Feb 4, 2023

Review--Finlay Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosimano


"Getting the job done" for one single mom takes on a whole new meaning in Finlay Donovan is Killing It.

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.


Finlay Donovan is Killing It is Elle Cosimano's adult debut and is a fun, quirky kind of mystery! I would liken it to cozy mystery for sure as it has that sort of fun light-heartedness to it! While a touch of paranormal would make it the ideal read for me, that Finlay was an author made up for it for sure! Lol! I liked that Finlay was a different kind of heroine, she was a 30-something-year-old mom newly divorced and trying to raise two little ones while her ex and his new fiancee did everything possible to make her life unbearable.

Finlay is having a rough time of it lately. It was so bad that I was really feeling for the poor girl. She was late on getting her contract book finished, she was behind on her bills, her ex-husband fired her babysitter, her husband and his new fiancee--the one he cheated on Finlay with--were trying to get full custody of her kids...life really couldn't get much worse. When she meets her agent for lunch in which she planned to beg for yet another extension on the book she was struggling to write, words were said that get misinterpreted by another patron. Finlay uncovers a mysterious note in her bag that has a name and an address and a cash amount. Turns out the woman thinks Finlay is a hitwoman and she wants Finlay to kill her husband who is a very bad man.

Finlay tries to explain she misinterpreted the conversation, but the words fall on death ears as the woman is convinced Finlay is the woman to get the job done. When Finlay decides to maybe just look into what kind of person this husband is, she immediately gathers that he is not a nice man. While she had no plan at all with what she was going to do with him, he winds up passed out in her minivan and when she makes a quick pit-stop at her home to change clothes and figure out a plan...she comes back to her van to find him dead.

While in the midst of her panicking, she bumps into the babysitter, Vero, as she is somewhat robbing her of a few goods in the house and they both end up staring at the dead body in her van. It's not long before the two form a partnership and Finlay learns the real story of why Vero was fired. The two begin working together and helping each other. Nothing says friendship than like burying a dead body after all!

It's not long before Finlay is then recommended for another hit job and despite trying to tell the new "client" that that is not her job, she gets in way over her head! The plus side is though that her new side job of not killing people but having them turn up dead has given her new inspiration for a book that her agent is very proud to sell! Things are looking up for Finlay and that's about when the mob crashes into her life, add in a very sexy bartender who's a little on the young side, and a smokin hot detective and Finlay has plenty to keep herself occupied with, as if her writing career and raising two children weren't enough!

Finlay is also trying to figure out who might have really killed the first abusive husband. Someone had closed her garage door where she left her running minivan with the man inside and carbon monoxide is what killed him. But when the smokin hot detective, Nick is also trying to solve the case and put away mobsters for a very long time, she's trying to cover her own tracks but also figure out who might have been watching her and done the deed!

Needless to say this book was very fast paced and the mystery solving was massively entertaining! Finlay and Vero are kind of polar opposites, but they work well together. Although, I was a little put off by the something of a love triangle going on between Finlay and the detective and the bartender. I was more rooting for the detective for reasons, while the bartender was a good few years younger than Finlay. It was getting a little too much like How Stella Got Her Groove Back for my liking, but perhaps the age difference was THAT vast, but with how Finlay perceived the bartender, Julian, in the beginning, you cam imagine why I would get that kind of vibe!

Despite where things ended with Finlay's romantic adventures, I'm not yet 100% convinced that it's set in stone. It feels too early to say that since this is the first book of the series. I will be curious to see what happens because I don't really see either man leaving Finlay's life just yet.

While the mystery is wrapped up with all the whodunits revealed and resolved, it does end with Finlay getting a new possible "hit," and omg that one was a doozie! I may find myself picking up the second installment next instead of the book I planned to read!

I really liked how this book just flowed. While I haven't picked up one of my favorite cozy paranormals in awhile, this mystery was definitely on the cozy side. It was still filled with danger and seriously bad guys and murder, of course, but it didn't have that hardcore feel that other mysteries I presume have. Even though Finlay is a single mother trying to get by, and I am far from the mother-type, I felt like I could relate with Finlay's other real life problems. I was rooting for her all the way and I positively loved that Vero had her back so much! Vero helped Finlay develop her own backbone, so to speak. The two worked well together and I loved that their friendship just continued to grow even as the danger continued to rise!

Needless to say, Elle Cosimano has found a permanent fan in me! I cannot wait to see where this series will go! I feel like the possibilities are endless and I am hungry for more! If you're looking for a mystery with a different kind of heroine, who's spunky and just trying to get her kids in bed on time, make her deadlines, and solve a crime or two, this is the series for you!

Overall Rating 4.5/5 stars

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