Author: Deanna Raybourn
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Pub. Date: Sep. 2022
Killers of a Certain Age was the perfect 3 star read. It was a lot of fun and I sped through it, but I was disappointed by the total lack of character development. I don’t think all books have to be super deep and there’s something to be said for a light, quick read, but this one had so much potential to be both and overall it was just okay, which was a letdown.
Killers of a Certain Age is a fun story about an elite group of female assassins who spent their careers stealthily removing shady drug lords and war criminals from society. They’re now in their 60’s and have recently retired. To thank them for their contributions, their company sends them on a lavish cruise to celebrate. While on the cruise, they quickly figure out that someone is trying to kill them and spend the rest of the novel on the run and trying to take out their opponents.
The book is by Deanna Raybourn, author of the much beloved Veronica Speedwell series. I’m a huge fan of Veronica and was thrilled about the concept for this book. Who doesn’t want to read about a bunch of badass old ladies that are underestimated by their competition? The humour wasn’t quite as good as Veronica Speedwell, but I still had a few good chuckles and found it to be a fast-paced, plot-driven novel. I read it as an audiobook while doing an Agatha Christie puzzle, so it was a very enjoyable experience. If you want to get lost in the chase for a few hours, than I recommend this one for you.
Sadly, overall it was still a bit of a disappointment though. The author presents us with 4 main characters, but the entire story is told from just one POV, that of Billie (one of the 4 women). I thought it was an odd choice. Billie is interesting enough, but I didn’t find anything particularly special about her and I thought it was a missed opportunity to tell a multi-POV story. This may have proved too challenging for the author though because all 4 of the women are ultimately forgettable. We’re given a few defining features for each woman, but honestly I couldn’t remember who was who by the end of the novel because they all read the exact same and had such little characterization.
There’s nothing wrong with a good plot driven novel, but I felt there was so much to unpack here about how society treats old people. There’s a lot of action, but the themes are not strong. There is a poorly developed romance and the friendships felt very surficial for 4 women who’d supposedly known each other for 40 years and trusted one another with their lives. That said, I think Raybourn may just be an action author. She relies on humour a lot and while Veronica Speedwell has more depth than this, she still tends to rely on the action to drive those novels as well. The difference is that Veronica and Stoker have real chemistry, both as friends and lovers, whereas this women in this story just didn’t have any chemistry, so I only had the plot to keep me interested. A multi-faceted story would be so much more compelling and unfortunately, this wasn’t it.