#Mystery Monday #BookReview: Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun by Elle Cosimano #thriller

Dating. Diapers. And dodging bullets. Who said single moms can’t have fun?

Finlay Donovan has been in messes before—after all, she’s an author and single mom who’s a pro at getting out bloodstains for rather unexpected reasons—but none quite like this. After she and her nanny/partner-in-crime Vero accidentally destroyed a luxury car that they may have “borrowed” in the process of saving the life of Finlay’s ex-husband, the Russian mob got her out of debt. But now Finlay owes them

Still running the show from behind bars, mob boss Feliks has a task for Finlay: find a contract killer before the cops do. Problem is, the killer might be an officer.

Luckily, hot cop Nick has started up a citizen’s police academy, and combined pressure from Finlay’s looming book deadline and Feliks is enough to convince Finlay and Vero to get involved. Through firearm training and forensic classes (and some hands-on research with the tempting detective), Finlay and Vero have the perfect cover-up to sleuth out the real criminal and free themselves from the mob’s clutches—all the while dodging spies, confronting Vero’s past, and juggling the daily trials of parenthood.

What’s it about (in a nutshell):

Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun starts off where the last book leaves off. You should read this series in order because each book leads to the next. It is a continuous series of events with pause points (soft conclusions) where one book ends, and the next picks up the story. In this part of the series, an evil man still expects Finlay to find the person hired to kill her ex-husband. But being a nasty man, it’s not a request but a demand. Of course, Finlay has no idea how to find that person and doesn’t even know if she’s looking for a man or a woman. Her only clue is that it is someone in law enforcement – perhaps a crooked cop.

Actual Reading Experience:

I just loved this story. It’s fun and fast-paced, keeps me guessing from beginning to end, and has more than enough thrills, spills, and misdirections to keep my thriller-loving heart happy. Finlay is an everywoman, so it is effortless to see myself in her situation and relate to her reactions to everything around her. Being able to put yourself in her shoes makes this series so enjoyable that it instantly and consistently became a favorite of mine.

The characters are the best part. I talk more in-depth about Finlay in the character section. Still, there is also Vero (short for Veronica), Finlay’s accountant/nanny/partner in crime. Vero is a delightfully lousy influence but also a good one in that she pushes Finlay to be more – to be better and stronger – and knows she can make it on her own. Vero is a foil for Finlay, but she is also a true friend, one that the story would not be the same without.

You may notice that Finlay and Vero both have rather unisex names, and I don’t think this is a coincidence – not at all. As a matter of fact, it directly reflects their ability to tough it out in a man’s world just as successfully as any man could. And they are put in some very physically and mentally tricky predicaments.

I could gush much more, but I’m also looking at the word count, thinking I need to wrap this up. Never fear, though; I have much more to say in the remaining sections.


Finlay Donovan is a writer, and a divorced mom of two young children – a five-year-old daughter who is as precocious as precocious can get but endearingly so and a two-year-old son who likes

to play hide-and-seek in occupied bathroom stalls. I love how Finlay has a great sense of humor about her children’s antics and events that moms (and many adults without children) everywhere can laugh with her about because we have all been there. 

But besides being a mom with a great sense of humor, Finlay is also brilliant, tries to do what’s right and best for everyone, and can be brave to the point of recklessness at times, which is a bit of a flaw, but it also makes her more human. Most of all, though, I love her sense of humor. She can see the absurdity in everything she gets thrown into; because of that, the story has a deep vein of humor that I adore.

Narration & Pacing:

The story is told in first-person narration through Finlay Donovan’s point of view. And it is incredibly fast-paced. I love being in Finlay’s head because of her many qualities, which I mentioned in the previous section. The narration and pacing are just perfect for this type of entertaining read.


Finlay Donovan lives and writes in Virginia – Fairfax County, to be more specific. The setting only plays a very minor role in this story. I think the primary way it comes into play is its proximity to important places in the story, like Atlantic City and the University of Maryland.

Read if you like:

  • Dangerous thrills with a hefty dose of relatable humor
  • Characters that you love to read about
  • Fast-paced, thoroughly entertaining reads

Overall Rating:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Writing Quality10
Character Development10
‘Couldn’t Put It Down’-ness8
Use of Setting10
All scores, except the overall rating, are on a scale of 1-10. The overall rating is converted to the standard 5-point system.

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