Cover Image: Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead

Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead

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Member Reviews

So, this is the second in a series of three books about a very reluctant and totally amateur assassin for hire:  all because of a misunderstanding during a business lunch date with her agent.

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Along the theme of "Something old, something new, something borrowed," the old"novel within a novel" hack is repeated in this installment:  art imitating life in this instance.  Finlay borrows heavily from the events threatening to derail her already messy life in her new book pitch in order to appease her editor and land another book deal.

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The pressure is on!  We know from the first installment that her ex-husband is the one with the bounty on his head.  Things with her friends with benefits bartender, Julian, are on a bit of a roller coaster ride, and Nick - that handsome but very "by the book" cop still has the hots for her, but can't get over her lies.... <i>or can he?</i>

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There was a fair amount of repetition in this installment, but the writing and dialogue are, once again, very good.  I will admit that I  was getting fairly tired of Vero's constant evasiveness - over the missing money, what was really worrying her, and why she never let Finlay meet any of her family members....

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Sylvia - Finlay's agent - is back, too.  Sylvia was always looking for something that would"sell" by appealing to current trends and flickering fads.  Let's hope that Cosimano's real life agent isn't as willing to peddle her client the way Sylvia has in each of these two installments!  An enjoyable read, with a few loose ends leaving you waiting impatiently for the final installment!
I'm rating this one a 3.8 out of 5.
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Finlay is BACK! I loved Finlay Donovan Is Killing It and this one picks right up where book 1 ends. I recommend reading this soon after the first, as a lot of the characters we see are back!

This book has the same fresh take on a mystery, it lacked some of the humor of book 1, but it still brought me laughs and surprised me as I read it. Finlay is still a hot mess in this book, but maybe a little less so. I don't want to spoil book 1 or this one so I'm going to do my best to write a review that doesn't. Finlay is doing her best to protect her kids, much to her ex-husband's chagrin. Finlay is doing her best when faced with decisions that aren't easy. The ending had me *almost* throwing my kindle because it raised so many more questions. I'm just sad that I have to wait for book 3. 

This book was a wild ride and I finished in one go. I did a mix of audio and reading and loved having both to help me not have to take breaks while I was working. 

Thank you to Minotaur Books, Macmillan Audio, and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC and ALC in exchange for an honest review.
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Rating: 3.5 stars

Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead was one of my most anticipated books of 2022. I thoroughly enjoyed Finlay Donovan Is Killing It last year and was looking forward to more humor and soccer mom turned hit woman. I am sad to say Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead fell short of my expectations.

Part of what I loved about the first Finlay Donovan book was the absurd plot of Finlay becoming a hit woman. It was unexpected and fun. There was also a lot of humor that I enjoyed despite not being suburban or a mom. For me, both of these were missing in the sequel. Elle Cosimano noted in her acknowledgements that she struggled writing humor amidst the pandemic and everything else going on in the world. I think that it definitely showed and I feel for her. I am sure writing during these unprecedented times with pressing deadlines and the expectations of an equal or superior sequel was not easy.

The plot of Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead did not live up to the first novel. First, Finlay does not take any hired hits. Instead, the book really focuses on her trying to figure out who placed a hit out on her ex-husband and trying to save him (along with not getting caught for her illegal behavior). Julian, the law student, and Nick, the hot cop, are back in the picture. For me, I thought this story focused too much on them and their efforts to rescue Finlay. My feminist self cringes when a book preaches that the female protagonist does not need saving by men and then the plot totally ignores that. In addition, the story was a bit overly convoluted. While I did not have a difficult time following the storyline, I think keeping it a bit less contrived would have made it a stronger plot.

The “B plot” of Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead is focused on Vero being secretive and hiding something from Finlay. However, this is really in the background and not given much time in the book. By the end of the book, it still felt unresolved. This was a bit disappointing and also left the dynamic between Finlay and Vero without the same spark.

The last thing I will say is I wish I had reread Finlay Donovan Is Killing It before picking up the sequel. Unfortunately, I just did not have time amid my other book obligations. One thing that I often find in series is that authors pick up at a set time after the first book ends (in this case a month) and do not review or rehash anything from the first installment. This was true for Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead. For someone like me that read the first book a year ago and does not have the best memory, I struggled to pick up and take off with the continued story without any discussion of what occurred in the past and who some of the characters were.

