Book Reviews

Finlay Donovan Is Killing It by Elle Cosimano – Book Review

Finlay Donovan Is Killing It by Elle Cosimano Book Cover

Warning – possible spoilers! (Tiny ones, though, and I’ll try to avoid even those; I swear I’ll give my best not to ruin it for you… :-))

Finlay Donovan Is Killing It by Elle Cosimano – Book Details

TITLE – Finlay Donovan Is Killing It

SERIES – Finlay Donovan, book #1

AUTHOR – Elle Cosimano

GENREthriller, mystery, contemporary, humor



MY RATING – 4.5 of 5


What It Is About

It’s a widely known fact that most moms are ready to kill someone by eight thirty A.M. on any given morning.

Finlay Donovan is at the edge of her nerves.

She is a newly divorced mom of two. Her ex-husband just got engaged. The pile of unpaid bills is getting taller and larger. And she’s already stretched her publishers’ deadline to the max. And she hasn’t even started working on her new novel.

While discussing the plot of the mystery book she’s working on with her agent, she gets overheard and mistaken for a contract killer. The offer she gets is tempting… but also something she couldn’t possibly accept.

Right? Right.

Except life tends to get weirder than fiction when you mix an overstressed mommy, a scared wife who won’t take no for an answer, a couple of late night drinks, a pissed of nanny and a couple of overconfident criminals…

Finlay Donovan Is Killing It by Elle Cosimano – My Review

Suddenly, plotting murder didn’t seem so hard. At the very least, it seemed easier than figuring out how not to murder someone in real life.

I have to say, when I first heard what Finlay Donovan Is Killing It was all about, I had my doubts. It didn’t sound like it would be my kind of thing. I thought it was going to be too shallow and ridiculous to make for a truly enjoyable read.

Well, I’m glad I was so wrong about it.

Finlay Donovan Is Killing It is a lighthearted, entertaining read you just need to have fun with without overanalyzing everything. Vibe-wise, I’d say it’s somewhere between an easy going thriller and cozy mystery. Nothing too serious about it, just a lot of fun.

It’s a good time, nothing more, nothing less. Which on most days actually sounds kind of perfect to me.

“Next time you come waltzing in here unannounced, you might accidentally walk in on something you wished you hadn’t seen.”
“Like what?”
Please don’t say a corpse. Please don’t say a corpse.

I loved Finlay as a main character. She wasn’t perfect nor did she pretend she was. In fact, she was a bit of a hot mess, but in the most endearing way.

Finlay has two kids under four. She has a jerk of an ex-husband who never misses an opportunity to smirk upon her. And he has just fired the nanny – a help Finlay desperately needs if she’s ever going to pull herself out of financial dependency and looming deadlines for her new book.

And then, just the fact that she’s a writer who spends a lot of time researching how best to dispose of a dead body… You have to appreciate the irony.

So, this stressed out, overwhelmed, in a dire need of money mom suddenly gets an opportunity to earn $50k… if she kills someone else’s nasty husband. Which – again, the irony.

Patricia withered, clearly mistaking my mom face for something else … some callous expression worn by contract killers and hit men. Maybe they’re similar. I wouldn’t know.

And then – suspend your disbelief and enjoyed the ride, because it is going to be a wild one.

Seemingly innocent decisions that end up having serious consequences. Tiny slips that suddenly pull the ground from under her feet. And, let’s face it – a bunch of things she could have guessed wouldn’t end well from the start.

It all just felt like one of those dreams where you suddenly find yourself in the middle of something. You’re not exactly sure how you ended up there. You have no idea how to get yourself out. So you may as well just roll with it.

But add murder.

“Did you get this idea from one of your books?”
“Not exactly.” I was pretty sure it came from an episode of Sid the Science Kid. At this point, I didn’t care as long as it worked.

Finlay hit that sweet spot between a hilarious, impulsive character who keeps rushing into things and someone you can actually relate to and root for. Her adventures were so amusing, funny and entertaining, you can bite your nails in one moment, wondering how she’s going to get herself out of that one, then laugh out loud the next minute.

But it wasn’t just that. There was also something about all the burnt dishes. About sweet romantic moments. The makeshift little family and how cozy their life felt in between the burning hot moments.

The unexpected friendship between Finlay and Vero was just pure gold. And the kids who always seem to know just the right thing to say to make everything a little worse… I mean, you can see how Finlay ended up where she ended up.

Biting back a swear my two-year-old was certain to repeat for weeks in the grocery cart if I voiced it aloud, I tossed the hairy poultry shears into the sink.

There was also something about Cosimano’s storytelling that felt so right and so my kind of thing.

Finlay Donovan Is Killing It had a few moments that could have been better, but also many more that were just brilliant. It was so original, unlike anything I’ve ever read before, which on its own made it an exciting read for me.

(To be fair – I don’t actually know how original this book is. I mean, for all I know, there could be hundreds of stories just like this. But I’ve never heard of any. So, in my world, this was such a refreshment.)

“[…] Your chances of landing an agent were about ten thousand to one. And your odds of landing a book deal were even worse. Somehow, you’d managed to pull off both. Getting away with murder had to be easier than that, right?”

This book was just so much fun. It was silly and lighthearted. It was easy to get through. Every time I put it down, I couldn’t wait to pick it up again. I wanted to read it. See what’s going to happen next.

I am going to say, though, the 5 stars I gave it is mostly a reflection of my personal enjoyment level. Realistically, I think it would be closer to a solid 4 stars.

Which is still amazing. I loved it. But I just thought I better mention it, so that you don’t pick up the book with a certain set of expectations and end up disappointed.

Me? I can’t wait to read the book #2, Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead, which I luckily have on my bookshelf and should get to soon. The third book, Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun, already came out this January, so I better hurry to catch up…

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