Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Finlay Donovan #1

Finlay Donovan Is Killing It

Rate this book
"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.

355 pages, Hardcover

First published February 2, 2021

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Elle Cosimano

10 books3,902 followers
USA TODAY and New York Times bestselling author, Edgar® Nominee, Bram Stoker® Nominee, & ITW Thriller Award winner.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
32,150 (29%)
4 stars
52,622 (48%)
3 stars
19,668 (18%)
2 stars
2,938 (2%)
1 star
651 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 15,872 reviews
Profile Image for Kat.
260 reviews79.1k followers
March 11, 2022
some people walk or talk in their sleep, i apparently rate books on goodreads. genuinely don’t remember deciding to give this a 4 last night, but i’m gonna go with it because i feel like unconscious reviews are the truest of them all?
Profile Image for Gabby.
1,209 reviews26k followers
March 29, 2021
I loved it SO MUCH. This is a fun murder/mystery/comedy about a writer named Finlay Donovan who is discussing the plot of her next murder mystery novel in a Panera Bread with her agent when a woman overhears her conversation and thinks she’s actually a contract killer and offers her a huge amount of money to kill her husband. 🤯

This book is so FUN, I adore all the characters, it’s so fast paced I easily finished this within 24 hours cause I couldn’t put it down. I absolutely adore Finlay, Vero, and Julian, the characters are so wholesome and relatable in this book. I adored Finlay and Julian in this book, they were too cute 🥺 and Vero is one of my favorite side characters ever???

Not only were the characters great, but the writing was great! It was really fast paced and the amount of twists in the plot had me shook, and that ENDING 🤯Wow I’m so glad this is the first book in a series and that this book is already getting adapted for TV, I think this would make for such a great tv series! This book gave me major Dead To Me vibes 👀 Idk how this book manages to keep such a light-hearted and comedic vibe while dealing with some intense stuff, but it was just the most fun time. There were a few little things I had predicted but it definitely did not take away from my enjoyment level at all.
Profile Image for Yun.
509 reviews19k followers
April 1, 2022
You never want to be the asshole that leaves a message promising to kill someone for being late, only to find out they've already been murdered.
Poor Finlay. She's a struggling author writing books no one's reading. Her two young kids are driving her crazy while her ex-husband fired the nanny. And on top of that, she's completely broke. When a meeting with her literary agent turns into a big misunderstanding about her being an assassin for hire, it seems Finlay's problems have only just begun.

Finlay Donovan Is Killing It has got to have one of the most intriguing setups I've ever seen. And that setup comes to pass in one of the best scenes I've read in a long time. At one point I was howling with laughter, causing my husband to come over and ask if I was all right.

A lot of times, a book's promise of mystery and intrigue and laughs don't really amount to much, and I'm left at the end thinking, "Is that it?" But not this time. In this book, I daresay, we get everything we're promised, and that's such a satisfying feeling.

The tone of this book is darkly humorous. It doesn't take itself too seriously, and the reader shouldn't either. It's not meant to be completely believable, but rather fun and just a bit over the top.

I totally enjoyed this zany story, which delighted and surprised me from beginning to end. It looks like this will be the start of a series, and I couldn't be more excited. With that little bombshell of an ending, I can only hope our wait for the next book isn't too tortuously long.

See also, my thoughts on:
2. Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead

Profile Image for Lisa of Troy.
389 reviews3,155 followers
February 14, 2023
Finlay Donovan, Get Out Of Your Own Way

Finlay Donovan is recovering from her divorce from her cheating husband. Her bills are piling up, and she is behind deadline writing her latest book. While meeting with her book agent, she is accidently mistaken for a contract assassin. Facing an expensive custody battle and her electricity being cut, what will Finlay do?

After seeing 1.2 million positive reviews (give or take 1.2 million), I had serious FOMO when it came to this book. However (I know that this an unpopular opinion), I did not click with this book.

Finlay essentially carried on across the entire book in a various form of "AHHHH! I'm so stressed out!" Girl, get out of your own way. If you are behind deadline, maybe you need to establish a daily minimum word count instead of accepting a contract killing position? Just a thought. If mornings are messy and crazy, you need to get up earlier and start to prepare the night before such as laying out clothes, shoes, backpacks for the next day.

This book was also trying to be too many things at one time: a mystery, a comedy, and a romance. The mystery was interesting, but it wasn't written in a compelling manner, definitely not the page turner like Gone Girl or The Girl On the Train, or even The Wife Upstairs. In fact, there was such a strong desire to skip over all of the "AHHHH! I'm so stressed" and get to the end. As far as comedy, this book fell short for me. Putting duct tape on the child wasn't funny. There wasn't a single laugh out loud moment.

Finlay Donovan is Killing It should have been on my "Like List." It did have a some elements that I did really enjoy. My favorite part of the book was how Vero and Finlay met.

Overall, I will seriously consider writing a piece of fan fiction from the point of Mrs. Haggerty, because I think that she would be a truly funny character, and she could give Finlay some tips on how to pull herself together without becoming a contract killer.

