Finlay Donovan Is Killing It: A Mystery by Elle Cosimano – #Audiobook Review – Humorous Fiction

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five Stars 5 stars

Finlay Donovan Is Killing It by Elle Cosimano

Book Blurb:

“Getting the job done” for one single mom takes on a whole new meaning in Finlay Donovan is Killing It, a deliciously witty adult debut – the first in a brilliant new series from YA Edgar Award nominee Elle Cosimano.

FINLAY DONOVAN IS KILLING IT…except, she’s really not. The new book she promised her literary agent isn’t written, her ex-husband fired the nanny without telling her, and this morning she had to send her four-year-old to school with hair duct-taped to her head.


When Finlay’s overheard discussing the plot of her new novel with her agent over lunch, she’s mistaken for a contract killer and inadvertently accepts an offer to dispose of a problem husband in order to make ends meet…and she soon discovers that crime in real life is a lot more difficult than its fictional counterpart.  

My Review:

Is a mystery, contract killer supposed to be funny? Yes! This one’s a hoot! I totally devoured this audiobook, leaving the buds in while cleaning house (found more things to clean) and cooking dinner. One catastrophe after another, stupid decisions, and circumstances that force a situation you’d never find yourself in. Well, I wouldn’t.

But this is a crime-romance(?) writer having a major case of writer’s block, a divorced wife of a husband who found sweeter pastures with another woman, two children including a precocious four year old, an agent who won’t leave her alone, and bills piling up like snowflakes in winter.

And WHERE is that babysitter-housekeeper?!!

Finlay Donovan Is Killing It by Elle CosimanoWhen Finlay meets her agent at Panera’s (where she’s previously been banned) she is overheard discussing the mystery plot with her agent and is badly misunderstood by another desperate wife. Who leaves her a contract note with an attractive $$figure.

A normally intelligent albeit very desperate person, she won’t do it. But then, curious, she decides to check out the target. Just checking.

Well, you know how one innocent thing leads to another? And then that escalates beyond control, and trying to get out of the situation only makes it worse?

Enter Vero. Yah gotta love her.

In Finlay’s defense, it’s not like she is a professional. No clue what she is doing or who she is dealing with. She’s not stupid. Well, maybe she is and there is no way out. And you know how “word of mouth” works. It could happen.

I really liked Nick and Julian—great, possible romantic interests—and Vero is a keeper. Some of the scenes with the kids brought back memories as well as the noisy level of chaos. Her sister is another great support character. Loved the backfires of the plans, the twists, the dialogue and the way the narrator delivered the well-paced plot.

The only thing I didn’t love? Well, the conclusion was very satisfying—but that little bit in the epilogue? Ah, no. Overall, a rollicking good time, just roll with it. It’s not meant to be a “how to.” Heartily recommended—most especially in audiobook format.

Book Details:

Genre: Humorous Fiction, Women Sleuth Mysteries
Publisher:  Macmillan Audio

  • ISBN-13: 1250241707
  • ASIN: B088KRYQXZ

Print Length: 363 pages
Listening Length: 9 hrs 59 mins
Narrator: Angela Dawe
Publication Date: February 2, 2021
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Finlay Donovan Is Killing It

Add to GoodreadsElle Cosimano - authorThe Author: Elle’s debut thriller NEARLY GONE was a 2015 Edgar Award Finalist, winner of the ITW 2015 International Thriller Award for Best Young Adult Novel, and was awarded the 2015 Mathical Book Award recognizing mathematics in children’s literature. Her novel HOLDING SMOKE was a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award and the International Thriller Award. Her novels have appeared on several statewide school and library reading lists. You can learn more about Elle at her website: http://www.ElleCosimano.com.

Photo courtesy of Powell Woulfe Photography

The Narrator: Angela Dawe is an actor and improviser working with the Annoyance Theater and Second City in Chicago. Originally from Lansing, Michigan, Angela’s career has encompassed stage, television, and film work, in addition to award-winning audiobook narrations, which include young adult, suspense, romance, and historical fiction titles.

©V Williams me

Deep South (Anna Pigeon #8) by Nevada Barr – An #Audiobook Review – Cultural Heritage Fiction -#ThrowbackThursday

“You stick your finger in the water and you pull it out, and that is how much of a hole you leave when you’re gone.” (Finger in the water test–Multiple sources)

Deep South by Nevada Barr

Book Blurb:

Nevada Barr‘s ever-popular Anna Pigeon series is consistently praised as “exceptional” (Denver Post), “stunning” (Seattle Times), and “superb” (New York Times Book Review). In Deep South, Park Ranger Anna Pigeon heads to Mississippi, only to encounter terrible secrets in the heart of the south…

Anna Pigeon finally gives in to her bureaucratic clock-and signs on for a promotion. Next thing she knows, she’s knee-deep in mud and Mississippi. Not exactly what she had in mind. Almost immediately, as the new district ranger on the Natchez Trace, Anna discovers the body of a young prom queen near a country cemetery, a sheet around her head, a noose around her neck. It’s a bizarre twist on a best-forgotten past of frightening racial undertones. As fast as the ever-encroaching kudzu vines of the region, the roots of this story run deep-and threaten to suffocate anyone in the way, including Anna…

My Review:

My second book by Nevada Barr in her Anna Pigeon, US National Park Service series and I enjoyed this one possibly even more than my first, Hunting Season. While we are working through the trope of the lone female in a normally male bastion, the park service, I greatly appreciate the strong, independent woman portrayed as Anna Pigeon.

