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Finlay Donovan Is Killing It (Finlay Donovan #1), by Elle Cosimano

Finlay Donovan Is Killing It by Elle Cosimano

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Well, “Finlay Donovan Is Killing It” by Elle Cosimano has certainly and clearly managed to kill any link to reality early on…

Finlay Donovan, desparate housewife, mother of two, divorced from her serial-cheating husband and in a custody battle with him over their kids, who has probably swatted a fly or two at worst, accidentally murders a person, tries to hide that together with her children’s nanny and goes on to stumble from one mess into the next.

Ok, I knew I would likely have to suspend my disbelief a little more forcefully with this one than with other books but the premise didn’t prepare me for the utter nonsense that this book consists of. Not only is Finlay an uncoordinated mess, massively behind at writing her book, drowning in bills and debt, no, she doesn’t really get anything done but hopes things will magically resolve themselves somehow.

And, in fact, in this book they actually simply do: Her nanny keeps pushing her in the right direction, the cops are stupid, the witnesses are blind and ruthless, hardened mobsters make rookie mistakes…

Finlay herself is unbelievably and annoyingly naïve. Right when she realises she’s in deep and the mafia is involved she has a brilliant idea…

»Then I would do the most adult thing of all. I would throw the backpack full of cash at her and run before she had a chance to stop me. Possession was nine-tenths of the law. I wasn’t sure whose law, or if the mafia even cared about the law. But math was math, no matter who was holding the calculator.«

All of this could maybe have been funny or at least interesting but, basically, the story is moving slowly and sedately. At no point is there any real danger or even a feeling of real urgency. It’s just meandering along without any real highlights nor any great lowlights.

I was never completely bored but the “just one more chapter” (or even sentence!) drive was completely missing for me. Never did I feel engaged, worried for Finlay (whom I remained indifferent towards) or even Vero (the nanny, whom I actually liked better than Finlay). At every single stage of this “mystery” I knew that nothing truly bad would ever happen.

Also, mystery? There simply is nothing mysterious here! (Apart, maybe, from the daftness of every single character!) The “twists” were mostly predictable and so strongly foreshadowed I found myself completely unsurprised.

Pretty much the only redeeming quality of this book is that its story as a whole is just barely interesting enough to want to know how it ends – and even that is messed up because the publisher for reasons unknown obviously contracted the author for two books…

Three out of five stars.


Ceterum censeo Putin esse delendam




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