Action Adventure, Mystery, Suspense, Women

Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn


Description

Older women often feel invisible, but sometimes that’s their secret weapon.

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.

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.

My Thoughts

Red meets Kill Bill in this delicious romp featuring four of the most entertaining but deadly female characters ever put to page. This is such a different type of story from Raybourn and proves she’s one of her generation’s most accomplished writers.

Fans of her 19th century series may not appreciate the departure, but I sincerely hope they give this a chance. Every character is drawn tautly but with warmth and wit, and the story is flawless.

If you’re looking for a purely entertaining, action-packed adventure, this is your book. I will be astonished if this doesn’t get adapted to film.

General, Magical, Women

Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen


Description

From the acclaimed author of Garden Spells comes an enchanting tale of lost souls, lonely strangers, secrets that shape us, and how the right flock can guide you home.

Down a narrow alley in the small coastal town of Mallow Island, South Carolina, lies a stunning cobblestone building comprised of five apartments. It’s called The Dellawisp and it is named after the tiny turquoise birds who, alongside its human tenants, inhabit an air of magical secrecy.

When Zoey Hennessey comes to claim her deceased mother’s apartment at The Dellawisp, she meets her quirky, enigmatic neighbors including a girl on the run, a grieving chef whose comfort food does not comfort him, two estranged middle-aged sisters, and three ghosts. Each with their own story. Each with their own longings. Each whose ending isn’t yet written.

When one of her new neighbors dies under odd circumstances the night Zoey arrives, she is thrust into the mystery of The Dellawisp, which involves missing pages from a legendary writer whose work might be hidden there. She soon discovers that many unfinished stories permeate the place, and the people around her are in as much need of healing from wrongs of the past as she is. To find their way they have to learn how to trust each other, confront their deepest fears, and let go of what haunts them.

Delightful and atmospheric, Other Birds is filled with magical realism and moments of pure love that won’t let you go. Sarah Addison Allen shows us that between the real and the imaginary, there are stories that take flight in the most extraordinary ways.

My Thoughts

I rarely re-read books in ARC form (I wait until I have the final copy in hand), but I re-read this one. I’ve been waiting for a new story from Sarah Addison Allen for a long time. I found her earlier books beautiful, evocative, and soothing. Other Birds is all that and more.

The thread of mothers and daughters that winds through this tale is what hooked me, I think. Allen gives us a flawed protagonist striking out on her own for the first time and trying to learn more about the mother she doesn’t remember. She begins her new life in a place her mother loved, where she encounters other sorts of mothers and daughters and sons, all with complicated maternal relationships.

Allen weaves a rich and gentle story about ordinary people living seemingly ordinary lives, who are touched by magic for just a little while. The stories and their many pathways circle around, duck under, and weave back in to create a bubble of a world that is full of love, regret, and hope.

One of the best of the year.