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Reviews of Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn

Killers of a Certain Age

by Deanna Raybourn

Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn X
Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2022, 368 pages

    Aug 2023, 368 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Chloe Pfeiffer
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About this Book

Book Summary

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 by New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award-nominated author Deanna Raybourn.

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. 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.

Chapter One

November 1979

"My mother always says it's common as pig tracks to go around with a run in your stocking," Helen says, eyeing Billie's ripped hosiery critically.

Billie rolls her eyes. "Helen, it's murder, not cotillion."

"It's not murder," Helen corrects. "It's an assassination, and you can make an effort to look nice. Besides, they're supposed to believe we're stewardesses and no stewardess would be caught dead with torn pantyhose." Helen brandishes a familiar plastic egg. "I brought spares. Please go change while you still have time. I'll start the coffee."

The run is so tiny only Helen would have noticed it. Billie opens her mouth to argue and closes it again when she sees the tightness around Helen's lips. Helen is nervous and that means her eye for detail is hyperfocused, searching out things to worry about. Better for her to fuss about snagged pantyhose than any of the thousand other things that could go wrong on their first mission, Billie decides.

"Mary Alice is on ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!
  1. The Museum is founded with the intention of bringing justice to those who have never been held accountable for their atrocities. Is this mission statement fulfilled?
  2. How would you characterize the relationship among the four assassins? How do they each fulfill their roles with regard to their respective talents?
  3. Each of the four is recruited very young, at a vulnerable point in her life. How does this make them susceptible to recruitment? Is this ethical?
  4. The foursome have spent their entire adult lives in the service of the Museum only to be betrayed by the organization to which they have given so much. How does this betrayal drive their actions?
  5. How do each of the flashback missions relate to the current kills?
  6. Naomi Ndiaye is a ...
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BookBrowse Review


The constant girl-power references and callouts feel a bit stale and inorganic, but the premise is a good vehicle for an action-mystery-assassin story, and the book delivers on everything we might want: Tricks of the trade (if you're disoriented underwater, breathe out and then follow the bubbles to the surface; soak tobacco in water to make poison), a detailed scene of losing a tail in New Orleans' French Quarter, another of escaping bodyguards in the Paris catacombs, an elaborate scheme in Zanzibar to kill one of the few living Nazis. The tension is low, but the mystery remains alive until the last pages...continued

Full Review (634 words)

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(Reviewed by Chloe Pfeiffer).

Media Reviews

Mystery and Suspense Magazine
Deanna Raybourn takes a leap into the present day with this intelligent and action-packed new book, and may I say, she hits it out of the park.

The Washington Post
[I]t's impossible not to root for these dangerous dames and their refusal to let themselves be put on the ash heap — a phrase that, in this thriller, should be taken literally.

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Raybourn vividly evokes a number of far-flung locations while keeping readers on their toes trying to figure out what's going to happen next. A unique examination of womanhood as well as a compelling, complex mystery.

Library Journal (starred review)
Fans of Raybourn's Veronica Speedwell historical mysteries will enjoy this well-plotted story, and a thriller featuring four skilled, well-trained women is a treat in a male-dominated genre. A fast-paced, explosive, fun novel, reminiscent of the 2010 movie RED.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Edgar finalist Raybourn makes a dazzling excursion out of the Victorian era with this uproarious contemporary thriller...Fans of Helen Tursten and Richard Osman will relish watching these badass women in their 60s ('no one notices you unless you want them to,' Billie observes) swing into action. Raybourn has outdone herself.

Author Blurb Ariel Lawhon, New York Times bestselling author of I Was Anastasia and Code Name Hélène
Killers of a Certain Age is a delightful, twisty, hilarious novel that proves revenge is a dish best served cold. Filled with jet-setting adventure and a group of clever, middle-aged lady assassins, it's the perfect antidote to any reading drought—and a whopping good page-turner. I loved it!

Author Blurb Heather Graham, New York Times bestselling author of Crimson Summer
Deanna Raybourn's Killers of a Certain Age captures the reader from the get-go—and never lets go! An excellent and thrilling read!

Author Blurb Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times bestselling author
National treasure Deanna Raybourn never fails to enchant with her signature dry wit, sophisticated storylines, slick twists, and smart eccentric women who anchor her books. Her latest is a romping, wild delight from start to finish. Killers of a Certain Age is the 60-something lady assassin book we didn't know we needed, but, oh, we needed it. I love this book.

Reader Reviews

Vivian H

Totally Entertaining
This book about retiring women assassins being stalked is delightful. It is refreshing to read about dynamic women of a certain age that remain clever, agile, funny, cunning, strategic, and collaborative. Huzzah! To the moral assassins ridding the ...   Read More
prem singh

Killers of a Certain Age
"Killers of a Certain Age" by Diana Rayborn is a true testament to the timeless power of courage, resilience and unwavering spirit of women who refuse to be defined by their age. In a world that often marginalizes and undermines those who have seen ...   Read More
Cloggie Downunder

a very entertaining read,
“’I wasn’t expecting that. I should have stretched first.’ The truth was, it had been some time since I’d wrapped myself like a pretzel around someone I was trying to kill, to say nothing of choking someone out. It’s more a matter of leverage than ...   Read More
Becky H

Killing for hire can be fun
This is a fun romp through assassinations – although these are assassins with scruples – they only kill those who deserve to die to make the world a better place. That is-- until someone puts a hit on them! Four women assassins who have spent their ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Nazi Plunder

Black-and-white photograph of General Dwight D. Eisenhower in a German salt mine with looted paintings visible in foreground In Deanna Raybourn's novel Killers of a Certain Age, four women are betrayed by a fictional organization of assassins they joined that was formed to hunt down and kill former Nazis after the end of World War II and the fall of the Third Reich. Part of the organization's goal is recovering any artworks the Nazis may have looted and hoarded, and returning the art to its previous, rightful owner.

Indeed, the Nazis looted more than 20% of the art of Europe, according to the US National Archives. As early as 1933, they began purging "degenerate art"—Cubist, Surrealist, Expressionist and Impressionist paintings—from German public institutions, some of which they destroyed. "We know that they burned several thousand—at ...

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