The cover of Jamie S. Rich and Joelle Jones’ Lady Killer grabbed me, and though the reviews I read were middling, I bought it.
Josie Sculler is a picture perfect housewife, mom, and assassin. Her husband and children are oblivious. Her mother in law has suspicions that all is not right. How does she do it?
When we first meet Josie, she’s posing as an Avon lady to get into a target’s house. She looks like a sexier Jackie Kenedy. When her plan to poison her intended victim is thwarted by badly behaved terriers, Josie adapts and attacks with a hammer. A vicious, bloody fight ensues in the kitchen. Josie is victorious, but gets blood on her suit. Turn the page and Josie is in her own kitchen, cooking dinner for her husband and supervising her blond haired, cherubic (but violent) daughters. Her grumpy, German speaking mother in law does nothing but disapprove.
Her handler, Peck, calls during dinner, and then shows up after dinner. Peck is an asshole and a threat to Josie’s double life. He gives her a new gig, but the experienced reader knows that a handler who wants to protect his agent doesn’t cavalierly threaten her cover.
I would have liked a little more time exploring how she does it before everything falls apart. I also wish that writers would find a trope other than agency turns on trained assassin. It never goes well for the agency. Never. Josie finds herself in Peck’s cross hairs and fighting for her life.
The big problem with Lady Killer is that the whole thing is rather rote and never dips below the surface. The art is amazing, but the story doesn’t live up to the art.