2023 Reading Schedule
Jan Alice in Wonderland
Feb Notes from a Small Island
Mar Cloud Atlas
Apr On the Road
May The Color Purple
Jun Bleak House
Jul Bridget Jones’s Diary
Aug Anna Karenina
Sep The Secret History
Oct Brave New World
Nov A Confederacy of Dunces
Dec The Count of Monte Cristo

Connect With Me!
Blog Twitter BookTube Facebook Insta
Profile Image for MarilynW.
1,067 reviews2,663 followers
November 19, 2022
Finlay Donovan Is Killing It by Elle Cosimano

Update: Feb 2022 brought us book #2, Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead! and Jan 2023 will bring book #3 Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun

This is one of those books where I would never do the things that the main character does but still I had so much fun laughing at her, her bad judgement, and her predicaments. Before the story even starts Finlay Donovan has gotten arrested for putting Play Dough in the exhaust pipe of her ex husband's lover/fiancée's tailpipe and been thrown out of and banned from Panera, for throwing soup on a customer. So see, I don't think Finlay makes good decisions and it's immediately obvious that she's not about to turn over a new leaf. 

Finlay is a struggling suspense novelist whose life is going down the tubes in about every single way. She hasn't paid her bills in so long that she just lets all her mail pile up on the front porch. Her previous books haven't sold well and now she's late with her next book and has a massive writer's block. Her ex husband has hired an attorney to get full custody of their children and if Finlay doesn't get something to her agent immediately, she's going to have to pay back her advance, which was spent long ago. 

Finlay meets her agent at the Panera where she has been banned, but all is well because she's wearing a scarf wig and huge sunglasses. As she discusses the plot of her next book with her agent, a customer overhears Finlay talking and thinks that Finlay is a hired killer. The customer has a job for Finlay and won't take no for an answer. Being the lousy decision maker that she is, Finlay proceeds to dig herself in a deeper hole as she tries to get herself out of this job. But the job pays so well and she already has the huge advance. One bad decision leads to another and Finlay is in way over her head, only to be rescued/enabled in doing more bad deeds, by her nanny, Vero. 

That's all I'll say. Finlay and Vero are not finished by the end of the book. There will be more from them and I'm looking forward to their antics. I do have to say, despite Vero's tendency to push Finlay to do things she shouldn't do, I wouldn't mind her coming into my life and organizing everything. 

Publication: February 2, 2021

Thank you to St. Martin's Press/Minotaur Books and NetGalley for this ARC.
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,129 reviews39.2k followers
April 3, 2022
This is delicious, extremely funny, smart, laugh out loud beginning of brand new dark comedy/ mystery series!

Here’s my happy dance mood below:

We’re introduced a fresh, lovely character: A struggling, broke, drowning in debt, single mom, suspense novelist Finlay Donovan. She is sick of piling bills, her scumbag ex’s threats: how can she concentrate on her job and write a best selling crime novel but what if she accepts an offers which could solve her financial crisis but it also turned her life more dangerous than the books she has written?

With her resourceful accomplice a.k.a nanny, she finds herself to investigate a real life crimes: a contract killer out there and Finlay is so close to solve it with her unconventional approach.

This is amazing, fast paced, witty, humorous, feel-good book! I think that was one of my fastest reads and I can honestly say it already made my week. I need more books of the series ASAP! Bring out more Donovan adventures! ( it’s even better than watching Ray Donovan. At least this new fantastic character does not depress you, on the contrary she puts one of the biggest smiles on your face)

I cannot wait to read upcoming books of the series! I’m giving well-earned, enjoyable, soft, easy to read, relaxing four stars!

Special thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press/ Minatour Books for providing me this remarkable ARC in exchange my honest opinions.

Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,469 reviews9,358 followers
January 31, 2023
Finlay Donovan Is Killing It is a hilarious, ultra-modern Cozy Mystery that will leave you simultaneously on the edge-of-your-seat and clutching your sides with laughter.

As a start to a series, it succeeded in making me fall in love with the characters. I cannot wait for more!

Finlay Donovan is a struggling novelist. She is also currently single-moming two small children, as her jerk ex-husband left her for the hot Real Estate Agent he had been having an affair with.

Making matters worse, on the morning of a very important meeting with her agent, to discuss her barely existent new novel, Finlay discovers her ex-hubby has also fired their nanny. Without giving her any advanced notice!

Not a great way to start the day. As single-moms are known to do, however, Finlay figures it out, all whilst barely holding herself together on the inside.

She makes her meeting with her agent, at a Panera, of all places, and they have a great, albeit slightly stressful discussion about Finlay's career.

Unbeknownst to Finlay, another patron was listening in on the conversation.

Not understanding they were discussing the plot of Finlay's floundering novel, this woman now mistakenly believes Finlay to be a successful contract killer.

She then proceeds to try to hire Finlay to kill her husband. He's a scoundrel, she says; he won't be missed and she is willing to pay a hefty sum. While Finlay is intrigued, she obviously sees the problems with this plan.

However, somehow, as turns out to be common in Finlay's life, she ends up in over her head. Before she knows it, she is embroiled in the dark underbelly of her community, where murder abounds.

This novel is pure fun from the very first chapter. You are immediately thrown into the chaos of Finlay's life and into her riotous inner musings.

Not long after the Panera incident, Finlay is able to rekindle her relationship with her fabulous nanny, Vero and the two become, quite literally, partners in crime.

The relationship between Finlay and Vero gave me life. They played off each others personalities so well. I loved how they worked together and became like family.

There were great side characters, red herrings, action and drama. It is just pure fun to read; light, funny and full of over-the-top hijinks.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Minotaur Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I really appreciate it.

