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Literary Friday: A Fun Mystery Series

Friday, June 21, 2024


Happy Literary Friday, My Lovelies!

Shelley and I went to a local fundraiser today and lunch.  Since we were gone a big chunk of the day, I'm posting my Literary Friday post rather late in the evening.  Better late than never, right?

This week I'm sharing the Finlay Donovan series with y'all.  I started reading it when I was going through treatment and I wasn't blogging much.  I really wish I'd written reviews of these books earlier because they are laugh out loud funny.  My local librarian who knows my taste thought I'd love Finlay Donovan Is Killing It, and she was correct.  She's the queen of genre fiction, and I think I've enjoyed at least ninety percent of her recommendations if not more.  Librarians truly are treasures (especially ours).

Here are the books in the series so far:

They are in publication order top to bottom, left to right.

I will give the Goodreads synopsis first, and then a very short review for all four books.  I don't want this post to be extremely long!  If you want, you can read the review for book one and skip to the end of the post.  I wanted to go ahead and write mini reviews to post on Goodreads and also share them here on the blog.

According to Goodreads:

"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. She’s a stressed-out single-mom of two and struggling novelist, Finlay’s life is in 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 . . . Soon, Finlay 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 moment, Finlay Donovan Is Killing It is the first in a brilliant new series from YA Edgar Award nominee Elle Cosimano.

My Review

This book is so funny that it made me laugh so hard my sides hurt.  Finlay is definitely a morally gray heroine: she has taken and spend an advance for a book she hasn't even started writing yet, and her deadline is days away.  While meeting with her agent in a coffee shop, a lady overhears her talking about the plot of her book, and she literally thinks Finlay is a contract killer.  Said lady "hires" Finlay to kill her not so delightful husband for a hefty fee.  I won't give away too many spoilers, but just suffice it to say that the man dies not by Finlay's hand, but she gets all the credit and the money for the hit.  She even attracts the attention of a local mob boss.  Y'all, this is definitely a comedy of errors.  The humor makes it "slightly" cozy, but there are also plenty of suspenseful twists and turns.  

According to Goodreads:

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.

My Review:

This was a nice installment in the series, and I thought it was hilarious about her ex-husband Steven's being a target of a possible hit because of his womanizing habits.  I like her new love interest Detective Nick Anthony: the internal conflict Finlay has about being involved with the Russian mob while dating Nick is a fantastic plot point.  I also love her children's nanny Vero.  She just might be my favorite sidekick in all of fiction.

I kept thinking about this song while I was reading this book.  This is for your listening pleasure!

According to Goodreads:

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…

My Review:

I want reiterate what the synopsis says, but I must say that Book Three in the series is my least favorite so far.  There is a LOT going on in it, and I feel so sorry for Finlay because she needs to meet her book deadline, find information for Feliks the mob boss, and attend an intensive citizen police academy camp.  That's a lot, and this one needs to be read a bit more carefully, too.  Finlay's frenzied life made me nervous in this one....I was more nervous than amused, and that's why I would rate this one slightly lower than the rest of them.  A plus in this book is that she and her hot cop enjoy each others' company in his dorm room (three times!): They are really stepping-up their relationship!

According to Goodreads:

From New York Times bestseller Elle Cosimano comes Finlay Donovan Rolls the Dice―the fiercely anticipated next installment in the beloved Finlay Donovan series.

Finlay Donovan and her nanny/partner-in-crime Vero are in sore need of a girls’ weekend away. They plan a trip to Atlantic City, but odds are―seeing as it’s actually a cover story to negotiate a deal with a dangerous loan shark, save Vero’s childhood crush Javi, and hunt down a stolen car―it won’t be all fun and games. When Finlay’s ex-husband Steven and her mother insist on tagging along too, Finlay and Vero suddenly have a few too many meddlesome passengers along for the ride.

Within hours of arriving in their seedy casino hotel, it becomes clear their rescue mission is going to be a bust. Javi’s kidnapper, Marco, refuses to negotiate, demanding payment in full in exchange for Javi’s life. But that’s not all―he insists on knowing the whereabouts of his missing nephew, Ike, who mysteriously disappeared. Unable to confess what really happened to Ike, Finlay and Vero are forced to come up with a new plan: sleuth out the location of Javi and the Aston Martin, then steal them both back.

But when they sneak into the loan shark’s suite to search for clues, they find more than they bargained for―Marco's already dead. They don’t have a clue who murdered him, only that they themselves have a very convincing motive. Then four members of the police department unexpectedly show up in town, also looking for Ike―and after Finlay's night with hot cop Nick at the police academy, he’s a little too eager to keep her close to his side.

If Finlay can juggle a jealous ex-husband, two precocious kids, her mother’s marital issues, a decomposing loan shark, and find Vero’s missing boyfriend, she might get out of Atlantic City in one piece. But will she fold under the pressure and come clean about the things she’s done, or be forced to double down?

My Review:

I read this one early this week.  Like the others, Finlay finds herself in a mess with the Russian mob and seedy loan sharks.  I wasn't crazy about the Atlantic City setting (in winter, no less), but I did think that Elle Cosimano was clever in how she brings the entire cast to Atlantic City not knowing what Finlay and Vero are truly up to.  I also like how Javi, Vero's childhood friend and love of her life, is in this book, and their plot line is very well-written.  Almost all of the loose ends in Finlay's life were tied-up by the end of the book.  Almost.  I can't wait until Book Five!

Do you enjoy reading mysteries and suspense-thrillers?  Based on my reviews, do you think you'd enjoy this series?

Until next time...

Happy Reading!
Ricki Jill

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Hello, Lovelies!

I'm Ricki Jill. Welcome! I'm honored that you're reading my blog. I enjoy sharing my creative lifestyle @ The Bookish Dilettante. For more information about my blog, please read the Start Here page. Thank-you for stopping by, and I hope you'll consider following me via email.


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