• The Bossy Bookworm

Review of Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead by Elle Cosimano

Finlay dips her toe into a criminal underworld in the second in Cosimano's campy mystery series. She juggles motherhood, her ex, her writing career, paying the bills, and two love interests while trying not to accidentally kill anyone--or die along the way.

In Elle Cosimano's first book in this series, Finlay Donovan Is Killing It, we meet main protagonist Finlay Donovan: an author and a recently single mom, divorced from a cheating man who's easy to detest. She's struggling both emotionally and financially as she tries to support her two young children.

Various misunderstandings during a publishing meeting about Finlay's upcoming mystery novel result in her receipt of a mysterious note implying that Finlay is involved in something sinister--and offering her an actual hit job. Cosimano struck a campy, playful tone in that book and offered a quirky setup for Finlay's complicated situation.

In Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead, Finlay has her friend Vero in her confidence--and in her household, as her live-in nanny. When the women are tipped off by their accidental underworld contacts that there's a hit out on Finlay's obnoxious ex-husband, they must decide whether to save him and how.

The story starts off with some silly, campy situations, and as with the first book, Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead relies periodically on absurd misunderstandings or the jumping to incorrect conclusions to keep the roller coaster going.

Finlay is not a hired killer, but she continues to be far from innocent, and she's consistently stumbling into greater and greater danger and embroiling herself in criminal-adjacent behavior, if not full-blown crimes.

She tampers with evidence, facilitates others' criminal activity by concealing the truth, and lies--at least by enormous omission--to her sister the cop and to Nick, a police officer and kind-of love interest. Nick's active glossing-over of his suspicions about Finlay's activities left me feeling a little squirrelly, although this was necessary to advance the plot and continue their will-they-commit/won't-they-commit tension for the next book.

I liked the twist of potential trust-breaking from within Finlay's inner circle.

One of my favorite elements is how Finlay, a mom of two very young children, is absolutely irresistible to two attractive, appealing, successful, intelligent, sensitive men--and how she appreciates how gorgeous they are, but she's kind of busy right now, in case you hadn't noticed.

Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?

Cosimano is also the author of the young adult mystery series Nearly Gone, the young adult fantasy series

Seasons of the Storm, and the young adult books Holding Smoke and The Suffering Tree.

Click here for my review of Finlay Donovan Is Killing It.