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Review: Finlay Donovan Is Killing It, by Elle Cosimano

Oh my God, this book. THIS BOOK. I was not expecting to love it as much as I did - as in, I was expecting it to be silly fluff that I could read in an afternoon and then set aside without ever having to think about it again, and to perhaps have a lot of fun picking apart the crappy writing or the stupid story. And the story was certainly beyond silly, but it was also a legitimately gripping murder mystery with an incredibly funny narrator that I could not bring myself to put down (so I did end up reading it in an afternoon, anyway).

Basically, this is the story of a struggling author who accidentally gets mistaken for a hit woman, and just fully leans into it. If that sounds ridiculous, it's because this book totally is. Everything that happens is totally over the top and unrealistic, but Elle Cosimano does a pretty great job of bringing you into Finlay Donovan's world and making it clear you shouldn't expect it to look anything like what you would expect without ever explicitly telling us to completely suspend our disbelief. Once you've done that, you end up with a book that is a fully immersive, totally escapist read that also contains a pretty clever murder mystery and a narrator whose inner monologue is laugh-out-loud funny.

Finlay makes bad decision after bad decision, and it's certainly entertaining watching the creative ways she digs herself out of mess after mess after mess (including but not limited to, a corpse in the backseat of her minivan and making out with the police officer investigating the murder of said corpse). The relationship between Finlay and her live-in nanny and partner in crime Vero is also really enjoyable to watch blossom, and the way Finlay and Vero stick up for each other and have each others' backs is really well crafted. Their friendship is one of the few realistic touches in the novel: it's messy, it's complicated, they bicker, but it's also strong and permanent and these two women obviously love each other fiercely. I, too, have friends I would help move a body for. Just sayin'. And the way Vero stands up to Finlay's piece of shit ex-husband and his new partner who just treat her like absolute crap - oh, it made my heart sing. The unfairness of the situation Finlay finds herself in makes me almost forgive her for becoming an actual murderer for hire. Almost.

And therein lies the real strength of this novel - the murder mystery at the heart of it is legitimately gripping. There are lots of different threads that fold quite neatly into the overarching narrative, and I really enjoyed watching Finlay and Vero picking them apart while covering their own traces, and I low-key cheered when I found myself figuring things out a couple of pages before they did. I read this book straight through (I didn't even take a bathroom break, that's how unputdownable it was) because I needed to know how Finn and Vero were going to get out of this absolute mess they'd ended up in. I personally could've done without the romance aspect of it, which was a bit awkwardly crowbarred into the narrative for me, but that's literally the only slight bemol on this otherwise delightful book.

All told, I highly, highly recommend - this is a delightful, totally escapist book that I really enjoyed the process of reading, and I'm definitely looking forward to the next book in this planned series. A perfect read if you want to exist somewhere else for a few hours without having to commit to the entirety of a new fantasy universe, and Finlay Donovan is a funny, welcoming, delightful host. I tip my hat to you, Elle Cosimano.

Happy reading,

Amélie xx

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I’m Amélie, I love books and reading, and I also love talking about them.

I’m incredibly lucky to be bilingual, so I read books in both French and English, and will talk about both of those on here – although I will do more in English, since I know that’s probably what the majority of the people who ever find this blog will be interested in!

I also like history, traveling, Shakespeare, coffee, cheese, musicals, Italian Baroque art, the ballet, Mock the Week and Have I Got News For You, flowers, makeup, high heels, and baking. Yes, I’m a walking cliché. I am aware.

Please do tweet at me with any suggestions/book recommendations/thoughts.

In case you’re curious – yes, Pride and Prejudice is my favorite book of all time.

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