Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn
Published by Berkley on September 6, 2022
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble, Apple
Billie, Mary Alice, Helen, and Natalie have worked for the Museum, an elite network of assassins, for forty years. Now their talents are considered old-school and no one appreciates what they have to offer in an age that relies more on technology than people skills.
When the foursome is sent on an all-expenses paid vacation to mark their retirement, they are targeted by one of their own. Only the Board, the top-level members of the Museum, can order the termination of field agents, and the women realize they’ve been marked for death.
Now to get out alive they have to turn against their own organization, relying on experience and each other to get the job done, knowing that working together is the secret to their survival. They’re about to teach the Board what it really means to be a woman—and a killer—of a certain age.
Nothing like the gift of a cruise to send four older female assassins out in style, especially since the company has decided that only a deadly termination of their employment will do. Deanna Raybourn has written some sparkling historical mysteries, but this dive into a modern day thriller with senior citizen protagonists grabbed my fancy and I couldn’t wait to see what would happen out of the gate.
Billie, Mary Alice, Helen, and Natalie were all recruited over forty years ago for a top secret organization and were all trained in the company’s first all-female squad of assassins. Now, when coming up on retirement, they have all been brought back together for a cruise, or so they thought, until they realized the hunters are now the hunted. Why is their former employer now targeting them? They have to stay alive while tracking down the intel and then these old dames will turn the tables on those who had once earned their loyalty and trust. They might not be young, spry, and tech stars, but they know a thing or two one can’t learn on the internet.
Killers of a Certain Age has that fun and exciting dance along the knife edge that a good thriller loaded with wit and vim can bring. It races with taunt thrills and nail-biting suspense, but also makes it clear that the golden years don’t mean dribbling rice puddling down one’s twin set and pearls, or forgetting everything they have learned and done over the last forty years to kill or be killed. With age comes wisdom and experience, and these gals employ it so well. Not to mention, their various personalities and skill sets come in to play to make them a lethal and effective team that their own org should have been wary of messing with.
Yes, this is a traditional thriller and even a traditional ‘spies get blacklisted’ style scenario, but this is not ho-hum. There is an emphasis on the women and their complex personalities and stories as well as their tight relationship of found family they got from a forty year working relationship that was life or death when it came to being able to work together and depend on each other. This all shines through. I was curious about why they were being targeted and what is going on with ‘The Museum’ people, but I found just spending time with the gals was my favorite part whether the looks back to the past which are important or time in the current time thread.
Killers of a Certain Age was a fast read for me and there was plenty of action, chase, and intrigue as well as delight in seeing these old gals take it to their enemies. As a standalone, this is a good book for new readers who love spy thrillers and old fans to the author seeing her sparkling in a new genre.
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