Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn – Review

Published: September 6, 2022

Publisher: Berkley Books

Series: N/A

Genre: Thriller

Pages: 368 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 4.0/5.0

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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.

I’ve been totally digging stories with older main characters ever since reading The Thursday Murder Club, so naturally I requested a book about a group of retiring female assassins. While it never specifically states their ages, I estimate somewhere in the range of 60 to 65 based on all the little bits of info planted. These ladies haven’t let their skills slip in their decades of deadly work and it shows. The 

The book begins with the quartet of retired assassins taking a relaxing cruise… where they discover their own agency, The Museum, has sent agents to kill them. Billie, Mary Alice, Helen, and Natalie are gloriously competent and despite stiffening joints and graying hair they haven’t lost their edge. They quickly realize they won’t simply be able to explain a misunderstanding or lay low until things blow over – they have to take out the three men who head up the Museum in order to survive.

I love a good action packed thriller and this definitely has those elements, but instead of some dude with a chiseled jaw and even more chiseled abs it’s four femme fatales (YES!!!!). They aren’t all posh, elegant ladies wielding poison and silenced pistols, though they certainly won’t turn down the right tool for the job. Billie in particular specializes in hand-to-hand combat and finds joy in the process and she’s got a Sundance catalog/biker chic vibe. It’s not all stabby stabby though. There’s quite a lot of emotion and personal history packed into this book, especially since these ladies have worked with each other for 40 years. 

I did find it took me ages to finally click with the characters and only then after some flashback scenes that really helped flesh each of them out. In my head Natalie and Helen are still quite interchangeable. In fact, while I enjoyed present day scenes, I wish there were a prequel that just focused on some of their wild and deadly missions. The flashback scenes were the best part until the ladies started taking out the three Museum leaders! Overall, this was a good read and I’d like to check out more of this author’s work (she has several other series!).

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