Deep South by Nevada BarrWilling to tackle just about anything (while admitting in some circumstances fear), she still plows through as if being a female doesn’t matter. In this case, a white woman and a Yankee in a new promotion as District Ranger on the Natchez Trace of Mississippi. Oh, and new to the south as well, she has several strikes against her before she even begins.

It’s apparent immediately she isn’t wanted, welcome, or tolerated. Still, before she can really settle into the new position or thoroughly meet her subordinates, she encounters the murder of a sixteen year old girl. The girl’s body is left with racial implications.

Dealing with the investigation, the road blocks thrown up by her deputies, and confronting an attraction for one of the men, she manages each confrontation with calm and intelligence and is making headway in the mystery.

I love the information regarding the historic area of Mississippi, the Natchez Trace being an ambitious trail from Natchez to Nashville, some 444 miles and three states. Underlying the Trace information is the Civil War stories that permeate the area in general and the Trace in particular.

Anna is well developed, we can see who she is without having read the seven prior to this entry, and in this episode, strong interpersonal relationships are borne of the circumstances that create engaging support characters.

These narratives set an early hook, reel you in, and don’t let go. It is a well-plotted and fast paced storyline that keeps you reading (in this instance—listening) and hard to pause.

Hard push into the explosive conclusion and the calming collective following. An oldie but a goodie that rallies interest in the remaining books of the series—nineteen in all. A good mystery with culture cues. The narrator does an excellent, even superb job of narrative—forcing the pace, either faster or that ease into another discovery, or possible perp. Who was it killed that girl? I won’t tell.

Book Details:

Genre: Cultural Heritage Fiction, World Literature, Women Sleuth Mysteries 
Publisher:  Recorded Books
ASIN: B0002QUWQY
Listening Length: 12 hrs 8 mins
Narrator:  Barbara Rosenblat
Publication Date: July 22, 2004
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Deep South [Amazon]

Add to Goodreads

Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five of Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Nevada Barr - authorThe Author: Nevada [Barr] was born in the small western town of Yerington, Nevada and raised on a mountain airport in the Sierras. Both her parents were pilots and mechanics and her sister, Molly, continued the tradition by becoming a pilot for USAir.
Pushed out of the nest, Nevada fell into the theatre, receiving her BA in speech and drama and her MFA in Acting before making the pilgrimage to New York City, then Minneapolis, MN. For eighteen years she worked on stage, in commercials, industrial training films and did voice-overs for radio. During this time she became interested in the environmental movement and began working in the National Parks during the summers — Isle Royale in Michigan, Guadalupe Mountains in Texas, Mesa Verde in Colorado, and then on the Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi.
Woven throughout these seemingly disparate careers was the written word. Nevada wrote and presented campfire stories, taught storytelling and was a travel writer and restaurant critic. Her first novel, Bitterweet was published in 1983. The Anna Pigeon series, featuring a female park ranger as the protagonist, started when she married her love of writing with her love of the wilderness, the summer she worked in west Texas. The first book, Track of the Cat, was brought to light in 1993 and won both the Agatha and Anthony awards for best first mystery. The series was well received and A Superior Death, loosely based on Nevada’s experiences as a boat patrol ranger on Isle Royale in Lake Superior, was published in 1994. In 1995 Ill Wind came out. It was set in Mesa Verde, Colorado where Nevada worked as a law enforcement ranger for two seasons.
The rest is, shall we say, HISTORY! Nevada’s books and accomplishments have become numerous and the presses continue to roll, so in the interest of NOT having to update this page, books, awards, status on the New York Times Best Seller List — and more — will be enumerated with the relevant books else where on this website.

Barbara Rosenblat - narratorThe Narrator:  [Barbara Rosenblat] has recorded over 600 audiobooks in a distinguished career that has garnered 8 Audie Awards, 50 plus Earphone Awards from Audiofile Magazine for exceptional recordings and numerous  accolades over the years. She has been inducted into the Audible Narrator Hall of Fame. One critic wrote, ‘Barbara is to audiobooks what Meryl Streep is to film’. Her book, ‘Audiobook Narrator- The Art of Recording Audiobooks’ provides personal guidance for those pursuing this avenue of art and is a direct result of answering many questions at personal appearances and at her masterclasses about the craft.

Barbara has also done a lot of animation, anime, and video games as well as documentaries and commercials. (Bio and pic from Hasty Book List.)

©2021 V Williams