Publication: 9th March 2023 (paperback) – Hodder & Stoughton
Older women often feel invisible, but sometimes that’s their secret weapon.
Billie, Mary Alice, Helen and Natalie have worked for the Museum, an elite network of assassins, for forty years. But now their talents are considered old-school and no one appreciates their real-world resourcefulness in an age of technology.
When the foursome is sent on an all-expenses-paid trip 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 realise they’ve been marked for death.
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.
Killers of a Certain Age is my first novel by Deanna Raybourn, but it certainly won’t be my last (in fact, I have already bought the first two books of her Veronica Speedwell series). I love her writing style and she created a story full of action and incredible characters.
Billie, Mary Alice, Helen, and Natalie are professional assassins. Recruited in 1979 to be part of Project Sphinx, the first chance of female operative trained together, they are part of an extragovernmental organization known as the Museum, born after World War II to rid the world of the worst of the human race. For the last forty years, the four of them have killed murderers, sex, drug, and human traffickers, dictators, politicians, and all those who deserved it, but now it’s time to retire. As a parting gift, the Museum has offered them a cruise, but once on board of the ship, they realize that someone from the organization is there to kill them. They manage to escape the first assassination attempt, but they are not safe because there are more coming for them.
The story is told from Billie’s point of view, in first person in the present time, and in third person in the flashbacks to the past where we see when Billie was recruited, the training that was far from easy, and her first missions. In the present time, Billie, Mary Alice, Helen, and Natalie are running for their lives using all the resources and information collected in forty years to stay alive, figure out why the Museum wants to kill them, and find a way to stop them. Despite their different personalities, Natalie, Helen, Billie, and Mary Alice are very close and support each other. They are dynamic, intriguing, cunning, and strong characters, but Billie comes out a bit as the natural leader of the group, the one with the stronger personality, the one they follow and confide in. They all have suffered loss, grief, guilt and, despite a few aches and pains of their age, they turn the chase around and go after their own killers because they don’t want to spend the rest of their lives hiding.
Killers of a Certain Age is engaging, well-written, and well-executed. There is travel, exciting scenes, dry humour, twists, and suspenseful moments and I enjoyed every page of it!
A huge thank you to Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley for providing me with a proof of the novel.
Deanna Raybourn is the New York Times bestselling author of the Edgar Award-nominated Veronica Speedwell Mysteries, as well as the Lady Julia Grey series and several stand-alone works. She makes her home in Virgina with her family.