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  • Writer's pictureMandy McHugh

Finlay Donovan Is Killing It, Elle Cosimano: A Review

Minotaur has put out some amazing titles this year, and 2021 is looking pretty stellar, too. This cover and title were perfection, and I was thrilled to be approved.

Finlay Donovan is in the middle of a custody battle with her ex-husband, struggling to balance being a single mother to two young children while breaking writer's block on her next book. Deadline passed, bills piling up, and a chance meeting orchestrated by a misunderstanding gives her an ultimatum: "fix" a lowlife husband for fifty thousand dollars or lose custody of her children. What happens next is a snowballing mystery, with a cast of unreliable characters, bountiful motives, and action-packed stake-outs. I loved this book. Finlay's voice is so relatable. From her chaotic mornings to her genuinely-believable problems, I could see so much of the average mother in her--myself included. Better still is her relationship with Vero. Usually the babysitter is a throw-away character, and Cosimano turned her into a worthy accomplice. Their banter is hilarious and logical. They work well together, and it was so refreshing to see two women building each other up in precarious situations. I'd read an entire book of them figuring out tricky obstacles together, and if Cosimano decides this is a series, I'm here for it. On a side note, I had to wonder if her character was named after Ray Donovan, as the fixer character is one of my favorites and she emulates a lot of his dry humor and rational approach to problems. Plot-wise, this book moves. I devoured it in one sitting, equal parts laughing and damning the treacherous characters. I don't always care for love interests, but I was invested in Finlay's journey to figure out her life post-divorce. Characters in the writing profession is also a difficult trope to pull off. The meta nature of it can seem pretentious or cheesy--but it worked well with Finlay's character, becoming her sounding board and brainstorming session rather than hogging the spotlight of the plot. While I wasn't surprised by the trajectory of the plot, I enjoyed how the pieces fell into place, and there was plenty of suspicion to go around, so I think most readers will be pleased at the arcs and pacing. Overall, Finlay Donovan Is Killing It is a thrilling, hilarious, lovable murder-mystery suspense you won't want to put down. I'd recommend to anyone who loves the dark humor of Dead to Me or Santa Clarita Diet or Ray Donovan. Big thanks to Minotaur and NetGalley for providing an eARC in exchange for honest review consideration.


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