Overall, I enjoyed Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead and am still looking forward to the third installment in this series. But I am hoping that sticks a bit more closely to the first book in humor, tone, and plot. If you enjoyed the Finlay Donovan Is Killing It I still recommend reading the sequel but with tempered expectations.

Thank you Minotaur Books & St. Martin's Press for the e-galley in exchange for my fair and honest review.
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4 stars!

If you loved Book 1 of the Finlay Donovan series, I think you’ll adore Book 2 just as much! This was a perfect continuation of the story as it felt like a direct extension of Finlay Donovan is Killing it. 

Someone wants Finlay’s ex-husband, Steven, dead. Though he can be an asshole and has hurt Finlay in the past, Finlay and Vero, her live in Nanny, decide to take matters in their own hands to save Steven. All the while, Vero is acting secretive, and Detective Nick Anthony is hanging around trying to land on Finlay’s romantic radar. 

Just like the first book, there were twists and turns so fast paced I couldn’t put this down. Yet, over-the-top activities Finlay and Vero get into will also require you to suspend disbelief to enjoy the story for what it is. 

I don’t know what Elle Cosimano does to make this so entertaining, but the relationships, the banter, and the shenanigans bring me so much joy to read. 

I wish we would’ve gotten more answers from Vero and what she’s hiding, but I assume that’s setting us up to grow Finlay and Vero’s relationship further in Book 3… which I will 100% be picking up!
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It was so fun to get to hang out with Finlay & Vero again on their next misadventure. This sequel picks up right where book #1 left off. Finlay's finally getting some sense of normalcy...until she finds out someone is trying to kill her ex-husband, Steven. This sends her into a tailwind trying to figure out the culprit and track them down before they track down Steven. Trusty Vero is in tow and we learn that Vero's past is a little more mysterious that we (and Finlay) may have assumed. I enjoyed getting to visit with these characters again and look forward to a book #3!
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Overall Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐/5
Edition: kindle
Originality: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5
Character Development: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5
Favorite Character: Vero
Recommend: 👍

I jumped on the Finlay Donovan band wagon thanks to social media. I was surprised at how much I loved the first book since it's not my favorite genre. I’m a mom of a three year old, so I did appreciate the few parenting quirks and situations. I laughed out loud so much I ended up having to explain the whole story to my husband who kept asking, “What’s so funny?”. He wasn’t as impressed. Definitely chick lit. 

At the end of the first book, Finlay discovers someone is offering a big payout to anyone who can take care of  her ex husband, Stephen. Though Finlay can’t stand her lying cheating ex, rightfully so, she couldn’t imagine actually burying him 6 feet under. Concerned for her kids and their father, Finlay and her babysitter/roommate, Vero, end up teaming up to solve the mystery of the anonymous forum post. To summarize without giving much away - most of this second book is based on Finlay trying to find out who ordered the hit, keeping her ex and kids safe, juggling her romantic relationship between the cop and law student, as well as stopping any other hitman (or hitwoman) from finishing the job. 

Opinion time. The entire first half of the book I was convinced this would be a 2 star read. The writing was messy and there were too many “trying to be funny” moments that just didn’t blend as well as they did in the first book. It seemed this was going to be the case of the second book flop. That being said, the last quarter of the book had me hooked! I thought I had figured out who the real hitman was, but was so incredibly wrong. In fact, I found the ending made the rest of the plot make so much more sense. I was almost rolling on the floor with laughter.  It all just clicked in and I loved it! This is a prime example of why you should watch what you post online. You never know who may be reading!
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Thank you, netgalley for my advanced copy of this book! 

I was so excited to read this one because Finlay Donovan is Killing It was one of my top reads of 2021. 

I found myself laughing out loud and literally on the edge of my seat as I devoured this book. The situations Finlay finds herself in are hilarious and had me seriously concerned for her. 

I love all the characters in the book and I am 100% Team Nick! 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I can’t wait for the next book to come out!
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Finlay Donovan and her hot mess of a life are back for another tense and amusing installment: at the end of the previous book, Finlay and Vero discovered someone had hired a hit woman on a mommies’ forum to take out Steven, Finlay’s useless, cheating ex-husband. Because their kids love their dad, Finla,y and Vero, go to great lengths to protect Steven, while trying to uncover the identity of the assassin. At the same time, Feliks Zhirov is in jail, awaiting trial, and also quite aware of Finlay’s activities. And something is up with Vero, something not good that has her stressed (the dead bodies in book one and book two clearly weren’t as much of a big deal as whatever it is that has her secretive and scared). Finlay is still barely managing to keep her head above water with all that happening, and she has two hot guys in her life, and a jealous ex-husband baring his teeth, so to speak, at the idea of the other men near her.

