Review: Finlay Donovan is Killing It (Finlay Donovan, #1) by Elle Cosimano

“And to think you were worried about a damn shower curtain. Nothing says ‘serial killer’ like a chest freezer in a garage.”

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★★★★★

Minotaur Books | 2021

Filed Under: Contract killer is yoga pants


This must be the year where I just can’t take anymore terrible shitty shitty shit, that all of my favourite things have become fun, light, optimistic good times. I’m as shocked as you are, I’ll creep it real.

I did not see this shift in my life coming, I just know it’s here so I’m leaning into it. If we want to get all therapy-lite about it, I definitely know it’s a response to these COVID times.

I’ve had it up to my double chin with this planet, so all the things that have lit my feelings on fire in 2021 have been good good stuff, you know?

For the last couple months, there hasn’t been a true-crime doc or horror movie insight. I’ve rewatched Notting Hill and You’ve Got Mail like half a dozen times.

Ted Lasso? I am fucking IN LOVE with him. I wait for Friday nights like a child waiting for Saturday morning cartoons. Not because I’m excited for the weekend, but because I need me some Lasso sweetness and Roy Kent grunts. Simple as that.

And when it comes to books? Finlay Donovan is Killing It might just be my favourite read of 2021 (so far – it’s only September, so who knows what the end of the year will bring.) Trust me when I tell you, I was not fucking expecting that when I borrow this from the library, but here we are.

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Review: Death in the Family (Shana Merchant, #1) by Tessa Wegert

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★★★★

Berkley | 2020

Filed Under: “Everything all right?” / “Yep, two corpses, everything’s fine.”


If you are looking for a modern Agatha Christie/Clue style locked-room mystery, may I suggest this fucking book to you?

Because I’m gonna.

This novel is such a throwback and I ended up liking it a lot… once I got past my assumptions of what the novel was going to be.

Apparently, it’s very easy for me to get used to the vibe of those fast-paced thrillers that are constantly trying to outdo the previous new release with twists and shocks. Read enough of them and I guess I can forget about the beauty in a subtle, classic mystery. Death in the Family was a needed reminder for me.

When I first started this, the tone and pace weren’t working for me. But that’s because I’m a stupid bitch. And almost immediately I realized I was looking for that other kind of thriller in the writing, which is actually really shit of me. Obviously, I need to switch up my current genre choices because it’s clouding how open I am when I start a new book.

I mean, not to get too fucking deep about it, but yeah…

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Review: One Got Away (Nikki Griffin, #2) by S.A. Lelchuk

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★★★½

Flatiron Books | 2021

Filed Under: Charlie’s not a very social person


I’m not really sure if I love this series, because there are aspects to it that are not my thing. But they might be yours! That is the joy of a review that involves negative points. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, as the saying goes. So while I might be like meh, this could be exactly what you’re looking for.

With that in mind – the first novel in the Nikki Griffin series started well for me, but ended up becoming a bit ridiculous near the end. My suspension of disbelief was hanging on by a thread. With this second installment, I’ve figured out that’s just the way this series is going to be – kind of ridiculous and hard to believe. Are you into that? Then you’ll like this.

One Got Away has a Charlie’s Angels kind of vibe to it. Not so much the original show, but the Drew Barrymore version where there’s a lot of action, but it’s also silly.

I’m not sure if this series is totally pulling off that very specific kind of action style, but I also didn’t hate reading it so there’s that.

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Mini-Review Dump💩: Bad Blood, Eight Perfect Murders and The 19th Christmas

Funny story (not really) – I was going through my Goodreads READ shelf and found a handful of books I never reviewed in 2020 because of course. Really, I barely kept it together in 2020 at all. It’s really a miracle I got out as many posts as I did.

So, um, yeahhhhh… enjoy (?) these reviews of books I read a year ago because this is not going to be my finest work.

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Reviews in this post:

  • Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou
  • Eight Perfect Murders (Malcolm Kershaw, #1) by Peter Swanson
  • The 19th Christmas (Women’s Murder Club, #19) by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
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Review: When the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLain

“What is all the suffering for if not so we can see how alike we are, and not alone? Where will the mercy come from, if not from us?”

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★★★★

Ballantine Books | 2021

Filed Under: Hello darkness, my old friend


Well, I tell you what, if you’re in an emotional funk or mentally teetering on the edge of another bout of panny depression, do not read this book for the love of Thor and Loki’s butts in those toit-like-a-tiger outfits. Because this novel is sad, bitch.

I needed a nap and some serotonin by the time I was finished with it.

Detective Anna Hart is going through a hard time. She’s lost a child, lost herself and is about to lose her marriage. Hart decides the only way she might be able to find some perspective and some healing is if she leaves her current situation behind. She needs space to get herself together if there is any chance of moving past her grief and keeping her family.

She leaves San Fran for the small, country town of Mendocino, California where she grew up. Her dark present is about to compete with the tortured ghosts of her past in Mendocino. I mean, honestly, someone take this woman to an amusement park for the day. Just give her a reprieve from trauma. Everywhere you look with her it’s like dead parents, abandonment issues, dead foster parents, dead child, broken marriage, dead high school friends…

I’m not sure I’ve ever read a novel where one character was getting all of the dark shit, all of the time.