I cannot wait to see what Finlay and Vero get up to next!
Profile Image for jessica.
2,506 reviews30.9k followers
January 30, 2022
i didnt find this as funny as everyone claims it to be, but its still pretty entertaining!

the lack of supposed humour aside, the over-the-top nature of the characters really suits the whole tone of the story. it is in no way realistic, but its that absurd kind of dramatics thats fun to read about. i think it made finlay a great character and her relationship with vero is amazing - they make such a great team!

however, the one thing that drove me up the wall is how every man is throwing themselves at finlay. its just a pet-peeve of mine when characters are written in that “oh, shes so irresistible that every hot guy is automatically in love with her” way. its so shallow and just a massive eye-roll.

but regardless, this is a super enjoyable book and im invested in finlays crazy life enough that i do want to pick up the next book soon!

4 stars
Profile Image for Regina.
1,136 reviews2,847 followers
August 6, 2021
You know that scene at the beginning of The Lion King where Rafiki walks out to the edge of Pride Rock and hoists baby Simba in the air to be presented to all the animals of the Pride Lands? The one where the opening chant of “The Circle of Life” blares in the background? "Nants’ ingonyama, bakithi, baba. Sithi hu ‘ngonyama.”

Well I’m Rafiki and this book will be Simba anytime any of my suburban book club member friends (“SBCMFs”) ask me what they should read next in 2021.

Not to say only SBCMFs will enjoy this romp about a barely-scraping-by newly-divorced writer and mother of two who’s mistaken for a hit woman, but man those MFs are gonna love it.

I did too. 4.5 stars.

My appreciation goes to St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur Books and the author for granting my wish to read an advanced copy via NetGalley. Thanks to you, my 2021 recommendations are already killing it.
Profile Image for Kat *will catch up soon!*.
216 reviews503 followers
June 24, 2021
Finlay Donovan is a woman who can’t catch a break if it fell right into her hands. She’s a recently single mom of two young children and a barely known author struggling to make ends meet since her ex left her for their sexy real estate agent. After a harrowing morning with her kids involving a bad haircut and messy breakfast that ends with syrup, blood, duct tape and a knife … don’t ask … Finlay meets her book agent, Sylvia, at Panera to discuss her newest book. When a woman sitting at a nearby booth sees some of these remnants of her morning on display in her diaper bag and overhears their book plot discussion about murder, she draws the wrong conclusion and invites the unwitting Finlay to help take care of her pesky husband problem - permanently. Unfortunately, getting out of this unwanted job proves much harder than getting into it, especially when it involves some very shady, powerful people.

I won’t dive into the remaining plot details, because it’s better to discover all the twists and turns for yourself, but I will say that I was impressed with how author Elle Cosimano tied up the threads of this seemingly impossible scenario Finlay finds herself in.

This book was a blast! With my schedule, there’s no such thing as a one day read, but if I could’ve, I would’ve. The plot is tight and fast-paced, with well-developed, interesting characters and loads of humor. Finlay’s kids’ nanny, Vero, is smart, spunky and delightful, and even when she creates problems of her own, she’d still be my go-to girl if I needed help. Julian, the bartender, and Nick, the cop? I’d take either one in a heartbeat if I was single, though I was leaning in a different direction than the story went. You win some, you lose some. I wasn’t too disappointed. The ending is clearly setting up for a sequel, so who knows where all these characters may end up when the merry-go-round stops spinning. All I know is … I want to be on the next ride!

★★★★★ ❤️

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for my honest review. It's due for publication February 2, 2021.
Profile Image for Kim ~ It’s All About the Thrill.
521 reviews620 followers
January 21, 2021
OMG I LOVED this book! When the dedication page says...for Ashley and Megan because I would bury a body with either of you...well you know it is going to be good!

Finlay is several things...a writer, a mom, a sister, a contract killer...who knew murder could be so much fun?! I sure didn't.
A unique plot that kept me glued to the pages...absolutely!
Do I want more Finlay?....Yes, yes, yes please!!

After being banned from Panera for bad behavior.. Finlay decided to meet her book agent at...well Panera of course! Certainly she could meet her agent at another restaurant, but in typical Finlay style..Panera it is! This fiasco continues on a downward spiral when she is mistaken for a contract killer while discussing her latest book ideas!

This book puts the F in fun! It is such an original plot that is was so refreshing to read. It was a part thriller, mystery with a side of twisted humor- all wins in my book!

The ending was perfection! It hints at the fact that there may be a follow up to this book. OMG let it be so! Sign me up for more Finlay Donovan!

Thank you so much to Minotaur Books for my gorgeous physical copy! I adore this cover! Huge shoutout to one of my book BFF Susan for reading this with me! We loved it!
Profile Image for emma.
1,821 reviews45.5k followers
February 7, 2023
all it took for me to add this book was one (1) person saying they laughed while reading it.

who laughs while reading books?! that's a miracle-level occurrence.

and it would still be a miracle to me because...baby i didn't even crack a smile.

this was a goofy and unique idea but i thought the concept was more fun and funny than the execution at most times.

and by most times, i mean all of them. because again: not even a smile.

bottom line: my heartless grump status remains unaffected.
Profile Image for Terrie  Robinson.
375 reviews548 followers
September 1, 2021
"Finlay Donovan Is Killing It" by Elle Cosimano is an unexpected delight!

