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Finlay Donovan by Elle Cosimano (SPOILER FREE Books 1-4 Review)

Updated: Apr 22

GENRE: Adult Thriller
LENGTH: 1,310 pages (over 4 books)

BOOKS IN SERIES: Finlay Donovan is Killing It, Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead, Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun, Finlay Donovan Rolls the Dice

Finlay Donovan and her children's nanny Vero find themselves in over their heads when Finlay is mistaken for a contract killer. Events spiral from there as the duo do their best not to get caught.

Finlay could be considered a morally grey character but she is also written to be sympathetic. If you take away all of the hijinx she finds herself mixed up in, she's a very down to earth, relatable character who gets overwhelmed with the everyday tasks of balancing being a single parent and her career as a writer (alongside juggling a couple of love interests). Her being just a regular person is part of what makes these novels so entertaining.
Vero is a character that I took a while to warm up to. During my first read through of the books I wasn't her biggest fan because I found her to be too reckless. She also kept secrets from Finlay even though they were supposedly a team. On subsequent read through, however, I paid more attention to her. While I still think she's irresponsible and too bold at times, I can't deny she has redeemable traits. She defends Finlay and especially in book four shows her softer, more vulnerable side. She and Finlay have very different personalities; Vero is more of a risk taker; but they have in common that both found themselves in situations over their heads.
There are two current love interests for Finlay: police officer Nick and law student Julian. as well as one past one: her ex-husband Steven.I am generally not a fan of love triangles but both Julian and Nick have great qualities to them and I liked both. The triangle mostly wraps up at the conclusion of the second book. As for Steven, he's a cheater and talks down to Finlay which makes him an instantly unlikable character. Yet I will give credit to him in that he improves as the series continues.
The series' main antagonist is Russian mob boss Felix Zhirov. He has an intimidating air to him and exudes sinister power. That being said, I honestly found his pompous lawyer Kat Rybakov to be even scarier.

The novels are told from the first person perspective of Finlay. Unlike most cozy mystery series, you can't really read these books out of order. The series' plots build upon each other with each book so you'd be lost if you didn't pick up the books in their publication order.
This series is not one meant to be taken seriously. They're over the top books that become increasingly preposterous as the series continues. That's the fun of them, though. They're fast, easy reads that are perfect if you're in a reading slump. I've lost count the amount of times I've gasped and laughed out loud while reading these books. They are sheer entertainment.
The main plot lines seem to wrap up with the conclusion of the fourth novel. The series is set to be 7 books long and the final couple pages of the fourth book introduce what I presume will be the main conflict for the fifth book.

FINAL THOUGHTS If you like dark, serious thrillers then you shouldn't read this series. If you like cozy mysteries or are looking for something you can get through quickly to meet those reading goals while also enjoying yourself, then I absolutely recommend it! I plan to reread this series every year!
FINAL RATING: 4.18⭐️ (4 book avg.)
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