Books,  Reviews

Finlay Donovan is Killing It

Finlay Donovan is Killing It

by Elle Cosimano
Published by: Minotaur Books
Publish Date: February 2021
Genre(s): Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Mystery, Cozy Mystery
HB&W Rating: 4
View on Goodreads
Buy on Amazon: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Triggers: divorce, off-stage physical abuse, murder


Finlay Donovan is killing it…except, she’s really not. A stressed-out single mom of two and struggling novelist, Finlay’s life is in chaos: The new book she promised her literary agent isn’t written; her ex-husband fired the nanny without telling her; and this morning she had to send her four-year-old to school with hair duct-taped to her head after an incident with scissors.

When Finlay is overheard discussing the plot of her new suspense novel with her agent over lunch, she’s mistaken for a contract killer and inadvertently accepts an offer to dispose of a problem husband in order to make ends meet. She soon discovers that crime in real life is a lot more difficult than its fictional counterpart, as she becomes tangled in a real-life murder investigation.

Fast-paced, deliciously witty, and wholeheartedly authentic in depicting the frustrations and triumphs of motherhood in all its messiness, hilarity, and heartfelt moments, Finlay Donovan Is Killing It is the first in a brilliant new series from award-winning Elle Cosimano.

Synopsis source: Goodreads


This book was an absolute delight! I admit that it is my first cozy mystery, but I’m solidly sold on the genre if it’s like this book.

Poor Finn. She’s having just about the worst luck ever. Not only did her cad of a husband have the audacity to cheat on her, but when he left her, he took everything he wanted from the house, proposed to his fling, and moved in with her. To rub salt in the wound, his sod farm has made it big, thanks to his fiancé’s real estate contacts, and now he’s flush with cash while the mother of his children is struggling to keep the lights on. And now he wants the kids! She’s maxed out on everything, the bills are piling up and the cherry on top is that she’s so late on her book that her editor is threatening to cancel the contract and she’ll have to find a way to repay her advance. Finlay’s life is a hot mess.

Then it gets a bit messier.

Overheard at lunch with her agent, a woman married to an abusive husband slips Finlay a note to “take care of” him for her for $50,000. Finn couldn’t possibly. Not even when she imagines how many diapers $50K could buy. Nope. She can’t. She’s not going to call…but maybe she’ll look him up to see what’s so bad about him that his wife would want him dead. Maybe she’ll do it from laptop of the husband-stealing woman about to become the stepmother to her children. Maybe she’ll just go check him out in person at the swanky bar the note said he’d be at later. She’ll need an acceptable dress to wear…so maybe she’ll borrow one of the husband-stealer’s LBDs and wear a blonde wig that makes her resemble the husband-stealer and give the husband-stealer’s name at the bar.

What follows is a series of events that snowballs on Finn. As she finds herself in impossible situations, she tries to juggle those situations with being a single mom and working on her book. But suddenly the only book she wants to write isn’t fiction, and when she turns in the first few chapters in to her agent and gets an offer she can’t refuse, she realizes the one thing to save her from losing her children might also be the one thing guaranteed to lose them forever.

I really enjoyed Finn’s story. As a mom, I found her mom-struggles so relatable, and I empathized with her so much. Finn herself is down on her luck at the moment, but through no fault of her own. Not really. Life just keeps dealing her some crappy cards and she’s struggling to keep up.

Finlay’s nanny, Vero, was great. She’s a straight-talking, takes-no-shit, street smart woman who knows what to do in a make-or-break situation. I really enjoyed Finn and Vero’s dynamic, at times laugh-out-loud funny and other times incredibly heartwarming. We all need to have that one friend who wouldn’t judge us, they’d just grab a shovel and help you bury the body.

Seriously, I found myself highly invested in Finn’s character right from the start. I laughed out loud so often my entire family kept asking me what was so funny. The pacing could be a little slow at times, but honestly, it didn’t bother me. The chapters were shorter, making for more easily-digestible snippets as I took care of mom things…I’m sure Finn would get it. I also loved the camaraderie between Finn and Vero and seeing their relationship develop. I just really liked this book!

Smart writing full of humor and heart, this is a great book that doesn’t make you think too hard but still surprises you. I can’t wait to see what Finn and Vero get up to in the sequel: Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead.

Happy reading!

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