Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead by Elle Cosimano #BookReview #Mystery #Thriller

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…

Coming February 1, 2022

What’s it about (in a nutshell):

Someone has put a hit out on Findlay’s ex-husband and, even though the job is tempting to Finlay, she decides to find out who posted the message instead and save her ex from the assassin who did respond to it.

What I Enjoyed:

The most enjoyable aspect of the Finlay Donovan series is how relatable Finlay is. Her reactions to the situations that arise are also my reactions for her, so it’s almost like the main character and the reader (me) are in this caper together. She is a mom of two children trying to figure out how to balance the various parts of her life and feels like she is successful at none of it. Her marriage failed, she never has an idea for the novel her agent and publisher are waiting for, and her trusty minivan is dying a slow yet unmistakable death. Her life is messy, and the fact that this “every mom” is thought to be an assassin for hire by local gangsters makes it uproariously funny and thrillingly dangerous.

The humor is slapstick with a dark edge to it that makes me feel for a second like I shouldn’t be laughing, but I cannot help myself. Reading this humor is a pure delight and puts me in a good mood. How can I not love a story and a series that can create such fun?

Finlay Donovan Knocks’ Em Dead is extremely fast-paced. It’s one of those few books that I finished in one day, partly because of the pace that keeps those pages turning rapidly. It’s also because I am having so much fun in Findlay’s world that I never want to leave. The story pulls me right in, and I am more than happy to let it keep holding me there as I take it all in.

There were quite a few jaw-dropping twists in this novel, and I loved each and every one. I didn’t look for clues because I enjoyed the story so much that it didn’t occur to me to figure out who did it, but even if I was, I can’t imagine that I ever would have seen the twists and turns coming. Especially the central mystery of who put out a hit on Finlay’s ex-husband. The who and why left me in stitches once I picked my jaw up off of the floor.

I even enjoy the trials and tribulations of Finlay’s love life. She has been casually seeing a young law student and has also caught the eye of a detective that works with her sister. There is none of the typical angst that comes with deciding between two men because, in her mind, the only person she chooses is herself. She’s not looking for commitment, she is honest with all stakeholders, and she is unapologetically doing what she wants to do. I find the situation to be rather refreshing, and I like that.


I already talked about Finlay but not the other character of note – Vero. Vero is the nanny/housekeeper for Finlay’s children and their home. Vero is an accounting student at a local community college and has so much sass and verve that it’s hard not to be drawn to her. She is not your typical caretaker – not at all. And I love the combination of Finlay and Vero. They make a great team!

Reminds Me Of:

It reminds me a lot of my favorite Stephanie Plum series.  It’s the same sub-genre of mystery/thriller and has similar situational humor though the humor in Finlay Donovan has a darker edge to it.

What I Wish:

The only thing that I still have mixed feelings about is where Vero’s storyline went in this novel and Finlay’s reaction to it. I think Finlay’s response is commendable, but I don’t know that it rang true to me as to how the character would feel – at least not at first. Considering where they have been until now, I could see Finlay having a much different initial reaction. Though, I could also see her working through it all to get to the point she is in the novel. So, I guess that is what I wish – that Vero’s situations and Finlay’s reaction had all felt more believable considering what has happened in the series up to that point. I hope that more clarity will be brought to it all in the next book, and maybe that will make it all more understandable.

To Read or Not to Read:

YES! Just YES! Read it, bask in it, and love it as much as I do!

My Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

16 Replies to “Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead by Elle Cosimano #BookReview #Mystery #Thriller”

  1. Such a fun series! I think this second book is slightly better than her first.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review Tessa. I love Finlay and agree, she is just a normal everyday person who bumbles into things while trying to do what’s right. I do love her new wheels.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like that she is so relatable while being in a completely unrelatable situation. It makes that suspended disbelief easy to achieve.

      Liked by 1 person

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