Review: Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn

Four trained assassins are sent on a cruise to celebrate their retirement, unaware their employer has a kill order out on them. The four must evade other trained assassins while piecing together who wants them dead and why, and whether there’s any hope of clearing their names so they can enjoy their golden years.

Title: Killers of a Certain Age | Publisher: Berkley | Pub Date: 2022-09-06 | Pages: 368 | ISBN13/ASIN: 978-0593200681 | Genre: Thriller/Suspense | Language: English | Source: NetGalley| Starred Review

Killers of a Certain Age Review

This novel uses alternating timelines to piece together the current story about four female assassins sent on a cruise to celebrate their retirement. After 40 years in the field, they’ve earned their pensions.

Or so they think. When one of their own tries to kill them, their holiday turns into a fight for survival. Billie and her friends are accustomed to having others research targets; now, they must use their old-school techniques and instincts to piece together the truth and figure out what to do.

It’s refreshing to see four older women centered in a story, and the author doesn’t shy away from a lifetime of personal and professional history that’s affecting them all in different ways. Everyone has baggage of some sort, and they all have to pull themselves together to survive. This is particularly challenging for the woman who recently lost her husband, and that grief poses a risk to the group as they try to stay one step ahead of an international agency that trains expert assassins.

This story moves at a brisk pace, setting the stage early for an action-packed adventure that covers multiple continents and situations that eventually give all the pieces they need to figure out who wants them dead, and why. Anyone who loves old-school spy stories will find plenty here to appreciate because there’s a lot of recon required as the women put together and execute their plans. 

Although the story is filled with action, it doesn’t sacrifice character development. And while there are points of contention throughout that felt credible and shaped the character arcs, it was also nice to read about a group of female friends who didn’t see each other as adversaries. There’s a lot of love and support among them, and it’s really refreshing to read novels that don’t simply pit the women against each other for added drama. 

Lots of unexpected developments, and even if you piece some things together before the reveals, it’s unlikely you’ll have the whole picture. Ultimately, a fast-paced read that had me hooked from start to finish, and felt fresh because there simply aren’t enough stories like this that are on my radar. This is one book that really should be adapted to film. Forget another Bond story, and spare me The Gray Man 2. These “gray women” may have silver in their hair but they have grit and charm and they take advantage of people’s assumptions to thwart experts again and again. 4.5/5 stars.

Consumers needing content warnings are urged to check out Killers of a Certain Age’s page on Does the Dog die by clicking this link: Killers of a Certain Age (Book, 2022) –

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