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Finlay Donovan Is Killing It


Finlay Donovan Is Killing It

The late Ann Richards, the 45th governor of Texas, was a brash feminist who enjoyed articulating the unappreciated hard work of women laboring in all different kinds of jobs. At the 1988 Democratic National Convention, she reminded America that “Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels.”

FINLAY DONOVAN IS KILLING IT, Elle Cosimano’s first adult crime novel, demonstrates that women are making forays into every profession. Granted, it might be an unanticipated adventure, one that Finlay Donovan does not wish to undertake, but undertake it she does. The winners here are the readers, who will find themselves in a pleasant and humorous comic caper.

"The winners here are the readers, who will find themselves in a pleasant and humorous comic caper.... FINLAY DONOVAN IS KILLING IT is an easy, enjoyable and witty novel."

Finlay is a struggling novelist who has not been able to complete a book that she has started three times. Her frustrated agent, Sylvia, is pressuring her to meet the deadline or be dropped by her publisher. But writer’s block is the least of Finlay’s worries. Her marriage is a disaster: her husband, Steve, has left her for another woman and is engaged to be married. As in most cases of marital discord, there is not enough money for two separate households, and they have decided to use their children as human pawns in the divorce game. Finlay has no money, no new book and no prospect of solving either of these predicaments.

Somehow Finlay gets the morning catastrophes, which seem to be a daily occurrence, somewhat under control and meets Sylvia at a local Panera. Seated in a center area of the restaurant, they talk about Finlay’s writing difficulties and the plot of her new novel. A nearby customer overhears parts of the conversation and somehow convinces herself that Finlay is a contract killer. She quietly but quickly offers the author $50,000 to kill her husband.

Certainly it is a long stretch of a story. However, it does remind me of an episode of “Law and Order” and has some eerie similarity to the occasional news story where someone is planning to eliminate the primary expenses of divorce by knocking off his or her spouse. But these qualms should be set aside in light of the entertaining adventure upon which we are about to embark.

Cosimano has created a delightful supporting cast. Early in her efforts, Finlay acquires a partner in crime, her part-time babysitter Vero, a college student who learns about her secret life and decides to join her on this wild ride. In addition, Finlay has two romantic interests, and we are left guessing as to which of them will “get the girl.” Finally, there are some high-quality vicious criminals who keep the story moving. Most importantly, Cosimano continues to remind us that even paid killers have lives outside the workplace.

FINLAY DONOVAN IS KILLING IT is an easy, enjoyable and witty novel. It appears that sequels may be on the way, and I will be happy to see where Finlay and her friends turn up next.

Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman on February 5, 2021

Finlay Donovan Is Killing It
by Elle Cosimano

  • Publication Date: January 4, 2022
  • Genres: Fiction, Humor, Mystery, Women's Fiction
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books
  • ISBN-10: 1250830443
  • ISBN-13: 9781250830449