorry about the rant, DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME & MONEY WITH Don't Look Down. Go out and buy Bet Me, Fast Women, Welcome to Temptation and everything else written by Crusie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's not just that the writing is inconsistent, it's not just that the characters are un-engaging, it's not just that the story-line is stupid.... I guess it's the total package of garbage that is this book. Don't waste your time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a very big fan of Jennifer Crusie, however this book was sooo disappointing. I don't feel like she wrote any of this book. foul language throughout, the bland limp characters, the story did not make any sense. Ugh I have never ever read any of her books & not wanted to reread it a hundred times over. This one left me totally annoyed. Jennifer Crusie stands on her own, she doesn't need to ever collaborate with this Bob Mayer ever again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I too have read every Jennifer Crusie book and have enjoyed them as a quick read. This book was annoying. The beginning had so many characters I had to reread to figure out who everyone was and get a feel for where they were going. I found it difficult to enjoy JT's character. This book was so unenjoyable that I would not even pass it on to my friends as I usually do.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After having a disappointing reading experience recently, I decided to pick up Jenny's latest. I can count on her to dish steamy love scenes, witty dialogue, male love-interests I'd like to ... well you get the idea. A collaboration with an exceedingly manly former Green Beret who writes action/trillers -- all the better!! It did not disappoint -- entirely. Figuring out which voice (Jenny or Bob) was 'speaking' was a little trying at first but once in groove was fine. A couple of satisfying love scenes and action/triller plot were chick-lit worthy. Not her best, as some characters and themes seemed re-hashed and some of the wit and sharpness was a bit dulled. Jenny's female characters are always vibrant and large, while male characters tend to be more flat, monochromatic and generally unrealistic. I had hoped a male voice would bring more to the male characters in the novel. The manly male characters did end up in camouflage (figuratively and literally) but the 'emotional stuff' still didn't quite resonate. I do intend to pick up at least one of Bob's books, so it did succeed in piquing my interest in the 'other writer' and overall was an enjoyable read. Read it if you like Jennifer Cruise, need a sassy diversion, and/or enjoy manly men in uniforms doing manly things.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is not one of Jennifer Crusie's better books. The characters don't seem real and the plot doesn't make a lot of sense. These two authors make be great writing solo, but it doesn't work together. It's like reading two separate books that some one is trying to cram together.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've read every book by Crusie and have thoroughly enjoyed each one. I was eagerly awaiting this publication. When I saw that it was a collaboration, I was wary. So many authors are doing that today, and the result is the loss of their own voice. And that is totally what happened here. I had a difficult time finding any of Jennifer Crusie in this novel. Confusing plot, too many characters...Don't bother with this one!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have loved Jennifer Crusie forever. So I always am thrilled when there is a new book. But when I started reading this book, I was so disappointed. It made no sense, the characters didn't come alive I have no idea what happened. But if I see another book written in collaboration with Bob Mayer, I will not buy it. My advice: Don't waste your time or your money. And Jennifer, please keep writing the books that you did before this bomb.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I too am an avid reader of Jennifer Crusie's books and was excited when this new one hit the stands. All I can say positive about the book so far is that I have no trouble falling asleep at night when I read just a few pages. I wouldn't even recommend buying the paperback until it goes on the half price shelf! It's obvious the beginning isn't Crusie's voice. I had to keep re-reading the pages to catch the direction and rhythm. Very disappointing and honestly quite boring. It's unfortunate that our favorite writers feel they can widen their audiences by collaborating. Frankly, it doesn't add a thing and results in loosing a loyal reader.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am such a HUUUUUGE fan of Jennifer Crusie that I can't believe this wasted effort on her part. What part of this travesty was hers? If I had bought this book before any of her others, I would never have picked up another. That hurts me because I so enjoyed all of her characters in all of her other books. She has such empathy and warmth for her 'people' and such believability in all of her stories. How could she have submitted this for publication and have her name put on this?
Guest More than 1 year ago
Difficult to keep reading, waiting and waiting for character development, plot and some romance. Seems to be a he-wrote-it, she-tried-to-fix-it novel. I liked the swamp ghost better than either of the main characters!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I purchased this book with GREAT expectations. I absolutely LOVE Crusie's work and have found each of her books better than the last. Until now. Don't Look Down is so atypical I had a rough time believing Crusie wrote it. The only reflection of her previous work I noted was the amusing struggle of 'self' exposed through the silent musings vs. the outward dialogue of both Wilder and Armstrong. Beyond that, the dialogue (especially that of Bryce) was completely stilted and demanded more of a suspension of disbelief than I was willing to offer. I never quite got to the point where I cared about Pepper or Daisy--or, frankly, Lucy! The time period encompassed by the novel was, for me, far too brief to have resulted in the 'soul mate' relationship that supposedly blossomed. Sorry Jennifer...this was NOT your shining moment, but I haven't given up on you....yet!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Not only were there too many characters, they all felt forced. Sort of like cardboard cut-outs of the real thing. Pepper was cute, but did she really need to be in this story? Also the sex scenes were not up to the normal Crusie standard--especially the one which used rope. I found that cliche' for the hero. I never felt the sizzle I usually do with a Crusie book. Wait for the paperback or go to the library.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is my least favorite of Jennifer Crusie's books. The plot is beyond implausible, as are the characters.Everything seems forced.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Oh, did I want to love this book! Bought it Day One, planned to make my husband read it. But the writing needs more polish, the character count needs cutting, the plot needs tightening. Yes, there are some fun scenes, some snappy dialogue, some goofy characters--could be an entertaining movie. But I think I'll make hubby read 'Welcome to Temptation' instead...and hope that Crusie/Mayer Book 2 is a smoother read.
Anonymous 9 months ago
A fun romance with enough adventure to keep it interesting
Anonymous More than 1 year ago