Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Finlay Donovan Is Killing It (Finlay Donovan, #1)” as Want to Read:
Finlay Donovan Is Killing It (Finlay Donovan, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Finlay Donovan Is Killing It

(Finlay Donovan #1)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  14,896 ratings  ·  3,057 reviews
Finlay Donovan is killing it . . . except, she’s really not. She’s 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 ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published February 2nd 2021 by Minotaur Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Finlay Donovan Is Killing It, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Elle Cosimano Check the FAQs on my website for details. FINLAY DONOVAN KNOCKS 'EM DEAD is coming Feb 2022.…moreCheck the FAQs on my website for details. FINLAY DONOVAN KNOCKS 'EM DEAD is coming Feb 2022.(less)
This question contains spoilers... (view spoiler)
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  14,896 ratings  ·  3,057 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Finlay Donovan Is Killing It (Finlay Donovan, #1)
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,
Dec 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Finlay Donovan Is Killing It by Elle Cosimano

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/fiancee'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 decisi
Mar 31, 2021 rated it really liked it
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
Nilufer Ozmekik
Aug 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
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 fina
Kim ~ It’s All About the Thrill
Jan 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kim ~ It’s All About the Thrill by: Michael David
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

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 wo
Dec 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
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 mista
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 e ...more
Jan 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
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 havin
Sheyla ✎
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 i
Holly  B
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, a
Michael David
Nov 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: published-review

*Alternate review published on 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 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
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)
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 i
Dec 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
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
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 al
Oct 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs-read
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 from laughter.

As a start to a series, this succeeded in making me fall in love with these 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 t
Susanne  Strong
Dec 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Review also posted on blog: https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend...

Brilliant, Fun, and Fresh!

If offered $50K to “off” a total stranger, would you do it?

Personally, I’d pass - I don’t think an orange jumpsuit would flatter me, but if I was in dire straits, maybe I’d think differently? (JK.)

Finlay Donovan’s life is a total mess. The single mother of two, she is currently unable to make ends meet and has been “borrowing” money from her despicable cheater of an ex-husband just to stay afloat. A
Apr 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
If you like books that mix genres, you should consider reading this one! Part mystery, part comedy, Finlay Donovan Is Killing It is definitely a fun read.

The story begins the day Finlay Donovan, a novelist in her thirties, is mistaken for a contract killer. You'll have to suspend your disbelief to truly appreciate this book! From time to time, I have no problem with that. However, I had issues with the number of coincidences and with some elements of the plot that didn't add up.

Finlay Donovan is
Nov 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley-arcs
Finlay Donovan is a broke single mom to two young children after her husband left her for their real estate agent. She is a struggling author that has an agent desperate for her latest draft but all she has to offer is a blank word document. They agree to meet at a Panera near by to discuss her next book only to be overheard by another patron. A patron that mistakes Finlay as a hit woman.

Patricia, the patron, makes an offer to Finlay - $50,000.00 in cash to dispose of her wicked husband. Finlay
Jan 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
This was such a fun read and I really loved the originality of the concept.

Finlay is an author who is having a very bad year. In the midst of a messy custody battle with a husband who left her for a “newer model” and a negative balance in her cheque book, add on being behind with delivering her next book and no idea where to begin with writing it, it’s not a good time. She writes under a pseudonym and wears a “wig scarf” disguise to meet up with her agent where someone mistakes her for a hit ma
Tamar...light at the end of the tunnel?
Woohoo! Thank you Netgalley, St. Martin’s Press and Elle Cosimano for an ARC of one of the greatest afternoon reads I’ve enjoyed in a long time. I had already read a few good reviews of this book, so I was eager to get started, but I was not prepared to fall head over heels in love!

Finlay Donovan is HILARIOUS. It is a roadshow not to be missed; it is fun, sexy, and completely unexpected. By the end of Chapter 2, my eyes were glued to the text and I did not move from my chair before I devoured e
Jan 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, funny
4.5 stars

WOWZER!! This was tons of fun, and totally unexpected! Loved it and I'm stoked that it's the first in a new series.... can't wait to read more.


This book was a LOT of fun!!!!
Fresh. Well written. Funny. Smart. Entertaining.

