Review: The Housewife Assassin’s Handbook

By Josie Brown

Available on: Amazon, Audible, and Barnes and Noble.

Overview:

Blurb: Donna and Carl have three beautiful kids together. Donna strives to be a good mom, which is a little complicated when she’s a professional assassin for Acme.

Trigger Warnings:

Bullying (Adult), Bullying (Child), Death, Drug Use (Illicit), Drug Use (Non-Consensual), Drug Use (Prescription), Food, Gore, Gun Violence, Infidelity, Murder, Non-Consensual Touching, Off Screen Infidelity, Off Screen Sex, On Screen Infidelity, On Screen Sex, Sex, Smut, Toxic Masculinity, Unsafe Lifestyle, Unsafe Sex, Violence, Violent Imagery, War

Body Count: Lost count, honestly.

The Specs:

  • Series 
    • Series Name: The Housewife Assassin
    • Book Number: 1 of 18
  • Genre
    • Technical Genre: Espionage Thriller, General Humorous Fiction, International Mystery & Crime
    • Theo Genre: Feminist Fiction, Murder Fiction
  • Page count: 288 pages
  • POV: 1st
  • Publication information:
    • Publisher: Signal Press
    • Language:  English
    • ISBN-13: 9781942052098
    • ASIN: B0050PJZLK

Other Fun Stuff:

To Read or Not To Read (Again):

Donated, but might read more of the series

Rating out of five: 3.5 out of 5

Representation, Morality, and Sexism Tests:

  • Bechdel–Wallace Test
    • Purpose: to establish actual female characters that act independently of male characters in a story.
      • Do two female characters talk about something other than a male character?
    • Pass or Fail: Pass
  • DuVernay Test:
    • Purpose: to establish characters of color in a story.
      • Are there fully actualized characters of color?
    • Pass or Fail: Fail
  • Ellen Willis Test:
    • Purpose: to show balance in characters regardless of gender.
      • Would two related characters still work to carry the story if their genders were reversed?
    • Pass or Fail: Pass
  • Hays Code Test:
    • Purpose: to ignore outdated and queer-degrading/punishing standards that once were the standard for produced mass media.
    • Part One: outdated moral guidelines
      • Are there any outdated “moral content” rules gloriously kicked in the teeth by this story?
      • Are there people of color allowed a happy ending?
      • Is there an interracial couple?
      • Is there profanity used at all?
      • Is there one or more homicidal acts and/or murder?
    • Part Two: queer representation
      • Are there queer characters that get a happy ending?
      • Is there an illegal or otherwise distasteful age gap between characters, queer or otherwise?
      • Do the queer characters die tragically, violently, or at all?
    • Pass or Fail: Fail
  • Mako Mori Test:
    • Purpose: to assure that in the story there is at least one female character independent of a male character’s story.
      • Is there a female character?
      • Does she get her own arc?
      • Does it do anything other than serve to support a man’s story?
    • Pass or Fail: Pass
  • Sexy Lamp Test:
    • Purpose: to assure that a female character in the story serves as an active protagonist, not just a device to be used by the male main character.
      • Would the plot fall apart if the female character was replaced by a sexy looking lamp?
    • Post-It Note Caveat:
      • Would the character be able to be replaced by a Sexy Lamp with a sticky note on it for information conveyance?
    • Pass or Fail: Pass!
  • Tauriel Test:
    • Purpose: to help support the existence of competent, independent female characters regardless of a romantic sub-plot.
      • Is there at least one woman in the story?
      • Is this woman competent in her chosen occupation and not immediately shown up by a newcomer male character?
      • If she has or develops a love interest during the story, either implied or explicitly stated, does she suddenly abandon her job and/or chosen path to support or pursue said love interest? 
    • Pass or Fail: Pass
  • Vito Russo Test:
    • Purpose: to establish more characters that are on the SAGA (Sexuality And Gender Acceptance), QTPOC (Queer and Trans People of Color) or LGBTQIAP+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual/Biromantic/Bigender, Transgender, Queer/Genderqueer, Intersex, Asexual/Aromantic/Agender, Pansexual/Panromantic, and others not listed here) spectrum.
      • Is there a character on the queer spectrum?
      • Are they a character beyond their orientation?
      • Do they actually affect the plot?
      • Is the character something beyond a punchline?
    • Pass or Fail: Fail

Overall review:

Thoughts: It starts as what one thinks a normal espionage thriller does with a female lead: scantily clad and about to murder someone. Thankfully, that’s where the trope seems to end. Donna has to deal with lying to literally everyone in there little Mc-Mansion world about where her husband Carl is. And then enters Jack, the smart mouthed, kick ass assassin who gives Donna a run for her money in the murdering people business. Now, they’re playing house whilst trying to stop a terrorist attack, and dealing with the PTA moms and little league drama.

All in all, a fun romp in rich, entitled people land. The violence was justified and believable. The dialogue and pacing was such that I finished it in about a day and a half because I wanted to keep reading.

I would absolutely read more of this series.

Was it engaging?

Yes

Favorite Character:

Donna

Review format updated 10 June 2019

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