The pacing is fast, and the tone light and elicits chuckles. Finlay still has writer’s block, and is evading her agent’s calls and emailsr—thank goodness for Vero (even this troubled version of that ultra-competent, smart and fantastic woman that she is.)

I found it amusing how the harder Finlay tries to evade Feliks’ notice, bumbling around town trying to unearth the assassin’s identity, the more intriguing he finds her, as she inadvertently discovers criminal and other connections in their lives.

I still wish Vero had more prominence in the story, though I was really heartened by Finlay’s realization:

“...I wasn’t falling backward anymore. From now on, there was only falling forward. And if I had to pick a safe name of my own—someone I could count on to stick beside me, no matter how messy my life got—it’d be Vero’s.”

The one sour note in this (and the previous book) for me is Nick. I know this will seem unfathomable to most people as he’s employed, dedicated, good with Finlay's kids, and good-looking. But, every time he enters a scene I found his presence and behaviour grated on my nerves, like nails on a chalkboard. I know he’ll probably end up with Finlay some books down the line, but I just can’t stand him.

That aside, I liked this book of a messy mum and her fantastic nanny and their evolving friendship and partnership.

Thank you to Netgalley and to St Martin's Press for this ARC in exchange for my review.
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Drink: White Russian

In your rocks glass, add 2 oz vodka, 1 oz Kahlua, and a splash of heavy cream.

Give it a little stir and top with a sprinkle of cinnamon!

I had to come up with a good one for this amazing sequel! If you’ve read Finlay Donovan is Killing It then you know the Russian ties… which only get stronger in book 2! I also love the contrast of the light and dark, you never know what lies under the surface  (Plus a White Russian is one of my favorite cold weather/wintery cocktails so it works for the timeline!)

Huge thank you to NetGalley and Minotaur @ MacMillan for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest review!

🌟Review: Elle Cosimano’s Finlay Donovan series is one of my all-time favorites. I mean truly it’s just *chefs kiss* 

I read the ARC of this one as soon as I got it because I could NOT wait!!! Finlay’s story just keeps getting better and better and I don’t want to spoil anything but if you haven’t read book #1, do it ASAP because dare I say… book #2 I somehow liked even more!!! 

The characters are amazing, funny, and lovable. The mystery keeps you on your toes, and you’re hooked all the way through. 10/10 for anyone who loves cozy mystery with some romance trickled in! 

(P.S you can scroll back and find my fun drink I made for book one!)
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What's it about (in a nutshell):
Someone has put a hit out on Findlay's ex-husband and, even though the job is tempting to Finlay, she decides to find out who posted the message instead and save her ex from the assassin who did respond to it.

What I Enjoyed:
The most enjoyable aspect of the Finlay Donovan series is how relatable Finlay is.  Her reactions to the situations that arise are also my reactions for her, so it's almost like the main character and the reader (me) are in this caper together.  She is a mom of two children trying to figure out how to balance the various parts of her life and feels like she is successful at none of it.  Her marriage failed, she never has an idea for the novel her agent and publisher are waiting for, and her trusty minivan is dying a slow yet unmistakable death.  Her life is messy, and the fact that this "every mom" is thought to be an assassin for hire by local gangsters makes it uproariously funny and thrillingly dangerous.

The humor is slapstick with a dark edge to it that makes me feel for a second like I shouldn't be laughing, but I cannot help myself.  Reading this humor is a pure delight and puts me in a good mood.  How can I not love a story and a series that can create such fun?

Finlay Donovan Knocks' Em Dead is extremely fast-paced.  It's one of those few books that I finished in one day, partly because of the pace that keeps those pages turning rapidly.  It's also because I am having so much fun in Findlay's world that I never want to leave.  The story pulls me right in, and I am more than happy to let it keep holding me there as I take it all in.

There were quite a few jaw-dropping twists in this novel, and I loved each and every one.  I didn't look for clues because I enjoyed the story so much that it didn't occur to me to figure out who did it, but even if I was, I can't imagine that I ever would have seen the twists and turns coming.  Especially the central mystery of who put out a hit on Finlay's ex-husband.  The who and why left me in stitches once I picked my jaw up off of the floor.

