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Killers of a Certain Age–all-female assassin squad
Killers of a Certain Age
by Deanna Raybourn
It is with mixed feelings that I review Killers of a Certain Age. I think I wanted it to have the same vibes as The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osmond, but that is not really fair. I knew going in that the story was about a group of retired female assassins, but that summary does not encapsulate Deanna Raybourn’s story satisfactorily.
The beginnings of the larger group which calls itself by the code name “the Museum” are people who were frustrated at the escape of so many Nazis who were slipping away from (and sometimes with the help of) various governments after World War II. They decided to pursue justice. When most of the Nazis had been tracked down and “disposed of,” they turned their attention to other “targets that had been scrupulously vetted and chosen because their deaths would benefit humanity as a whole.” Their mission was to bring justice, not to pursue what was lawful. Bottom line: the end justifies the means. The philosophy underlying the plot makes me uncomfortable. I am trying to disregard those feelings as I review the book.
Killers of a Certain Age has four main characters, the women who spent the last forty years killing specific targets only as assigned. They were not allowed to have outside contracts. These agents were chosen, recruited, and trained by the administration of the Museum. They trusted the board members and fully expected to live out their retirement years with a good pension. Unfortunately, there are political happenings with the organization and putting out a “hit” on these women is part of the fallout.
The backgrounds of the assassins are interesting as well as their relationships with each other. The story is told by relating current events as well as including chapters that reveal the details of prior assignments. The women are well-trained and use their respective skills to compensate for the decline of physical strength and flexibility brought on by age. The reader has a first-hand view of their plan to save themselves without hurting innocent bystanders.
Although I didn’t enjoy Killers of a Certain Age, I did appreciate the women’s attempts at dark humor. I commend the author for her writing skills and her creation of a complex plot. My favorite aspect of the book lies in the ingenious codes used to communicate secretly. I’m sure that a lot of readers will give the book two thumbs up, but it was just not the right read for me.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Category: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense
Notes: Lots of violence and bad language
Publication: September 6, 2022—Berkley (Penguin Random House)
The tunnel led into a courtyard bordered by four brick buildings, each one more decrepit than the last. The facades, linked by galleries and staircases, leaned against each other for support like elderly women having one last gossip.
We looked like a girl gang that would have the Queen as our leader, all low heels and no-nonsense curls. Mary Alice had even tucked butterscotch candies in her purse, which she handed out to porters in lieu of tips.
Two good hits and the lock dropped off. “Subtle,” she said. “Natalie, I’m tired, I am covered in mud that is at least seventy percent dead people, and I am hungry. Do not test me.”