Finlay Donovan Is Killing It had it all. And I hope that everyone who loves well written mysteries, with entertaining plots and protagonists that are likable and easily to root for, will pick it up. You do not want to miss out on this
Catherine Woodward
Nov 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, 4-stars
*Many thanks to NetGalley, St. Martin's Press, and Elle Cosimano for an ARC of this book! Now available as of 2.2!*

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
Jan 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

Finlay is struggling to write her latest suspense/romance novel and is in a deep mess financially. Her ex-husband Steve and his fiancé Theresa are pushing for full custody of four year old Delia and two year old Zach and he takes every opportunity he can to use against her. A meeting in Panera with her agent leads to a chance encounter that could be her way out of her money problems. With the assistance of her babysitter Vero is this the start of a new lucrative ‘business’ for Finlay?

Dec 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I knew from the opening sentence that this was going to be my kind of book. “It is a widely known fact that most moms are ready to kill someone by eight thirty A.M. on any given morning.”
Finlay is recently divorced, way behind with her bills. She writes romantic suspense novels, but is currently suffering from writer’s block. When someone misunderstands a conversation she’s having with her agent, she finds herself with a way to make enough money to solve all her problems. Murder for hire. Then s
Apr 29, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-stars
3.75 stars

I’ve finally finished an awful week filled with exams and I was in the mood for murder. This was the perfect book for my murderous mood!! It was such a fun time! This book is a mystery that was done in a comedy way??

Finlay Donovan, a struggling mother and a struggling author, is mistaken for a contact murder. And then...things just started happening!!!

The book was so fast paced with many twists and turns, fun, messy, and all over the place (in a good way) to enjoy this book you have t
Jan 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley-2021, 2021
*Now available*

4.5 great character stars

Finlay Donovan has become a favorite character! She’s definitely a mess, figuring out how to be a single mother, behind on writing her book, struggling to pay her bills in a big way, and tormenting the woman who stole her now ex-husband’s heart. It’s (almost) comedic how her life gets so out of control!

A conversation overheard at Panera might just provide the answer to all of her problems – or is it? Finlay is quickly over her head and I love how she just
Finlay Donovan is fabulous! What a fun book, a real breath of fresh air! Things are not going great for suspense writer Finlay Donovan. Her husband has left her, her new book seems to be going nowhere, and the bills keep piling up. So when she is mistaken for a higher killer while lunching at Panera with her agent she is tempted by the $$$. But the more Finlay tries to get out of this predicament the deeper she gets in.

Finlay reminded me of Stephanie Plum if Stephanie were a struggling suspense
Dec 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Review published in: https://diagnosisbookaholic.blogspot....

Finlay Donovan is killing it. Literally and metaphorically speaking! This book was exactly what I needed after my last reading slump.

Meet Finlay Donovan. Mom of two. Struggling novelist. Proud holder of a criminal record involving some play-doh and her ex-husband's new fiancee's car. Persona non grata at Panera.

While meeting her agent at said Panera (isn't she a badass?) she's mistaken with a hired killer and offered $50.000 just to ge
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Someone Else's Secret
  • The Last Flight
  • Girl in Translation
  • Little Secrets
  • Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion
  • A Ritchie Boy
  • Wow, No Thank You.: Essays
  • Deacon King Kong
  • Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts
  • She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement
  • Troubles in Paradise (Paradise, #3)
  • Elsewhere
  • Enter the Aardvark
  • Cooking for Picasso
  • Expectation
  • You Know You Want This
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Edgar® Nominee, Bram Stoker® Nominee, & ITW Thriller Award winner. SEASONS OF CHAOS coming June 8th. FINLAY DONOVAN KNOCKS 'EM DEAD (book #2) coming Feb 2022. ...more

Other books in the series

Finlay Donovan (2 books)
  • Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead (Finlay Donovan #2)

Articles featuring this book

Twists, turns, red herrings, the usual suspects: These books have it all...and more. If you love mysteries and thrillers, get ready for dozens...
215 likes · 62 comments
“It’s a widely known fact that most moms are ready to kill someone by eight thirty A.M. on any given morning. On the particular morning of Tuesday, October eighth, I was ready by seven forty-five. If you’ve never had to wrestle a two-year-old slathered in maple syrup into a diaper while your four-year-old decides to give herself a haircut in time for preschool, all while trying to track down the whereabouts of your missing nanny as you sop up coffee grounds from an overflowing pot because in your sleep-deprived fog you forgot to put in the filter, let me spell it out for you.

I was ready to kill someone. I didn’t really care who.”
“My Google search history alone was probably enough to put me on a government watch list. I wrote suspense novels about murders like this. I’d searched every possible way to kill someone. With every conceivable kind of weapon.” 1 likes
More quotes…