I even enjoy the trials and tribulations of Finlay's love life.  She has been casually seeing a young lawyer in training and has also caught the eye of a detective that works with her sister.  There is none of the typical angst that comes with deciding between two men because, in her mind, the only person she chooses is herself.  She's not looking for commitment, she is honest with all stakeholders, and she is unapologetically doing what she wants to do.  I find the situation to be rather refreshing, and I like that.

I already talked about Finlay but not the other character of note – Vero.  Vero is the nanny/housekeeper for Finlay's children and their home.  Vero is an accounting student at a local community college and has so much sass and verve that it's hard not to be drawn to her.  She is not your typical caretaker – not at all.  And I love the combination of Finlay and Vero.  They make a great team!

What I Wish:
The only thing that I still have mixed feelings about is where Vero's storyline went in this novel and Finlay's reaction to it.  I think Finlay's response is commendable, but I don't know that it rang true to me as to how the character would feel – at least not at first.  Considering where they have been until now, I could see Finlay having a much different initial reaction.  Though, I could also see her working through it all to get to the point she is in the novel.  So, I guess that is what I wish – that Vero's situations and Finlay's reaction had all felt more believable considering what has happened in the series up to that point.  I hope that more clarity will be brought to it all in the next book, and maybe that will make it all more understandable.

To Read or Not to Read:
YES!  Just YES!  Read it, bask in it, and love it as much as I do!
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Wow! Wow! Wow! I cannot get enough of Finlay and Vero.  They make me laugh throughout the entire book. and they way they are able to get out of these predicaments is hilarious.  I will read every Finlay book that comes out and will recommend to anyone who will hear me out.  Kudos to Elle Cosimano for making this story so relatable even when it has to do with murder.
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Review of Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead by Elle Cosimano


Finlay is back and I couldn’t be more thrilled! These books are so fun and this one didn’t disappoint. I love these characters so much and love the laughing I always do when entering Finlay’s world. Obviously we need another in the series.

Quick synopsis: Finlay discovers an underground website where someone anonymous has put a hit out on her ex husband Steven. Despite how she feels about him she sets out to save him. You can imagine all the hilarious events that ensue. Vero, Officer Nick, and law student Julian are back too! 

We had a great buddy read discussion on this one as part of #theyearofnetgalley challenge! 
Thank you to @netgalley, @ellecosimano, and @minotaurbooks for my advanced copy of this one. It’s out February 1.
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Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead is a light hearted mystery filled with quirky characters and laughable moments. Book 2 in the Finlay Donovan series sees Finlay and Vero thrown in to craziness over and over again as Finlay tries to stop her ex-husband from being killed. Add in a dash of connection to the first book and further unraveling the mess of Theresa, readers will find the familiar comical situations that Finlay just can't seem to avoid. Finlay tries to navigate the chaos while writing her book and sorting out her romantic life. Overall a fun read and worth picking up. I'll definitely recommend the series to our patrons, especially those who enjoy quirky mysteries mixed with a bit of romance. It's definitely a series I will continue to follow as well.
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3.5 stars rounded up.

I absolutely loved the first book in this series, and this was one of my most anticipated reads of the year! And while I did enjoy it for the most part, I was a bit let down. I would diagnose this book with “second book syndrome”.

It just wasn’t as funny or gripping as the first. I found it to be pretty confusing at some parts and the middle really dragged. I wanted more of Vero, I don’t think she really shined as much as she did in the first book. And to be completely honest, I didn’t really care too much about who put the hit out. There were just too many suspects.

I still love Finlay and Vero as a duo, and I’ll definitely read the next book. I’m hoping we get some answers about Vero’s past. I finished this one in a day, so it wasn’t too slowly paced, just seemed to have a lot more detail and characters to keep track of.
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Elle Cosimano is at it again with this quirky, charming, laugh-out sequel about our favorite romantic suspense writer turned accidental hit man, Finlay. The story was a perfect progression of the first and I loved the chemistry between Finlay and Vero as well as her love interests. The pacing was perfect and the mystery kept me just on the edge of my seat with a few twists thrown in. Endearing, messy and ridiculous- a hilarious story! Can't wait for even more adventures from Finlay. 

Thank you so much to St. Martin's Press and Netgalley for this copy.
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I was so excited to continue the story with Finlay and her new BFF Vero. True to the storytelling on the first novel, Finlay Knocks Em Dead has an equally outlandish yet believable plot. Full of twists and turns that kept me guessing what was going to happen next, it's the perfect story for escaping from the mundane day to day routine.
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Thank you so much @MinotaurBooks & @NetGalley for giving me this eARC in exchange for my honest and unbiased review (Release Date | 01 February 2022)

SYNOPSIS | Finlay discovers that someone on a women's forum is badmouthing her ex husband, but if you look close enough it also looks like they've put a hit out against him... which has been accepted. While Finlay may not actively like the guy she doesn't want her kids to lose their father.

