Finlay Donovan is Killing It, the delightful series debut by Elle Cosimano was recently nominated for the Best Humorous Mystery Novel of 2021 as part of Left Coast Crime’s Lefty Awards. Next week, the sequel – Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead – will be released and fans will discover that it is even better than the debut. Finlay Donovan is going to be part of the crime fiction community for a long time to come.
Picking up shortly after the previous novel ended, Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead once again finds Finlay and her best friend/nanny/accountant/roommate/ride-or-die/co-conspirator, Vero, once again on a madcap escapade through the criminal underworld – fighting arson, kidnapping, embezzlement, contract killers, and potty training.
Like Lucy and Ethel, anything this pair touches is bound to go wrong in countless ways and spectacular fashion. Case-in-point, when the online women’s forum that is a front for illegal activity posts an “ad” soliciting a hit on Finlay’s ex-husband, rather than call the police our dynamic duo accepts the assignment (after another hitman has expressed interest) and sets out to uncover the mastermind behind the plot.
Juggling the demands of a life-threatening private investigation with the sanity-threatening duties of motherhood is enough to turn anyone’s hair gray. After all, Finlay cannot allow her young daughter and infant son to spend time with their father while someone is trying to kill him, so she must rely on the help of family – her sister, a cop who fears a dirty diaper more than she fears an armed gunman, and her mother, who can’t seem to resist commenting on Finlay’s love life. Speaking of dating, Finlay is still faced with the exigent decision of choosing between the sexy young lawyer or the hot-as-hell cop – a quandary anyone would sign up for.
Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead could easily have become a ridiculous and over-the-top novel, but Elle Cosimano has the skill and talent to blend social satire with the mystery plot in completely believable – albeit hilarious – ways. In a short span of time, readers have become invested in these characters and watching them navigate the challenges of every-day life (along with their not-so-average criminal endeavors) is a welcome escape from 2022’s trials and tribulations. Cosimano packs laugh-out-loud moments in just about every chapter, even while the threats and danger increase to high blood pressure-inducing levels.
Red herrings and distractions abound in Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead, so the final resolution does come as a genuine surprise. The various twists and revelations along the journey keep the pacing high and the pages flying by. As has become Elle Cosimano’s trademark, there is another cliff-hanger ending that sets up the action for book three in the Finlay Donovan series, which might be viewed as frustrating by some, but most importantly guarantees that Finlay and Vero will be returning soon. For that, everyone can be thankful.
Disclaimer: A print galley of this title was provided to BOLO Books by the publisher. No promotion was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.