By: Kimberly Van Sickle
Publisher: Atmosphere Press
Publication Date: September 12, 2023
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: September 3, 2023
Assassins Are Us, Kimberly Van Sickle’s debut novel, is a yummy blend of humor, sarcasm, whimsy, and a dash of romance that will keep her audience entertained from beginning to end.
Hedy Hinterschott may only be seventeen years old, but she’s on her way to becoming quite an accomplished assassin. She and her twin brother Gerhardt (Gary) are being groomed to be the next generation of assassins to execute the ‘family business.’ Hedy is secure with the love of her family, yet there’s an intuitive sense she often has when she puts too much thought into the notion that she doesn’t quite fit in with them. She and Gary are typical siblings who get along as much as they annoy each other to no end. Given their line of business, both Hedy and Gary learned at a very young age that what happens in the Hinterschott family stays in the Hinterschott family. Both children were committed to following this rule and were (somewhat) accommodating.
Hedy had a natural ability when it came to giving a tail the slip as much as she was deeply knowledgeable of her training. Gary, on the other hand, took a bit more handling and repetition before he caught on, if ever. Hedy’s personality was razor sharp and she took her assassin training quite seriously. Gary, on the other hand, often struggled and even their parents were concerned with the hopes of their son ever becoming a fraction of the sleuth they were confident their daughter was becoming. She even overheard them discussing their concerns about Gary one evening: "...We can’t delay much longer. Hedy was hitting her marks at eight years and consistently at that...he’s already behind the learning curve in so many areas..." (pg. 76) The Hinterschotts were always ready for the next assignment and on constant high alert. However, one day in Honors World History class, Hedy was about to compromise the family rule of never sharing too much information. She was distracted by a cute boy and the next time she was at the library, she ran into that cute boy, Dave Corso. This was the first time her judgment was clouded: are family secrets really the number one priority? Maybe crushing on Dave Corso was more of a priority at the moment...
Kimberly Van Sickle has written a great plot-twister and infused entertaining exchanges and scenes throughout this read. The teenage dialogue is spot-on and believable as much as the plot is sound; yet not predictable. She’s taken an historical figure (Hitler) and spun a tale around his legacy that presents some interesting factoids to consider. Her fluid prose is effortless from chapter to chapter and the continuous dark humor (laced with sarcasm) she assigns to character Hedy is great when she sets up a scene where Hedy attempts to explain the origins of the swastika: "...the whole class stares at me as if I was about to reveal a Taliban vest beneath my clothes, so I go to the board to demonstrate..." (pg. 6). Even though this is a work of fiction, Ms. Van Sickle manages to weave nuggets of historical fact into the storyline, and this is another example of her gift when it comes to intentional writing. Fun read Ms. Van Sickle! I look forward to your next book.
Quill says: Assassins Are Us has great plot twists as much as humorous moments.
For more information on Assassins Are Us, please visit the author's website at: kimberlyvansicklewrites.com/