Feb 8, 2023

Review--Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead by Elle Cosimano


Finlay Donovan is―once again―struggling to finish her next novel and keep her head above water as a single mother of two. On the bright side, she has her live-in nanny and confidant Vero to rely on, and the only dead body she's dealt with lately is that of her daughter's pet goldfish.

On the not-so-bright side, someone out there wants her ex-husband, Steven, out of the picture. Permanently. Whatever else Steven may be, he's a good father, but saving him will send her down a rabbit hole of hit-women disguised as soccer moms, and a little bit more involvement with the Russian mob than she'd like.

Meanwhile, Vero's keeping secrets, and Detective Nick Anthony seems determined to get back into her life. He may be a hot cop, but Finlay's first priority is preventing her family from sleeping with the fishes... and if that means bending a few laws then so be it.

With her next book's deadline looming and an ex-husband to keep alive, Finlay is quickly coming to the end of her rope. She can only hope there isn't a noose at the end of it...

From Edgar-Award nominee Elle Cosimano, comes Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead―the hilarious and heart-pounding follow-up to Finlay Donovan is Killing It.


Finlay is back in action in Elle Cosimano's Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead in this high stakes sequel! This time around, Finlay is led to a forum of disgruntled women and she uncovers a disturbing sight--a hit on her ex-husband, Steven.

While Steven was a terrible husband, and maybe not the best of character, he is a decent father and Finlay doesn't want her children to grow up without him around. So she is going to do her best to uncover who would want her husband dead, more than her that is! But there is not much to go on as the post she sees is very vague and doesn't actually go into details, but seems to have been written in a discrete code. And before she gets a real chance to respond and "take the job," another commenter jumps in and snatches it out from under her and this user does not want competition at all and warns Finlay off.

Meanwhile, Finlay is dealing with a whole slew of other problems, her friend, Vero, seems very cagey and secretive lately but refuses to open up to Finlay. Finlay doesn't want to push, she knows Vero will tell her when the time is right. She's also once again on a deadline trying to get her pitch for her second book together to please her agent and editor. If that wasn't enough, her sort of boyfriend, Julian, is going away on break with friends.

A lot seems to hit Finlay at once but she continues to roll with the punches. Her main concern is her children's safety. If someone is out to kill Stephen, she's worried what might happen to them should they be around when the other "commenter" does the deed. She tries to find excuses and reasons to keep Steven from seeing the kids, but nothing seems to want to keep Steven away. Not even the "odd" things that continue to happen to him such as getting knocked over the head, having his phone go "missing" for awhile, or even having a fire set to his work trailer.

Leftover ends from the first book work their way into this one, particularly with Feliks Zhirov, the mobster who was put in jail. Try as she might, Finlay can't seem to escape his web. We also see Theresa again, as she's a possible suspect in the attacks on Steven, as are numerous other exes of his. It seems the web that is Zhirov is one that we will continue to be seeing in this series.

Despite Julian being MIA for the majority of this one, Nick is back in the picture and is determined to win Finlay over once more. I have to say, I found myself rooting for him more than Julian. I think this book, Finlay does put her ongoing relationship with Julian into perspective but I can't say what will happen. It seems Finlay isn't entirely sure herself just yet. 

I really enjoy the fact that Finlay ends up using her real life craziness as the fodder for her story! Her agent loves that fact that the heroine is caught between a lawyer and a cop! That Finlay doesn't even know who her heroine should choose just speaks of great parallelism! Though, I am glad that the agent does like the cop more! It gives me more hope for Nick than is presented! I feel like we get to see a better character depth of Nick and Julian in this one and I will be curious to see how things play out in the next installment!

By the end, the mystery is once again solved and things are wrapped up mostly neatly! There's always a loose thread or two that will help steer us in the next novel's direction and I am so ready for that! I was honestly surprised by the whodunit in the end! This was a multi-factored kind of wrap-up and it was the latter part that surprised me the most! The tell-tale ending was not as surprising, but still held a decent shock factor as there was some foreshadowing earlier on that kind of led us in this direction! Just seeing how soon it came up was the ultimate shock factor!

I cannot wait to see what happens next in this series! I love that it's so different from a typical mystery series with an unattached single person with no other priorities, or at least not many! Finlay has so much on her plate what with her writing and her kids, that she ends up entangled in mysteries like this just makes for excellent storytelling! She's a heroine worth rooting for and her relatable nature is endearing! If you're looking for that easy-going kind of heroine engaged in edgy and dangerous mysteries, this is the series for you!

Overall Rating 4.5/5 stars

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