Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn [in Booklist]
Billie was the outlier in 1979 when she was recruited by the Museum to become one of four elite Sphinxes: hired assassins who do good. Now as newly retired sexagenarians, she, Helen, Natalie, and Mary Alice board a luxury cruise, a thank-you-for-your-service gift that turns out to be a deathtrap. The quartet escape – these arrogant younger agents just aren’t reliable – embarking on a global killing spree (the world has no room for bad guys) to save their own lives.
Jane Oppenheimer crisply commands the present, while Christina Delaine drops a few registers to embody the past, revealing the provenance of certain relationships, some that lasted, others that imploded. Both readers are impressively, effortlessly deft with various regional, international, and sometimes ambiguous accents.
Best-selling, prolific Deanna Raybourn’s ending acknowledgments include a thank you to the editor who suggested “a book about older women.” The still-quinquagenarian Raybourn’s invincible golden girls might be making their maiden, or rather, matron voyage for now, but loyal audiences can hope (demand?) that their ship sails for decades to come.