Finlay Donovan is having a terrible, horrible, very bad day!

Finlay is a newly divorced single mom of two who can't pay her bills. She's also a struggling suspense writer of books no one wants to read. All she wants this morning is for her two children to quietly eat their breakfast...and for their overdue nanny to ARRIVE NOW!

Finlay has a lunch meeting at Panera with her literary agent, Sylvia to discuss her newest book and she needs to arrive on time. When she calls her 'cheater-of-an-ex-husband' to help out with the kids, she discovers he's actually fired the nanny without telling her. It's no wonder Finlay has a bad case of 'Writer's Block'!

She finally makes it to Panera for her meeting with Sylvia and describes the murder plot of her book over lunch. Someone sitting close enough to overhear the conversation believes Finlay is describing a real murder. A note offering $50K is left for Finlay with a number to call for details. She intends to call the number, straighten out the confusion and that'll be the end of it, right? Wrong!

The 'Note Writer' won't take no for an answer. This person actually believes Finlay is a 'Murderer-for-Hire'! What is Finlay supposed to do? The money is really tempting and would solve all her problems. She might be able to focus on her writing again, rather than worrying about how to make her life work.

What would it hurt for Finlay to begin researching the target? Surely this person can't be all bad. It'll be just like doing research for her novels, right? Yay! Maybe she can use it for her newest novel.

That's when Finlay's day went very, very bad!

What a wild ride this story took me on and I loved every second of it! As it becomes more suspenseful, it is equally humorous, creative and unpredictable. Nowhere near believable but closer to an improbable and OTT crazy, wacky ride all the way through.

My favorite character is Finlay, of course, but Vero, the nanny is a kick and a close second. There are so many other well written, outrageous characters in this story that makes it a worthwhile read, for sure!

I listened to the audiobook narrated by Emily Dawes, which is an amazing experience. Her voicing skills and ability to bring this story to life make this listen an unexpected delight!

I highly recommend this book to all who can read in any format you may choose to partake!

This story ends with a teaser that has me anxious for Book 2. Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead (Finlay Donovan #2) by Elle Cosimano Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead It's expected to publish on 2/1/22.
Profile Image for Jayme.
1,105 reviews1,742 followers
February 2, 2021
As soon as I heard that I wasn’t the only woman BANNED from Panera Bread, I knew I had to read this book!

Ok, I am not REALLY banned, but I got your attention-as should this book!

Finlay Donovan is killing it, is the FIRST in a new comedy-mystery series, about a Single Mom and struggling Suspense Novelist, whose Fiction MAY or MAY NOT BE, inspired by events in her own life.

This one begins when a conversation is overheard in Panera Bread, by a woman at a nearby table, Patricia Mickler, who mistakes Finlay for an Assassin.

The conversation between a woman in a wig-scarf and her companion, who happens to be the woman’s book agent, Sylvia, is about the book plot for her very LATE, next novel.

But, it sounds like it COULD be about something else.

This eavesdropping lady just happens to have a husband she would like to get rid of, so she slides a note under Finlay’s plate as she bids goodbye to Sylvia, making her an offer she is tempted to consider because the novel isn’t the only thing that is late-all of her bills are overdue too!

Harris Mickler

It couldn’t hurt to investigate a bit, could it?
In the name of RESEARCH for her book...

So, begins this comedy of errors for Finlay, and her unlikely accomplice-her former nanny Vero.

If you have been searching for something lighthearted to read, which isn’t a Rom-Com, (though a little bit of romance may be in the cards for Finlay too) look no further!

The idea for THIS novel was also born in a Panera Bread restaurant! 🥖

I received a gifted copy and it was my pleasure to provide a candid review! 🥐

Profile Image for Dorie  - Cats&Books :) .
977 reviews2,654 followers
September 1, 2021
This was such a fun read and it definitely kept me engrossed! I found Finlay to be funny, resourceful, and endearing. At times she was eye rolling naive, but I went with it. She did make me laugh, often. Right now I think we could all use more laughing!!!

Finlay writes murder mysteries, and she had been quite successful at it. However since her divorce, and juggling two young children and her house she’s had writers block. Her publisher is after her constantly to finish her next book. What will it take to make the light go back on and help her write a bestseller? Well the answer to that shows up fairly quickly in the book, and you’ll have fun discovering what that is!

Finlay is really at her wit’s end when her ex husband fires her nanny, she can’t handle it all, not the kids, the house, the overdue bills and unfinished book. She is overheard talking with someone at Panera about murder mysteries and all the different ways that you can get rid of a body, etc. When she leaves she finds a very interesting note and a phone number to call on her table. All she sees is the $50,000 amount and decides to call the number. Someone has gotten a very different idea of who Finlay really is and what she does for a living!!!!!!!!!!

What Finlay and her nanny/accomplice get themselves into is crazy, uproarious fun. There are bodies, mobsters, hit men and the plot races along.

While I had to suspend belief for a lot of the actions, it didn’t matter! I’ll leave you to enjoy the plot without any spoilers.

It has been hinted that this will be a series and I will definitely watch for a follow up!

This was a great recommendation from my good friend Jayme!

