Donna Stone is a typical suburban mom in the OC. Her days are filled with carpools, volunteer work at the school, and carting her three children and their friends around to their various activities, all while holding down a free-lance job with Acme Industries as an assassin for the CIA. In her mind, her roles as mommy and hit woman aren’t all that different. She says:
Any woman can be both the perfect housewife and an accomplished assassin, because both functions require the same qualities: creativity; a never-say-die attitude; and an attention to details, no matter how small.
Her career began five years earlier when her husband Carl, an Acme Employee, was murdered. Up to that point, she’d had no idea that his employer was a subcontractor for the CIA. Carl had infiltrated a collection of rogue operatives called the Quorum. The night she gave birth to their youngest child, he died in an explosion. When Carl’s boss offered her a job, she took it. Avenging her husband’s death and the need to support her children was all she needed to convince her that killing bad guys was the job for her.
The Housewife Assassin’s Handbook is delightfully snarky, sexy and completely ridiculous in the best way possible. The story open with Donna spread-eagled, almost naked and handcuffed to the bed in an upscale hotel as she waits for the tranquilizer slipped into Yuri’s—a Russian Mafia boss—macchiato to take effect. Her plans are to snap the handcuffs, slit his throat, then jump into her Toyota Highlander minivan and get to the school by three o’clock to take her son, Jeff, to baseball practice. Plans go slightly awry, but Donna’s above mentioned creativity and never-say-die attitude gets her to the school (almost) on time. She handles both roles like a pro, slipping from mommy to assassin back to mommy again, perhaps not flawlessly, but with humor and skill. Assignments come via her handler, Abu, the Good Humor Man.
I’ve never been a fan of books written in present-tense, however this was so skillfully done that I was about half-way through the book before I realized that The Housewife Assassin’s Handbook is in present tense. There were a few continuity errors, but I was having too much fun to care. Handbook is the first of a series followed by The Housewife Assassin’s Guide to Gracious Killing, The Housewife Assassin’s Killer Christmas Tips, The Housewife Assassin’s Relationship Survival Guide, The Housewife Assassin’s Vacation to Die For, and The Housewife Assassin’s Recipes for Disaster. I’ve not read these, but they are definitely on my to-read list. If you’re stuck inside because of the snow and ice, or just in the mood for a fun read, check ’em out.
Signing off from sunny, warm Phoenix Arizona. Have a great weekend!!!