Author: Deanna Raybourn
Publisher: Berkley Books
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
Format: Kindle ARC
No. of Pages: 368
Date of Publication: September 6, 2022
My Rating: 5 Stars
Older women often feel invisible, but sometimes that's their secret weapon.
They've spent their lives as the deadliest assassins in a clandestine international organization, but now that they're sixty years old, four women friends can't just retire - it's kill or be killed in this action-packed thriller.
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.
Four young women, Billie, Mary Alice, Helen, and Natalie, become a part of an elite organization, known as The Museum. This is no ordinary job for any of them. In fact, the women become trained assassins, and embark on what ends up becoming a forty-year career of killing target after target. While they mostly worked alone, there are occasions when they had worked together. Hardened for sure, but considering they only killed those who deserve to die, the women all excelled when it came to doing their jobs.
Now, at sixty years of age, it is time for retirement. What better way to celebrate than to enjoy an all-expense paid vacation. However, it is hardly a vacation. While they have received kill orders for decades to mark their targets, the kill order is now on them. Someone wants them dead. All of them. It does not take them long to realize who it is that has ordered their murders, so it becomes kill or be killed. This means that the organization that protected them for years has now become their target. Will Billie, Mary Alice, Helen, and Natalie escape with their lives and actually be able to enjoy their retirement?
While each of the women played a pivotal role while performing their jobs as assassins, this story is primarily delivered from Billie's point of view. Getting into her mindset no doubt will help the reader to get into the mindsets of the other members of their quartet, Mary Alice, Helen, and Natalie. Through the years the women forged a strong friendship. It is that friendship that gives them the strength they need now to save all of their lives.
What an engaging story by Deanna Raybourn. I was introduced to Ms. Raybourn's delightful writing by reading the Veronica Speedwell series, so to read this standalone, Killers of a Certain Age, I was able to see the author change direction a bit in her writing. With excellent characterization, drama and intrigue, this book was thoroughly enjoyable from beginning to end.
Many thanks to Berkley and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.
Please also enjoy my YouTube video review -
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
A sixth-generation native Texan, New York Times bestselling author Deanna Raybourn grew up in San Antonio where she met her college sweetheart. She married him on her graduation day and went on to teach high school English and history. During summer vacation at the age of twenty-three, she wrote her first novel, and after three years as a teacher, Deanna left education to have a baby and pursue writing full-time. Fourteen years and many, many rejections after her first novel, she signed two three-book deals with MIRA Books.
Deanna’s debut novel, Silent in the Grave, published in January 2007. The first in the Silent series, the book introduces Lady Julia Grey, an aristocrat bent on investigating the mysterious death of her husband with the help of the enigmatic private enquiry agent Nicholas Brisbane. From the drawing rooms of the aristocracy to a Gypsy camp on Hampstead Heath, Silent in the Grave deftly captures the lush ambience of Victorian London.
The series continues with the second book, Silent in the Sanctuary (January 2008), a classic English country house murder mystery with a few twists and turns for Brisbane and Lady Julia along the way. Silent on the Moor (March 2009), set in a grim manor house on the Yorkshire moors, is the third adventure for Lady Julia and the mysterious Brisbane.
March 2010 saw a departure from the series with the release of The Dead Travel Fast, a mid-Victorian Gothic thriller that features novelist Theodora Lestrange as she leaves the safety and security of her Edinburgh home for the dark woods and haunted castles of Transylvania. Deanna turns once more to Lady Julia and her companions with Dark Road to Darjeeling (October 2010) which features an exotic setting in the foothills of the Himalayas and the introduction of an arch-villain. The fifth book in the series, The Dark Enquiry, follows the return of Lady Julia and Brisbane to London for their most puzzling adventure yet. The Dark Enquiry hit the New York Times Bestseller list the week before its official release in July 2011. The digital exclusive novella Silent Night, published in November 2012, is a bright Christmas adventure set in Julia’s ancestral home in the Sussex countryside.
Deanna’s next release, A Spear of Summer Grass (May 2013), chronicles the adventures of a scandalous flapper heroine in Africa and the lives she changes along the way. It is listed as one of Goodreads’ most highly anticipated books of 2013 and was preceded by Far in the Wilds, an exclusive digital prequel novella (March 2013). A Spear of Summer Grass received a starred review from Library Journal. Deanna carried on the theme of 1920s adventure with City of Jasmine (2014) and Night of a Thousand Stars (2014), but is delighted to return to Victorian London with the September 2015 hardcover release of A Curious Beginning, the first mystery featuring butterfly-hunting sleuth, Veronica Speedwell and her natural historian sidekick, Stoker. Veronica returned in 2017’s A Perilous Undertaking, and A Treacherous Curse, 2018. A Dangerous Collaboration was released in 2019, and book five, A Murderous Relation, is a March 2020 release.
Deanna’s novel Silent in the Grave won the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best First Mystery. The Lady Julia Grey series has been nominated for several other awards, including an Agatha, a Last Laugh, and two Dilys Winns. Dark Road to Darjeeling was also a finalist for the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Historical Mystery as well as a Romantic Reviews’ finalist for Best Book of 2010. A Treacherous Curse, the third Veronica Speedwell Mystery, was nominated for the 2019 Edgar Award for Best Novel.