I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through NetGalley.
This novel is set to publish on February 2, 2021
Profile Image for Holly  B (busy month catching up).
799 reviews1,806 followers
May 15, 2021
A page turner that had me laughing throughout. Finlay and Vero were like Lucy and Ethel in an episode of Murder She Wrote Gone Wild!

There is a stressed out mom/author, a nanny, an ex-husband with a new fiance, a snoopy neighbor peering out her window on neighborhood watch duty, a murder for hire contract and a murder (Whoopsie)!!

Original and sooooo much fun! I couldn't put it down. All the witty banter and shenanigans were funny, heartfelt and I was reeled right in. A mix of crime, comedy, and endearing characters.

Finlay's author brain is telling her This was not a plot twist I had planned on. "We are not going to panic, Who was I kidding? We were definitely panicking."

I didn't expect to LOVE this so much. The last sentence killed it! Now, the wait until Book Two....
Library Loan 5/12/21
Profile Image for Tina.
494 reviews770 followers
January 25, 2021
I was really expecting to love this one but I only ended up liking it.

It's a fun but over-the-top, comedy and mystery. Finlay Donovan is a newly divorced struggling mother of two. She's a mystery and suspense writer that is suffering writer's block. She finds herself entangled in her own mystery that in turn helps her to write a hit novel!

The story is original and I love the part Panera Bread plays in the novel. That was cute and funny but I didn't warm to Finlay right away nor did I find her all that funny. Perhaps it's just that I found some of her story to be too improbable however I liked the writing and the cliffhanger at the end. I'll read the next instalment for sure.

I'd like to kindly thank NetGalley and St. Martin's Press as well as Minotaur Books for granting me access to this Advanced Reader Copy.
Profile Image for Paromjit.
2,543 reviews24.6k followers
December 18, 2020
Elle Cosimano displays an assured light touch and deft humour in the first of her Finlay Donovan crime series. 31 year old Finlay is a divorced single mom with 2 young children, 2 year old Zach and 4 year old Delia, and rapidly becoming buried in all the troubles coming at her from every direction. She is a small time crime writer with an advance she can't pay back, she hasn't been able to write a word since her life descended into a fraught chaotic nightmare, the bills have piled up, her poor excuse of a ex-husband, Steven and his fiancee, real estate agent, Therese, are suing for complete custody of the children, her home is under threat, and to top it all, Steven has fired her 22 year old account student and nanny, Veronica (Vero) Ruiz. Disguised in her wig scarf, she sets out to meet her literary agent, Sylvia, at Panera to discuss the state of her non-existent novel, when their conversation leads a nearby woman to mistake what she does for a living.

The unhappily married woman, Patricia Mickler, is under the misapprehension that Finn is a hitwoman, and leaves behind a note for her, she has a job for her, to kill her husband, Harris, for $50 000. The money certainly mesmerises Finn, but no, this is not what she does. She contacts Patricia to decline the offer, but is intrigued by the woman's claim that her husband is a dreadful man that would be no loss to society. This has her visiting, in disguise, and in a stolen dress, The Lush, a bar and club that Harris will be at. Here. she encounters a young cute law student and bartender, Julian Baker, that she just cannot get out of her mind, it's been a long time since she has felt so attracted to a man. The evening ends in a surprising and shocking way that is to change Finn's life for good. Finn gains Vero as a partner in crime, nanny and housemate, gets far too close to the Russian mafia, finds herself and her children in danger, meets a hot cop, and gets other offers to kill for large sums of money in a business she has inadvertently gained a reputation for excellence, and then there is the possibility Finn just might become a more successful crime writer.

Cosimano has kick started with panache what promises to be a stellar comic crime series, with a charismatic central character in Finlay, whose life jumps into the crazy lanes through a series of mishaps and misunderstandings. If you are looking for a healthy dose of realism and grit, then you are going to be doomed to be disappointed, but if instead you are looking for fun, entertainment, bags of humour and laughs, then Finlay Donovan is your woman. Fantastic read, and can't wait for the further adventures of Finlay and Vero. Many thanks to Headline for an ARC.
Profile Image for Sheyla ✎.
1,807 reviews458 followers
February 8, 2021
What a delightful and innovative storyline! Nothing like an assassin who doesn't want to be one.

Finlay Donovan is going through a rough time. Her ex-husband cheated, got engaged to their realtor and now it’s trying to take custody of their two kids. Finlay's financial situation is dire. She can’t pay her bills!

Finlay is a writer but since her divorce, she has not been able to write a word. She already used the advance she was given. If she doesn't deliver a new book, her suspense writing dream is over and she will lose her kids for sure.

Then while meeting her literary agent at Panera, the woman next to them (Patricia Mickler) started eavesdropping on their conversation and she misinterprets what Finlay and her agent were discussing. Next thing you know, Mrs. Mickler leaves a message with a phone number. When Finlay calls, Patricia is offering fifty thousand dollars in exchange for Finlay disposing of her husband.

This book was unputabledown. It was refreshing. I was entertained throughout!

I was also anxious about Finlay getting over her head. The one saving grace was Vero. I want a Vero in my life. She was the perfect babysitter and friend anyone should have.

I love Finlay too. She was stuck in a hard place and did what she thought needed to be done. Of course, her decisions were mostly wrong and led to even more trouble for her and Vero.

The best part was the ending. I loved it.

Grab this gem when you need a distraction, it will make laugh and hopefully root for her as I did.

I can't wait for the next one.

