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Author and single mom Finlay Donovan has been in messes before―after all, she’s a pro at removing bloodstains for various unexpected reasons―but none quite like this. When Finlay and her nanny/partner-in-crime Vero accidentally destroyed a luxury car that they had “borrowed” in the process of saving the life of Finlay’s ex-husband, the Russian mob did her a favor and bought the car for her. And now Finlay owes them. 

Mob boss Feliks is still running the show from behind bars, and he has a task for Finlay: find and identify a contract killer before the cops do. The problem is, the killer might be an officer themself.

Luckily, hot cop Nick has just been tasked with starting 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 a tempting detective), Finlay and Vero use their time in police academy to sleuth out the real contract killer to free themselves from the mob’s clutches―all the while dodging spies, confronting Vero’s past, and juggling the daily trials of parenthood.

From USA Today bestseller and Edgar-Award nominee Elle Cosimano, comes Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun—the highly anticipated, hilarious, and heart-pounding next installment in the beloved Finlay Donovan series…

Title : Finlay Donovan Jumps The Gun
Author : Elle Cosimano
Series : Finlay Donovan (book three)
Format : eARC
Page Count : 304
Genre : mystery / thriller
Publisher : Minotaur Books
Release Date : January 31, 2023

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★

Hollis’ 2 star review

Pretty sure in my review for book two I said something about my suspension of disbelief button getting a workout but hoo boy. That’s nothing compared the third installment in this series. Poor pointer finger is exhausted.

That aside, I have to say, I found it extremely hard to get back into this world; or, maybe more accurately, the writing. I cared nothing for the characters, the nonsense they had once more gotten themselves twisted up in, and certainly not the romance. Can I blame all that on the writing or am I just over this concept? I’ll admit the red herrings for the mystery were well done but it sorta feels like everything was made more convoluted and dramatic, as opposed to less, because of Finlay and Vero’s involvement. And that did not make for a great experience.

I am all for a plucky heroine stumbling into bigger things and having to navigate but like.. it’s just not working anymore. Things are either too big for her to be emerging unscathed or things just aren’t being taken seriously enough and therefore the stakes aren’t high. Or both, sometimes at the same time. It’s a weird feeling. The vibes are off.

Also, that big near-final scene happening surrounded by all those cops? Yeah bloody right. The eyerolls.

Also also, the very meta writing bit about Finlay and her characters is getting tired, too.

While Vero had definitely saved some of the bits that I had previously given side-eye, she did not fare so well in this one. I worried her subplot would add to the OTT and ruin her and yeah, I think it did. Honestly, the only character I really enjoyed in this one was Wade, a firearms instructor, because his lack of fucks really spoke to me. Nick, one of the many (!) love interests, wasn’t too bad, either. I am just bewildered by all these menfolk panting after Finlay because I do not get the appeal.

But what do I know; the same could be said about my feelings for this series vs the many many readers who are having a blast. So.

While I had hoped to find a spark of love for this series, I think I’ll stick this on the back burner until the end is in sight.

ps, still wishing Steven was dead.

** I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **


Finlay Donovan is―once again―struggling to finish her next novel and keep her head above water as a single mother of two. On the bright side, she has her live-in nanny and confidant Vero to rely on, and the only dead body she’s dealt with lately is that of her daughter’s pet goldfish.

On the not-so-bright side, someone out there wants her ex-husband, Steven, out of the picture. Permanently. Whatever else Steven may be, he’s a good father, but saving him will send her down a rabbit hole of hit-women disguised as soccer moms, and a little bit more involvement with the Russian mob than she’d like.

Meanwhile, Vero’s keeping secrets, and Detective Nick Anthony seems determined to get back into her life. He may be a hot cop, but Finlay’s first priority is preventing her family from sleeping with the fishes… and if that means bending a few laws then so be it.

