The Housewife Assassin's Handbook
By Josie Brown5 out of 5
Murder, suspense, sex-and some handy household tips.
Every desperate housewife would love an alias. Donna Stone has one, and it's government sanctioned. Oh sure, you need to be ruthless to take on Russian mafia bosses, rogue dictators, and terrorists set on destroying the world. But it takes real killer instincts to survive suburbia. Try juggling the fifth grade phone tree during a shootout with skinhead arms dealers, or driving carpool while being chased by Chinese double agents.
Donna's life wasn't always this complicated. Five years earlier she was just another woman with two preschoolers, a baby bump, and an adoring husband, Carl, with whom she lived happily ever after in a McMansion in the Orange County, California community of Hilldale. But Donna's life was changed forever the night she delivered her baby:
Carl's car blew up on the way to the hospital.
Turns out Carl was a "hard man"-an assassin-for the black ops organization known as Acme Corporation. The hit on Alex was carried out by the Quorum, a terrorist cell he was tracking. The Quorum's motto: "Show me the money." Governments and corporations do as they're told-or suffer bloody consequences.
Carl left something behind that the Quorum wants badly. To protect herself and avenge Carl's death, Donna joined Acme. Whereas her hostessing skills rival Martha Stewart's, her marksmanship is second to none.
A good thing, too, because the Quorum has planted a sleeper cell in Hilldale. For Donna, that's too close for comfort. Will she be able to save her family before the Quorum blows up Los Angeles?
Acme's way of flushing out the Quorum is by "bringing Carl back from the dead." But terrorism makes strange bedfellows. Jack Craig, the wild card Acme operative paired with Donna brings, new meaning to that old adage "Honey, I'm home..."
Now this is a heroine that I can admire. Donna Stone is a mum, running around trying to keep a tidy house and feed her family; she tries not to be late picking up the kids, and watches them proudly. They all happen to live in a perfect community, in which the Stone family seem to be comparatively normal next to the Desperate Housewives, and equally desperate husbands.
But no one knows that she is also an assassin for Acme Industries, and knows a hundred different ways to kill.
The two halves of Donna's life make sense. As you follow her story, there's no point where you think of her as "Assassin Donna" vs. "Mummy Donna", her attitude to life is even throughout. As an assassin she is still concerned that the poison might not take effect fast enough for her to be home in time for her son's baseball game; in her daily life she doesn't pretend to be anything less than she is (she just hides the I-Kill-People profession). I really like how well this was done.
And as for Jack. I'll have one of those, please.