Cliffhanger: No

5/5 Fangs

MrsLeif's Two Fangs About It | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Profile Image for Katie Colson.
642 reviews5,576 followers
February 11, 2022
February 2022: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
This did not slap as hard the second time around.

June 2021: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Reading Vlog: https://youtu.be/jdi1Pwma13w


What an amazing ride this was. I was gasping and clapping the entire time.
That ENDING!! I need the sequel. And it’s sequel. And it’s sequel! And the tv show.
I am going to consume every piece of this series and anything this author writes in the future.

Please read this. Please. I need to yell at everyone about this.
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,157 reviews97.9k followers
February 6, 2023
okay i am so not the target audience for this, and i still really loved it. and i was constantly surprised, which is something i didnt expect going in! but it did touch on some dark things, so i will post some tw/cw within a few days <3 but highly recommend this to anyone, even if you think it's not for you! (maybe especially if you think it's not for you!)

Blog | Instagram | Youtube | Ko-fi | Spotify | Twitch
January 24, 2023
*Many thanks to NetGalley, St. Martin's Press, and Elle Cosimano for an ARC of this book! Now available as of 2.2! Now available in paperback!!*

Madcap murder mystery mayhem with just a twist of sass!

It hasn't been novelist Finlay Donovan's day, month...or even her year. Fresh off of her divorce with two kids in tow and finances running dry, Finlay has yet another dilemma: progress on her newest book has come to a screeching halt. However, her agent has come calling and wants to meet Finlay at the most perfect of places for self-reflection, business dealings, and fabulous bread alike: the local Panera. Finlay nervously heads to the meeting, not sure how she can fend off her agent much longer. An unlikely eavesdropper, Patricia, mistakes the mention of the large cash advance during the discussion as a bounty...and pegs Finlay as the expert killer in question. Post meeting, Patricia sidles up to Finlay with a proposition and a 'simple' task: dispense of the evil man in question and receive $50,000.00 cash. Finlay is stunned, but as the woman whisks away, she begins to consider her options. I mean, would it really be so crazy? She wouldn't have to actually HURT anyone, right?

When Finlay tracks down her target, however, the situation quickly escalates, and Vero, the former nanny for Finlay's children, might be the only one who can keep her out of trouble...or will she let the cat out of the bag and put both women in the crosshairs? And will truth be stranger than fiction as Finlay suddenly finds all the inspiration for her novel she could ever need...and more importantly, will she live long enough to write the Epilogue?

Finlay Donovan is such a unique and fantastic departure from the norm in this genre from former YA writer Elle Cosimano, and it is sorely needed! I knew from the first chapter this book would have the perfect blend of silliness, mystery, romance, action, and excitement, honestly unlike any mystery/thriller I have ever read before and I was enchanted by every minute spent with Finlay. The Abbott and Costello-esque relationship between Finlay and Vero is so expertly executed and fun and was the perfect blend of slapstick and solid female friendship; I always looked forward to their scenes together!

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of this book is that it both seems over the top and implausible and completely believable at the same time, which is quite a feat. All of the secondary characters were a joy to read, and Finlay's kids definitely helped provide extra comic relief at different points as well. As funny as this book was, it also managed to be a clever mystery without ever feeling overwrought and also kept me guessing throughout, although the beauty of this book is the thrill of the ride. The ending is absolutely fitting and certainly opens the door for a full series, and I would love to see more from our scrappy heroine!

This is dark humor done right, and the title says it best: Finlay Donovan IS Killing It! 4 ⭐
Profile Image for Debbie.
433 reviews2,743 followers
November 13, 2021
Duct tape on hair, if you dare…

Well, of course—if my toddler found some scissors and butchered her hair, the first thing I would reach for would be duct tape. NOT! Yet we’re supposed to believe that this mom (Finlay, the heroine in this book) grabbed the duct tape and wrapped it around her daughter’s head in an effort to… what? Make her choppy locks look better?

I’m gobsmacked! First of all, how in the hell would I get the tape to stick? Wouldn’t the hair go all sog-city—I mean, wouldn’t the hair’s response just be to droop all funny? How could the duct tape adhere in any way that made sense? I guess if you did a total head wrap, you could get it to work, but wouldn’t that feel awful, all tight and weird, for your poor kid? Second, how could you later pull the duct tape off without yanking the poor kid’s locks out by the roots?? That would mess up the patchy-hair look even more, and don’t tell me that it wouldn’t make the kid screech in pain. (Maybe it was a sadistic mom?) Third, seriously, how would this IMPROVE the look of your kid’s funky locks? Duct tape on head doesn’t sound like any kind of fashion statement. She’d look like a mummy or a kid with an insane mom. Am I missing something here?

Okay, so this is what I had to contend with going into this one. I can’t help it if I’m overanalytical, I really can’t. You can tell I became obsessed! I couldn’t help but run through the logistics and appearance. I kept thinking I must be too dumb to figure it out—that in our universe, duct tape and hair somehow go together. (Please chime in if I’m blind to the obvious. Is this some common practice and I just didn’t get the mom memo on it?)

