Cozy Mystery Reads: Finlay Donovan series by Elle Cosimano

Elle Cosimano is an Edgar-nominated and award-winning author of four young adult novels. Her debut adult novel is the first in the Finlay Donovan series, Finlay Donovan is Killing It, which has been described as a contemporary mystery series. This first title was featured in People Magazine and was also highlighted as one of the New York Public Library’s Best Books of 2021. The second book in this series Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead will be released in February 2022.

The first in the Finlay Donovan series, Finlay Donovan is Killing It, introduces Finlay, her family, and her life to readers in a funny, engaging manner unlike anything I had read before. The premise was entertaining from page 1, plus Finlay read as a relatable character just trying to make it through the day alive and mostly unscathed. This novel is fast-paced and portrays a mother who doesn’t have it all together, yet her kids end up surviving. Finlay is an authentic character living in a messy life just trying to make it through motherhood one day at a time.

Finlay Donovan has it under control – well, for the most part. Her life has changed drastically from where she imagined herself to be, but she’s managed to keep her two kids alive and fed. Recently divorced, Finlay is a stressed out mom of two and a struggling novelist. Her writing isn’t going well, her ex-husband has fired their nanny (WITHOUT telling her), and her kids seem determined to cause as much chaos as possible. Case in point: her four-year-old daughter decided to give herself a haircut and had a meltdown that was only solved when Finlay duct-taped her hair back onto her head(because that’s what daddy would have done and he can fix anything). She may look ridiculous, but hey, the kid stopped screaming.

At a meeting with her agent over lunch, Finlay discusses the plot of the new suspense novel she has been working on and how bad writing is going so far. She just can’t seem to find a way to write yet another book about a murder, even though she has already been given (and spent) part of her advance. As she is preparing to leave, Finlay realizes that another lunch-goer has misheard her and has assumed that she is a contract killer. Finlay inadvertently accepts the offer to get rid of this woman’s problem husband. The money she offers certainly can help her pay some of her bills. What follows is a series of mishaps, bungles, and wrong place/wrong time situations that show Finlay that real life crime is way more complicated that just writing about it ever will be. Finlay finds herself entangled in a murder investigation and the money quickly becomes not worth it if it means she will be in prison, separated from her kids for good.

Finlay Donovan series:

  1. Is Killing It (2021)
  2. Knocks ‘Em Dead (2022)