Friday, February 3, 2023

Book Review: Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Action, humor, fun
Cons: Could have used just a bit more
The Bottom Line:
Target: assassins
Book filled with mindless action
Fun; could be stronger

If You Plan to Take Out Killers, Make Sure You Don’t Miss

When I first heard about Killers of a Certain Age, the new novel from Deanna Raybourn, I was certainly intrigued. But it wasn’t until I started hearing people rave about it that I concluded I had to read it. Since it starts on a Caribbean cruise, I figured my recent cruise was the perfect time to dive in and find out what everyone was raving about. 

Billie, Mary Alice, Helen, and Natalie have spent their lives working for the Museum. Despite the picture the name might bring up, it’s actually an organization of highly train assassins, and these four friends are some of the best. They were recruited and trained together, and they’ve worked together many times over the years. 

But now they are ready to retire, and as a parting gift, the Museum is sending them on a Caribbean cruise. However, they are startled to realize one of the staff on the ship is really a fellow assassin. It quickly becomes obvious his mission is to take them out. By why? What will the women have to do to survive?

This is more of an action-adventure novel than a mystery, and the language and violence definitely keep it from being one of my cozies. As I was talking about the plot to some friends I had made on my cruise, they said it would make a great movie, and I can see it. This would be a high octagon action movie. 

And I certainly enjoyed it. There is a reason action movies are popular, after all. There are plenty of great scenes here that had me turning pages. 

However, a book needs a bit more than an action movie, and this book was missing that. A two-hour movie can get away with having less than a book that takes longer than that to read, right? I need some more twists and surprises than I got here. I was usually a step or two ahead of the story and reading to catch up. 

I did feel the characters were good. They were stronger than typical action movie characters, although, again, they could have been just a little stronger. 

Now, this isn’t to say that I didn’t like them or didn’t get caught up in the story. As I’ve often said in other reviews, predictable isn’t bad if you are enjoying the journey, and I was. The action takes us to several different locations, which was lots of fun. 

And there was the humor. I smiled plenty and laughed many times at the dialogue and situations the characters found themselves in. 

Most of the book takes place in the present and is written in first person past sense from Billie’s point of view. However, we do get some chapters in the past. It’s always easy to tell when we switch, and they do help shed some light on the events of the story. What I found most interesting is that these passages were written in third person present tense. 

It could just be my expectations were too high as well. Maybe if I had read this book back when it came out in September instead now, after seeing plenty of people raving about it, I would have fallen even more under its spell than I did. 

I’m glad I picked up Killers of a Certain Age. If you are in the mood for fun but mindless action, this is definitely the book for you. 


  1. Glad to know you liked this book, as I have it in my Kindle queue. I'm a fan of this author's historical mysteries. I heard her interviewed a while back and she said it was the publisher's idea for her to take on this idea. Sounds like it was a good suggestion.

  2. I really enjoyed this book too. Nice review, Mark

  3. I thought this was a fun book and also smiled as I read it. I kept picturing Dame Judith, Maggie Smith, and others in a PBS adaptation.

  4. Write the author and volunteer to be the director of the film! ;) Good reviews. Lyn P

  5. I also enjoyed this recently, more than the author's other books. I agree it wasn't very deep and didn't have the well developed characters of Richard Osman's books.


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