So the book started out with a big problem, in the world according to Debbie. And after the duct tape debacle, other little things kept needling me. Frazzled Finlay is trying to get out the door, and her two kids are making a mess. It’s overdone and repetitive. We hear a few times, that when Finlay goes to pick up stuff off the floor, maple syrup and strands of hair get stuck to the knees of her pants. Okay, yes, a pretty clear image, but I got it the first time. And we get that mom is frazzled. Truly we get it. Very amateurish writing; a good editor would have caught the repetitions—sometimes there are phrases repeated verbatim, adding to my grumpiness. Once I spotted these crimes, I couldn’t unsee them.

And the whole story is preposterous. Finlay is involved with a murder. Oh, and she ropes in her babysitter, who simply sighs and turns into a criminal, too. Oh sure, there are lots of suburbanites who would instantly turn to a life of crime if only given the opportunity. I “get” crimes of passion or psychopaths. What I don’t get is a boring housewife getting caught up in murder—and the mob. I’m the wrong audience for this one, obviously. I don’t like the TV series Good Girls, either, where middle-class moms get involved in madcap crimes. A lot of people must like the idea of housewives turning into badass criminals, but not this reader.

The story continued to irritate me, as Finlay makes dumb move after dumb move. And the bad guys are stereotypes and also not believable (in real life, they’re more brutal). Oh, and did I say there are ridiculous, eyeball-rolling-worthy coincidences? Obviously, my Complaint Board runneth over. I’m tempted to enumerate each of the little problems, but I’ll spare you. You get the gist. But hey, don’t pay much attention to me: This book has an overall 4-star rating. I’m for sure the outlier on this one.

You’re probably wondering why I would pick this book up. Well, a good friend with similar tastes highly recommended it. She had recently told me of two books that I ended up loving, books that made my all-time favorites list. Before I started this one, I asked if she liked this book as much as those two. She said she really couldn’t compare them because the other two were literary and this one was light, but she wholeheartedly loved it. She thought it was relatable and very funny. I thought it was preposterous and irritating. What I realize now is that aligning with friends on “light” books can be especially tricky. Everyone’s take on funny and entertaining is different. This book’s language was okay—actually smart, at times—but that couldn’t save it.

Ha, I feel the need to let you know I’m not a book snob. I’ve got quite a few light reads on my all-time favorites list (she says defensively, lol). But this one? Not a chance. The bad news is, caught up in my friend’s excitement, I requested (and received) an advance copy of the second book about Finlay, which is due out next year. I can’t imagine I’ll ever work my way over to it.
Profile Image for Blaine.
728 reviews579 followers
February 2, 2021
My relationship with Panera was complicated. I liked their soup. Panera didn’t like that I’d poured it over another customer’s head. In my defense, Theresa had started it when she’d attempted to justify her reasons for sleeping with my husband.
Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for sending me an ARC of Finlay Donovan Is Killing It in exchange for an honest review.

Finlay Donovan is a writer of lightly-read romantic suspense novels, but she’s late with her latest draft and at risk of having to forfeit her advance. She’s behind on her bills, and now her ex-husband is engaged to their former real estate agent and is gearing up to fight for custody of their two kids. In short, Finlay’s life is a mess.

And then one day someone overhears Finlay talking to her agent about her books and gets the mistaken impression that Finlay is a contract killer. By the time Finlay realizes what happening, she’s unwittingly agreed to kill this woman’s husband for $50,000. In part out of curiosity about why this woman wants her husband dead, in part feeling like this situation might give her a new idea for a book, and in part thinking about the money, Finlay begins to investigate the man she’s been hired to kill. Before long, Finlay has a body to bury, a new nanny/roommate/partner-in-crime named Vero, a possible hot bartender boyfriend, a possible hot police office boyfriend, but only if she can avoid being arrested for a murder she didn’t commit and avoid being killed for getting mixed up with the wrong people.

Gritty, realistic crime fiction this is not. Finlay makes a few choices early that you just have to accept in order to get into the story. And some of the characters are a bit one-dimensional and cliché. But the story works because Finlay is a well-developed character who you can’t help but root for, and her partnership with Vero is consistently hilarious and full of snarky banter:
I opened my mouth to swear at her in at least five languages I hadn’t learned yet when the house phone rang.
Vero looked confused. “I’m sorry. Do I know you? Because I thought I worked for a vampire in yoga pants.”
Finally, the story works because at the heart of the tale is one big mystery and several smaller ones that were unpredictable.

Finlay Donovan Is Killing It is a fun read, with lots of snarky banter and a fast-moving plot full of twists and turns. Recommended.

2/2/2021 update: reposting my review to celebrate that today is publication day!
Profile Image for Michael David (on hiatus).
618 reviews1,482 followers
February 2, 2021

*Alternate review published on mysteryandsuspense.com on 11/10/20.

Finlay Donovan: Single mother. Broke, semi-successful author. Hit woman?

Finlay is having a terrible day when her children’s nanny, Vero, doesn’t show up and she’s running late to a fancy brunch meeting with her agent...to discuss a book that is way behind schedule. One thing leads to another, and they end up meeting at Panera instead. Finlay wears her blonde wig scarf, dark red lipstick, and huge sunglasses to disguise herself after being banned from that particular Panera (it’s a long story).

Due to the nature of the discussion (discussing book plots), Finlay is mistaken for a hit woman and offered $50,000 to kill someone. Obviously, this is crazy and Finlay isn’t going to do it...Right?! Every decision she makes at this point may put her life in grave danger.

