‘Finlay Donovan is Killing It’: the most relatable (and hilarious) bookish mom ever?

May 19, 2022

TITLE: Finlay Donovan is Killing It (Finlay Donovan, #1)
AUTHOR: Elle Cosimano
GENRE: Mystery/Humor
PAGES: 355pg
PUBLISHER: Minotaur Books

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.

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You know a book is good when the final page makes you whisper-shout to yourself, “Oh my fucking GOD!”

It’s a widely known fact that most moms are ready to kill someone by 8:30AM on any given morning.

I don’t read a lot of mystery books, but it’s a genre I’ve been wanting to read more from, so when I saw my entire bookstagram feed seem to collectively lose it over the release of the second book in this series, I had to see what the hype was about – and I’m so happy that I did, because this was easily one of my favorite reads of the year so far.

My Google search history alone was probably enough to put me on a government watch list.

Despite being thrown into the most ridiculously outlandish scenarios one after another, Finn is one of the most relatable characters I’ve ever met in my life. She doesn’t have it together, she’s totally frazzled half the time, and she’s getting by on not much more than her dedicated love for her kids, sheer luck, and some spite. She’s absolutely hilarious and so endearing from start to finish, and as a mother of a young child myself, the way her love for her kids jumps off of every page won me over right off the bat.

“Because nothing screams innocent like a rotting corpse in three thousand feet of Cling Wrap!”

Perhaps the best part of this book for me, aside from how much I loved Finn by herself, is the incredible friendship between Finn and Vero and how delightful they are together. Their banter is so funny and authentic, and Vero herself is the best supporting character I’ve read in a long time. Too many books that feature woman/woman friendships don’t offer a fleshed-out view at that relationship, but Finlay Donovan really lets us see women supporting each other, going to bat for one another, and working together to make each other’s lives better, and it’s incredible.

My relationship with Panera was complicated. I liked their soup. Panera didn’t like that I’d poured it over another customer’s head.

All in all, Finlay Donovan is a hilarious, lovable mystery/comedy story that pans out in some of the most unlikely ways and keeps you on your toes. Despite the fact that I knew this would be a series, there were so many moments that had me genuinely wondering how Finn was going to come out of a situation. You definitely need to be a reader who’s comfortable with the suspension of disbelief since some of the scenes play out so conveniently well for Finn, but I truly didn’t mind that at all and loved watching the shenanigans play out. I’m so excited to continue this series and can’t recommend it highly enough!

Buddy read with Leslie! ♥

content warnings →

violence, murder, gun violence, mentions/implications of sexual assault, blackmail, drugging without consent, mentions of divorce, mentions of infidelity

representation →

Vero is Latinx; Finn’s sister Georgia is a lesbian


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More about Destiny @ Howling Libraries

Just a horror aficionado/geek girl trying to juggle motherhood, reading, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.

    1. Great review!!!! It was such a good read and I’m so glad we decided to buddy read it together! Otherwise, it would have sat on my bookshelf for far too long. Woot for book two right now!! ?

    1. I’ve seen so much hype for this book that I’m considering picking it up, even though I think I’ve only read one other adult mystery in my entire life! I’ve just heard nothing but fantastic things, and I love books that don’t take themselves super seriously, and this book seems like it has the best blend of humor and action in it!

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