With her next book’s deadline looming and an ex-husband to keep alive, Finlay is quickly coming to the end of her rope. She can only hope there isn’t a noose at the end of it…

From Edgar-Award nominee Elle Cosimano, comes Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead―the hilarious and heart-pounding follow-up to Finlay Donovan is Killing It.

Title : Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead
Author : Elle Cosimano
Series : Finlay Donovan (book two)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 353
Genre : contemporary / mystery thriller
Publisher : Minotaur Books
Release Date : February 1, 2022

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ 

Hollis’ 3 star review

This story would’ve been a whole lot simpler if Finlay had just let someone off her shitbag of an ex-husband. It would’ve been a whole lot more enjoyable, too, no matter how happily things seem now at the end (not saying how or why and what makes things happier, or if it even relates to said ex-husband, though). But I digress..

Honestly, while I’m awarding this the same rating, overall it wasn’t quite on par with book one. Mostly the success comes from the big reveal at the end that.. yeah, I did not see that one coming. Brava. I loved it.

But the romance takes a turn in the direction I didn’t want, leaving me feeling a bit letdown (even though it’s still early in the series and I shouldn’t have put all my eggs in any one basket in book one, what a noob). And once again we have so many coincidences and conveniences that I’m just constantly having to hit refresh on my suspension-of-disbelief button and I think I pointer finger was getting tired.

Book three is lining up to be very Vero-centric and I’m both looking forward to it and nervous because I kind of wanted her role as bestie and ride or die to be drama-free and less OTT than some of the circumstances these two find themselves in. So I’m a wee bit concerned. But we’ll see how it all plays out.

Having said that, these are quick action-y reads with the single-mom-trying-to-do-it-all, matched up with spying and thrills and the banality of book deadlines, all alongside the absolute belief that a wig and a dress can convince anyone you’re someone else. Apparently.

I wouldn’t push these on anyone as a recommendation but you could totally do worse.


“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. 

Title : Finlay Donovan is Killing It
Author : Elle Cosimano
Series : Finlay Donovan (book one)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 355
Genre : contemporary / mystery thriller
Publisher : Minotaur Books
Release Date : February 2, 2021

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ 

Hollis’ 3 star review

While much of this story is the depiction of a woman stumbling through a situation (or two) that requires her to suddenly dispose of another human when she’s mistaken for a contract killer, it might be more accurate to say this is a domestic mystery/thriller. Because so much of who Finlay is.. is a stressed out, barely making ends meet, mother and writer. Both tasks demand much of her and she’s rather spectacularly failing at both, all while navigating interactions with her ex and the woman, now fiancé, he cheated on her with. It’s the threat of bills, of losing her kids, that convinces Finlay to do it. Or rather, like any good writer, to do her research. Who is this man she’s been asked to kill? Is he actually terrible? And thus sets in motion a series of events that Finlay can’t come back from, which spins out into connections she never could’ve seen coming and, also, the mob?

I’ll admit those same connections sort’ve had me side-eyeing the plot because it’s all just a little (lot) too convenient. But it does make for an interesting quandary or two that Finlay has to reconcile with and maybe that was the main point of it all.

While I did enjoy Finlay, most of the time, I think I enjoyed her side-kick, Vero, more. Or maybe I just really enjoyed their dynamic together? Because every Vero scene was great and I was a fan of their completely inept duo (the cling wrap scene, I cannot even..) and very much look forward to more of that.

For romance fans, or readers who like a little romance spliced into their novels, regardless of genre, there’s something here for you, too! Perhaps even more than one option? I won’t say more. Except to say I am very pleased with where we ended by the final chapter of this first book. Though.. I also did a little side-eye of a certain visit to a certain bar near the end. Honestly, proving this isn’t some smooth and slick murder mystery, there was a lot of side-eyeing of a lot of decisions, really. But it does give it some amateur hour realness, I guess.

So, yes, maybe some of the hype took some of the shine off this one, and that’s why I’m not quite as effusive about this as I expected to be, but I have hopes that book two might be even better. And yes, I’m about to find out right.. now.