This is a fun, comedic mystery! I laughed throughout, and also had major anxiety throughout as Finlay got herself into deeper waters from one ridiculous situation to the next. The story isn’t completely realistic, but it’s always entertaining. If you enjoy likable and well-developed leads, a bit of murder, a little romantic tension, and some laughs...then I recommend this book. The ending has a major OMG moment, and I will be (im)patiently waiting for a sequel.

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press, author Elle Cosimano, and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Kerrin .
282 reviews231 followers
October 1, 2021
Finlay Donovan is not your ordinary hitwoman. In fact, she never meant to be a hitwoman at all. She really is an author with a looming deadline, who is broke after her divorce and is in a custody battle with her ex-husband. She has a stack of unpaid bills, her mini-van needs repairs, and her electricity gets turned off. In a Panera Bread, a desperate wife misconstrues an overheard conversation between Finlay and her book agent and offers Finlay $50,000.00 to get rid of her husband. Never intending to kill anyone, Finlay’s decision to investigate the husband leads to unintended consequences.

If you enjoy light-hearted entertainment and a good chuckle with your mystery, then Finlay and her nanny/accountant Vero, are the hitwomen for you! They manage to get paid for two jobs without actually committing the hits. They also outwit the Russian mob and resolve the custody battle with the ex-husband at the same time. Plus, Finlay attracts two interesting love prospects, a law student and a cop. Best of all, Finlay is able to use this real-life scenario as the script for her upcoming book.

Finlay Donovan is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. If you are looking for serious characters, a well-developed plot, with lots of twists and turns, then you might not like the comedic style of this novel. Elle Cosimano is best known as a Young Adult author. While this is adult fiction, the humor will not be for everyone.

4-Stars. Finlay Donovan Is Killing It was published on February 2, 2021. It ends with a cliff-hanger in anticipation of the second book Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead which is expected to be published in February 2022. The hardcover is 355 pages. I listened to the audiobook which was 10 hours long.
Profile Image for Kaceey.
1,034 reviews3,550 followers
December 20, 2020
On the look-out for something just a bit different? Something to leave you shaking your head and laughing out loud? Here you go… this is the book for you!

To say the least, Finlay Donovan is down on her luck - way down. Her husband has left her and threatening to take the children. He’s fired the nanny and left Finlay with barely enough money to live on.

Finlay is an author by profession, but with her personal life tanking she’s struggling to write her latest book. And missing deadlines puts her career in further jeopardy. She’s meeting with her agent at the local Panera (where she’s actually been banned.)How does one actually get banned from Panera of all places!? Finlay enters wearing a disguise to hide from Panera security...well, at least the cashier anyway. Nice try Fin!

During their discussion about her latest book, a woman seated at the next table over hears a plot twist of Finlay’s book and is convinced Finlay is a gun for hire! Let the games and mayhem begin!

This is a hilarious, fun read with a bounty of laugh-out-loud moments, all the while cheering Finlay on while watching as she digs herself deeper into mischief.

The ending leaves you assured there will be a follow-up and I’m anxiously awaiting its release!

A delightful change of pace.

A fun buddy read with Susanne!

Posted to: https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend...

Thank you to Minotaur books for an ARC to read and review.
Profile Image for GirlWithThePinkSkiMask.
351 reviews1,040 followers
July 11, 2022


Finlay Donovan is on the struggle bus. Tbh she's the driver of it. Her cheating ass ex-husband is still complicating her life, she's overwhelmed with parenting her young kids (who wouldn't be though?), she's broker than a lamp post, and she's waaayyyy past deadline on her next book. But when a misinterpreted meeting at Panera leads to Finlay being hired to murk a man for a cool 50k, she's faced with the tough decision: to kill and pay the bills, or to not kill and be killed by her bills?


The good people of bookstagram chose this for me, and after The Dark Room debacle, I was a lil nervous. But they came through with a Honda Civic reliable pick. This was an easy, entertaining read with some twisty twists and romance.

Now in my heart of hearts, I really wanted to LOVE this and toss it 4 stars. But there was one thing holding me back: the detective Nick "romance" storyline.

Why the quotation marks? Well you tell me what's romantic about a cop tryna smash you in the backseat of your loaner car while on a stakeout. At least do the normal thing and pretend to be respectful by taking me out for a bite beforehand. How you gonna smash me ON DUTY>??? IN THE BACKSEAT??? JAIL.

I think if Nick had just been a regular detective, instead of a horny one sharing pertinent evidence with a civilian, who was galavanting around putting pressure on Finlay and Vero, it would've worked much better. I'm team Julian (if he does bad shit in book #2... don't tell me) or #Finlian if you're nasty.

Also, I wish there was MORE humour in the book. The beginning was funny, but then it got really serious and the jokes practically vanished. For the type of book this was, the jokey jokes needed to be more consistent throughout.

All in all a solid weekend read. I will definitely be picking up book #2 because I NEEEDDD Steven to die. I totally recommend this book to anyone except Chantel because I know her IRL and this shit would send her into orbit. Thanks bookstahoes for the great pick!


Pros: funny (at times), interesting premise, would make a great movie, solid pace

Cons: cop romance was unnecessary, not funny enough
Profile Image for Andy Marr.
Author 2 books675 followers
September 10, 2022
The plot was nuttier than a squirrel's poo, and holier than Pope John Paul II. I don't care, though; I enjoyed every last bit of it.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 15,872 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.