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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.”
Snowflakes at Mistletoe Cottage–treasuring Grandma’s recipes
Snowflakes at Mistletoe Cottage
by Kate Ginger
If you enjoy a book that starts with personal disaster and ends in triumph, a tale with sadness underlying humor, and a story that emphasizes the good in people, you will have an enjoyable read with Snowflakes at Mistletoe Cottage. Esme Kendrick is a food technologist; she creates the delectable dishes shown on the famous Felicity Fenchurch’s cooking show. Esme’s life is headed for disaster, however, when she stands up against the theft of her beloved grandmother’s recipes and her long time boyfriend has a less than pleasant surprise for her—all in the same day.
She heads home to Sandchester in defeat, but regroups determined to find success. Fortunately, her lovable and crazy (in a fun way) parents are supportive as are a small group of quirky friends who drive in from London periodically. Esme is a likable character, but you may find yourself yelling at her periodically to stop as she heads for catastrophe.
Will she return to her controlling ex-boyfriend? Can she help her teenage crush recover from a past that haunts him? Is it possible to create a successful blog and find happiness outside of bustling London? Can Esme layer up enough clothes to survive the winter in quaint, but unheated Mistletoe Cottage? Join a cadre of happy readers as you immerse yourself in this Christmasy read that is perfect for any season of the year.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to HQ Digital for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: General Fiction (Adult), Romance
Notes: Contains some bad language, including British vulgarisms
Publication: October 11, 2019—HQ Digital
This was why Esme loved cooking so much. It was history, their history. It meant her grandma who had helped her through so much, whose loss she had felt so deeply, would never be forgotten if her recipes were still being cooked, and the love that went into them still existed.
“If I lived near him I’d key his car—” “He doesn’t own a car, Mum. No one does in London.” “Well then, I’d put itching powder in his underpants and cut the arms and legs off all his suits.” Esme suppressed a smile. “Has Dad only stayed married to you all these years because he’s too scared to leave?”
Life was a large dark hole that she was falling deeper and deeper into, and at the moment there didn’t seem to be a bottom, or a way back to the top. She was just tumbling endlessly downwards.
Telephone Line–mystery set in the 70’s
by Julie Mulhern
If asked to recommend only one cozy mystery series to be read in its entirety, I would select The Country Club Murders. It (like Ellison’s beloved Mr. Coffee machine) never lets me down. Telephone Line has characters you can care about. The main character, Ellison, really doesn’t want to live up to her reputation and find yet another dead body. Her interactions with her mother, a country club matriarch known as a force to be reckoned with if crossed, play out with great humor. The setting is Kansas City’s upper crust in the 70’s. It’s hard to believe the etiquette-following country club set can be involved in such shenanigans, but crime knows no boundaries. Ellison is aided by her kaftan wearing housekeeper with an investigative background, her boyfriend Detective Anarchy Jones, and her former boyfriend Taft, a lawyer.
With several murders upsetting the city, Ellison has to work hard to stay alive and take care of those she loves. Her dead husband’s blackmailing schemes give her some insider knowledge, but will she be forced to reveal information to Anarchy that will embarrass her family and cause her to relive past traumas?
Although Telephone Line is a great mystery with a surprise ending and lots of humor, it contains a serious side. It deals with rape and the inability of the justice system to adequately support the victim.
I would like to extend my thanks to Edelweiss and to Henery Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: #9 in The Country Club Murders series, but can be enjoyed as a standalone.
Publication: June 18, 2019—Henery Press
“Mother—“ maybe I could reason with her (and maybe Gloria Steinem and Hugh Hefner would run away together) “—this is ridiculous.”
“It can’t be Mother.” Mother only called early when things were dire—when she’d heard I’d found a body or when someone with newly acquired wealth was put up for membership at the club.
“Painting centers me. Does that sound too woo-woo?”
“I’m from San Francisco. There’s nothing you could say that would sound too woo-woo.”