by Mark de Castrique
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Pub Date 24 Oct 2023 | Archive Date 14 Nov 2023
"A refreshingly different crime novel." ―Mystery and Suspense Magazine for Secret Lives
""This light and lively series launch from de Castrique introduces 75-year-old Ethel Fiona Crestwater, a retired FBI agent who remains a legend among her former colleagues...Ethel is an elderly Nancy Drew: sure of herself and her convictions, and ready to bend a few rules to achieve her goal of seeing justice done. She’s off to a fine start." ―Publishers Weekly
In a case deciding the future of clean energy, everything hinges on how the chief justice of Supreme Court will lean. DANGEROUS WOMEN stirs up the perfect cocktail of ingenious spy-craft and political intrigue of Thomas Perry's The Old Man brightened with the charming, uncanny energy of Killers of a Certain Age. This urgent, cleverly plotted high stakes thriller is set in motion by botched attack on two law clerks leaving one dead and the other in a coma. The ensuing cover up leaves a string of bodies and too many players at cross-purposes. It also leaves Chief Justice Clarissa Baxter with a target on her back.
We'll need an off the grid hero with friends in high places: enter retired FBI agent-turned-boardinghouse landlady, Ethel Fiona Crestwater (legend) and her double-first-cousin-twice-removed Jesse Cooper (sidekick). Although in her mid-seventies, Ethel is no bumbling amateur sleuth; she's a seasoned pro with razor-sharp instincts and Bond-worthy skills. College-aged Jesse brings tech savvy and boundless enthusiasm, along with an innate talent for intrigue. Together, the unlikely duo will face malicious back-stabbing political sycophants, conniving lobbyists, and a motivated assassin bent on removing the Chief Justice from the equation—along with Ethel, who stands defiantly between the hitman and his payday.
"Add another wise, experienced senior sleuth to a group that includes Richard Osman’s Thursday Murder Club series and even Miss Marple. De Castrique’s quirky characters and offbeat twists will appeal to Osman’s readers." ― Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW for Secret Lives
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 75 members
WOW! I was enthralled with the story from Chapter 1. Dangerous Women is the second book the in the Secret Lives (Book #1) Series. I didn’t know this at first, and it didn’t affect my understanding of the story. (I will absolutely be reading Secret Lives though!)
This story follows 75 year old retired FBI agent Ethel Fiona Crestwater, and her double first cousin twice removed, Jesse, as they try to untangle the events that led to the murder of Supreme Court Justice Clarissa Baxter’s clerk. Justice Baxter is set to be the deciding vote in a case that will have devastating effects no matter the decision.
If you loved the show Scandal, this novel is for you. I felt like it had the pacing and twisty turns of an episode of that show, and Ethel Crestwater is a badass version of Olivia Pope. She gets things HANDLED. I LOVE that a 75 year old woman is written as a hero.
Give this one a read for sure! While you’re waiting for it to be released, check out Secret Lives.
Thank you to Poisoned Pen Press and NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book.
Dangerous Women by Mark de Castrique - this book was everything you want in a cozy mystery. It was funny, thrilling and unputdownable! I had to see how it ended. This book was such a fun and quick read. My only disappointment was I had no idea it was the second in a series. Totally my fault! Going to read the first book ASAP! Ethel and Jesse are the most hilarious team! Hoping for more in this series. Thanks NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for the ARC!
This was a really well written story, I enjoyed the spy elements of the story. Mark de Castrique does a great job in keeping me invested and wanting to continue the story. The characters were what I expected and glad they felt like real people.
When I saw that Mark de Castrique had penned a sequel to Secret Lives, I was determined to beg, borrow or steal it to read it as soon as possible. Thank you, Poisoned Pen Press, for granting me an advanced review copy and saving me from a life of crime!
We see the return of 75-year-old Ethel Fiona Crestwater, a spy turned landlady, and her lodger and double-first-cousin-twice-removed Jesse Cooper. The two distant relatives teamed up to solve the assassination of a Secret Service agent in Secret Lives; this time they’re hoping to find out who hired an assassin of a different sort.
The blurb compares Dangerous Women to Thomas Perry’s The Old Man and Deanna Raybourn’s Killers of a Certain Age. Balderdash! This engrossing sequel needs no comparison, and, for those who weren’t lucky enough to read Secret Lives, this page-turner stands alone. Needless to say at this point, but here goes: highly, highly, highly recommended.
In the interest of full disclosure, I received this book from NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press in exchange for an honest review.
This #2 in a new series was even more fun than the first book. Ethel Fiona Crestwater is a terrific main character. She is a legendary former second generation FBI agent with madly honed skills whether it be surveillance, self-defense, lock-picking, strategy or general mayhem. She is widely admired and generally feared and well-respected enough that the head of the FBI or the director of the CIA take her phone calls.
And Ethel is a 75 year old woman and capitalizes on the fact that her demographic is generally ignored or underestimated. Her relative Jesse lives with her and he is particularly useful in investigations and interpreting techie and crypto currency issues. She runs a boarding house in the D.C. area for law reinforcement types and she is loyal to them and certainly polishes their job skills.
This case involves the Supreme Court and is a page turner. There's lots of action and Ethel with her wealth of experience has a way of figuring out what's happening and then coming up with a plan. Exciting and fun. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
If you fell in love with the recent murder mystery trends in novel the past few years you will definitely want to add this to your list. Take the Thursday Murder Club but add a few jolts of intensity and a dash of feminine power. I could not get enough!
This is the second book in a series, but my first book by Castrique. It definitely works well as a stand-alone story. My main takeaway: I LOVED Ethel! A septuagenarian woman who’s former-FBI but still bad-@ss enough to show everyone else in any law enforcement role up? She was perfect, and the whole plot entertaining and filled with suspense and political intrigue. What a fun, quick read! I will definitely look forward to following along with Ethel’s future adventures.
Thank you Mark De Castrique, Poisoned Pen Press, and NetGalley for providing this ARC for review consideration. All opinions expressed are my own.
Secret Lives was a favorite book of 2022 for me, and I was thrilled to get the chance to read the sequel. DANGEROUS WOMEN has everything in it that I enjoyed in the first book: twisty plot, political intrigue, and a septuagenarian heroine how knows how to get sh*t done.
I'd call this a "cozy political thriller" - nothing overly violent (there are some deaths, though), and there's also a strong community element that's reminiscent of traditional cozy mysteries. Ethel and Jesse make a fantastic duo, and they're supported by a great cast of characters, likable and unlikeable.
The political mystery is incredibly well-done, with so many elements to keep you guessing. Like book one, the politics tie into real-life issues so it feels very realistic and thoughtfully-written. There is an author's note at the back that address this topic.
Thank you to Poisoned Pen Press and NetGalley for this eARC in exchange for my honest review.
If The Thursday Murder Club and The Pelican Brief had a baby book it would be Dangerous Women. A political thriller with an exceedingly smart septuagenarian main character, Ethel Crestwater is the real deal.
A retired FBI standout, Ethel uses her wits and connections to ride roughshod over the bad guys. Was heaps of fun to read.