- continues to be a humorous hot mess of a story filled with shenanigans & outlandish escapades
- honestly its just a really fun read
- while I don't love it more than the 1st book, I do think it is a wonderful addition to the series

- ends on a cliffhanger
- I'm still not particularly attached or rooting for either of the romantic options
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If you were a fan of Finlay Donovan is Killing It then I feel you will also love Finlay Donovan Knocks "Em Dead. We pick up on the cliffhanger left for us in book 1 and follow Finlay and Vero as they attempt to solve a murder for hire scheme that hits a little too close to Finlay's family. The humor from book 1 continues into book 2 and the friendship between Finlay and Vero is definitely one of a kind. Reading book 1 is a must if you plan to pick this one up as there are key characters from before that show up in this story as well. If I had to note something about this particular story is that there are few situations that seems a little outlandish or unlikely, but this book kept me entertained all the same so no complaint here! The book leaves a little tidbit for more to come, I am already eager for the next adventure of Finlay and Vero!
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I absolutely loved the first Finlay Donovan book and couldn’t wait to read this one!

Finlay and Vero are back and this time around someone wants Finlay’s ex-husband, Steven, dead. They take it upon themselves to find out who.

I enjoyed the first book more, but I still recommend this one. Both Finlay and Vero are entertaining and its fun following them on their adventures. I didn’t find this one as funny as the first book and I also thought some of the parts where slow, but overall I did enjoy it. It sounds like there will be a third book and I’m all for it!

If you’re looking for a fun mystery then this is it!

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press/ Minotaur Books and Netgalley for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.
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Book Review

Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead
Elle Cosimano
reviewed by Lou Jacobs | Goodreads

A new genre arises: the screwball comedy mystery! Mix into the pot a heaping amount of misunderstanding and misadventure, a humungous amount of humor, a tinge of romance, a deepening friendship and murder, and you’ve got an amazing propulsive read.

Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead is the perfect vaccine for Covid. This actually is the second Finlay adventure, but can certainly be enjoyed as a standalone, as Cosimano seamlessly weaves into the narrative the necessary backstory. Finlay Donovan is a struggling B-list writer of romantic mysteries, facing impending deadlines for her next book. She is the mother of adorable four year-old Delia and perpetually sticky two year-old toddler, Zach. Donovan is divorced from her ex-husband, Steven, who carried on a lengthy affair with their curvy, blond realtor.

During her first outing in Finlay Donovan Is Killing It, she was mistaken for a hit-woman during an “accidental” murder. She was aided by the unusual college student, Vero, who now wears many hats: trusting nanny, confidante, accountant—and from this, a blossoming friendship has evolved. In this adventure returning for an encore, are Finlay’s young law student and sometime lover, Julien, as well as her sister’s cop partner, Nick Anthony, who is determined to wheedle his way back into Finlay’s life. ( He was the “hot cop” in her first book, for whom fans are clamoring for more.)

Finlay—while surfing an online message board for disgruntled women—discovers a covert request for a “hit” on her ex-husband, Steven. She recognizes he is still a good father and feels the need to intervene. Her attempts to uncover the plot and its players lead to confrontations with both cops and the Russian Mob. (Reminiscent of encounters with the Keystone Cops.) At the same time, deadlines for her next book are looming, and she doesn’t even have a plot. While walking a dangerous tightrope and her agent pestering her for “a few pages” she spins her ongoing dilemma into the plot of her next book, which is met with ecstatic approval of both agent and publisher.

Elle Cosimano spins a twisted and hilarious tale that is well plotted, suspenseful, and is marvelously outfitted with multiple colorful characters that are both flawed and believable. The burgeoning relationship and “sisterhood” between Finlay and Vero is nothing less than amazing. The dialogue flows in an entertaining fashion, frequently funny and at times, sarcastic, as our two main protagonists entangle themselves in the world of murder and mayhem. Could this be a modern-day “Lucy and Ethel” adventure? This propulsive page turner is a welcome antidote to everyone’s angst. Hopefully this is not the end to the life and misadventures of Finlay Donovan.

Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press and Minotaur Books for providing an Uncorrected Proof in exchange for an honest review.
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