Thursday Thriller Audio: Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead by Elle Cosimano

I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.

Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead by Elle Cosimano

Mogsy’s Rating (Overall): 4 of 5 stars

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Series: Book 2 of Finlay Donovan

Publisher: Macmillan Audio (February 1, 2022)

Length: 9 hrs and 20 mins

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Narrator: Angela Dawe

Last year Elle Cosimano gave me my most entertaining read of 2011 with Finlay Donovan Is Killing It, and I simply could not wait to dive into the sequel! This time, our eponymous heroine is once more up to her shenanigans, all the while trying to finish her next novel and raise her two young kids by herself. After everything that’s happened, she’d thought her troubles with her scummy ex-husband Steven were behind her, but as it turns out, things are far from over.

On an online message board, an anonymous user has insinuated that they would be willing to pay a hundred thousand dollars to anyone who would permanently dispose of Steven, and another user, again using suggestive language, appears to have accepted the contract. A liar and a cheat he may be, but Steven is still the father of her children, who adore him. Plus, as badly as their marriage ended, Finlay doesn’t want to see him dead. Still, if she went public with information about the forum, that might lead to some difficult questions about how she got involved in the world of contract killers and the mob in the first place, so going to the police was out. That just leaves the option of taking care of it by herself, with help from her friend/nanny/partner-in-crime Vero, who also has her own secrets.

From there, the situation only gets wilder and more incredible, rapidly spiraling out of control for our two leading women, which meant and uproarious time for me. I love how this series doesn’t take itself too seriously and isn’t afraid to be a little cheesy or go over the top with its scenarios, a nice change of pace from the kind of mysteries and thrillers I usually go for. This definitely isn’t my usual kind of read, but fitting one in every once in a while can be quite refreshing.

That said, I didn’t laugh quite as much with Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead, though to be fair, I did expect the novelty and humor of the first book to be a hard act to follow. Regardless, I still had a blast reading this. Finlay and Vero are a hot mess, which is precisely why I love reading about them. Despite the chaos and confusion of her life, Finlay is actually the responsible one of the pair, while with Vero the only thing you can count on is to expect her to do with unexpected.

In the middle of all this is also a thread of romantic drama, as Finlay juggles a relationship with hot law student/bartender Julian while sexual tension remains high with Nick, the detective she worked closely with in the first book. One of the best quirks about this series is its meta-ness, in a sense, about the way much of the story also makes its way into Finlay’s novel that she is working on, in this weird art imitates life dynamic. There’s an amusing scene, for example, when Finlay’s agent harps on her about writing the hot cop out of her book, insisting she rewrite the manuscript to write him back in, etc. You just can’t but chuckle at the absurdity of the situation.

All in all, Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead is a gem of a sequel, one you will certainly appreciate if you also enjoyed the first book. The style of humor and some of the farcical elements are the same, but that’s not the end of it. The story is essentially a continuation of what came before, extending the plot threads along with a lot of returning characters. Unfortunately, this means it cannot be read as a standalone, or at least I wouldn’t recommend it—but then, why would you want to deprive yourself the pleasure of starting from the beginning anyway?

Obviously, I highly recommend this series, especially if you love mysteries but are looking for some fluffier fare, perhaps with a story that’s light-hearted with drama that’s a bit more on the fun side. I also switched to the audio format with this sequel, and I have nothing but positive things to say about the experience. Angela Dawe is a fantastic narrator and gives this series the wittiness and charm it deserves.

More on The BiblioSanctum:
Review of Finlay Donovan Is killing It (Book 1)

15 Comments on “Thursday Thriller Audio: Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead by Elle Cosimano”

  1. 1 girl 2 guys? Yeah, count me out for this author for sure then.

    Glad you enjoyed this sequel though. Sometimes a magic formula only works for one book so it’s nice to hear that’s not the case here. I hope the series continues to be enjoyable for you as it comes out.


  2. Well now i’ll know to lower my expectation about humor here 😉 It will probably be my next audiobook.


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  6. Nice. I like the idea of these lighter reads that might sometimes be cheesy, but are that way intentionally and have enough story that it all works. I also like the meta-ness to it. I’ve often enjoyed that, with books being written in the story and connections between the books and the story. And it’s always good to see a sequel that delivers.


    • This was definitely cheesy! Books like this would normally annoy me, but yes, it worked because of all the interesting elements, which made it a different kind of read that I could not only tolerate but enjoy, lol.


  7. Pingback: Thursday Thriller Audio: Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun by Elle Cosimano | The BiblioSanctum

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