Drunk Season 1 GIF by The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
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Review: The Jigsaw Man (Inspector Anjelica Henley, #1) by Nadine Matheson

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★★★★½

Hanover Square Press | 2021

Filed Under: Hello, Clarice…


I haven’t read a police procedural this pure and detailed since Meg Gardiner’s last release. And y’all know how much I love Meg Gardiner. And if you didn’t, now you do because I just said it again.

If you are a fan of serial killers… wait, I don’t mean like a fan fan. That’s just weird. Get better idols, as Bailey Sarian would say. No, I mean if you are a fan of serial killer fiction – of the mystery and the pursuit and the suspense and the twisted games – then you want to read this novel.

It is a fucking fabulous police procedural. And I don’t say shit like that very often.

You want gritty? You got it. You want fucked up? It’s coming in hot. You need detailed and immersive? Buckle your seatbelt and keep your hands in the ride at all times.

But listen to what I’m saying, this is a procedural. If you do not like being in the narrative passenger seat of a police investigation, this probably isn’t going to be for you. And that’s totally legit. Why? Because all of this shit is subjective, Donna! It’s okay that we don’t all like the same things! That’s life.

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Let’s get that through our collective skulls, shall we? But I digress…

This is not a thriller. This is an investigation. And in my opinion, novels that pull off a really good procedural plot with this much perfection are few and far between. And it’s a debut novel? Fucking insanity.

Continue reading “Review: The Jigsaw Man (Inspector Anjelica Henley, #1) by Nadine Matheson”

Review: Blood Parish by E.J. Findorff

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★★★

Neutral Ground Publishing | 2021

Filed Under: Benny might think I’m a rat.


To be fair, I’m not really into mob shit. I’m not sure why – that’s a lie. I am sure why, but I would never dare to go off on the mob online where my identity is easily determined lest I end up in cement shoes, swimming with the fishes or whatever it is the mob does to you. Shoot you in the head and stuff you in a trunk and leave the car down by the docks? What docks? Any docks really.

But, for sure, organized crime stories are just not my thing.

Did you ever see that episode of Family Guy where everyone finds out Peter doesn’t like The Godfather and they are all flabbergasted? Their house is flooding but they can only talk about Peter not liking The Godfather.

Peter says, “It insists upon itself.”

And that’s basically it. I am Peter in this. Like, Oh, tough guys doing tough guy shit outside the law, killing people and controlling all the unions and all dressing the same. Where’s my gold chain?

But also please don’t kill me, mob people reading this.

That said, this novel is fine. So, let’s keep some perspective here between you knowing I’m a terrible person and that it takes a lot for me to give four and five stars. It is what it is. Meatballs.

Angel Blondeaux is an FBI agent who just so happens to come from a mob family. They’ve disowned her, because duh. You can’t have an FBI agent in a mob family. The Blondeaux et al clan run a Louisiana parish. They own the cops, the lawyers, fucking everyone is on the payroll, so good luck doing anything legit or fair or legal. But also, is that so bad? Are we really doing law and order well? LOL NO. Unless you’re Dick Wolf, then yes. But we don’t have time to get into all that…

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DNF Mini-Review Dump💩: That Birds that Stay and The Year of the Witching

Just like my mini-reviews for books that I can’t find the will to write full reviews for, I’m going to lump together my DNF reviews, as well. Because, seriously, why would I devote a whole blog post to a book a couldn’t even devote full reading time to?

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Today’s DNF reviews:

  • The Birds that Stay (Russell and Leduc, #1) by Ann Lambert
  • The Year of the Witching (Bethel, #1) by Alexis Henderson

Buckle up for snark, bitches.

Continue reading “DNF Mini-Review Dump💩: That Birds that Stay and The Year of the Witching”

Mini-Review Dump💩: The Girl on Mill Street, The 20th Victim, The Only Good Indians and Killing for Sport – Inside the Minds of Serial Killers

As I continue on my quest to finally catch up on all my backlog reviews, here is another block of them for books that were just blah or meh or ugh. You’re welcome.

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Reviews in this post:

  • The Girl on Mill Street by Peter Gilboy
  • The 20th Victim (Women’s Murder Club, #20) by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
  • The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones
  • Killing For Sport: Inside the Minds of Serial Killers by Pat Brown
Continue reading “Mini-Review Dump💩: The Girl on Mill Street, The 20th Victim, The Only Good Indians and Killing for Sport – Inside the Minds of Serial Killers”

Mini-Review Dump💩: A Good Marriage, When No One is Watching, Rewind and Come Closer

I’ve been agonizing over this for a while. And maybe I shouldn’t have been, because in the grand scheme of this thing called a simulation life, it doesn’t fucking matter at all. I know that. I get it. I’m hip.

But, we’re in a pandemic and I’ve been essentially stuck inside my house since March 2020, so I need to keep myself busy somehow. Stressing out over shallow shit is the point I’ve officially reach to occupy my mind. And also, maybe I can’t help it because my mental health is in crisis and I snap at literally anything. Woo!

It’s been difficult for me in this disheartening, upside down multiverse timeline we find ourselves in, to work up the motivation and energy to write and post my backlog reviews. When I think about doing it, I just get so…

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It occurred to me this might be because half of the backlog waiting for me is for books that didn’t really fire me up either way. One thing about me as a hobby-reviewer is that I need all the love or all the hate to enjoy writing a review. All these meh reviews are a damn slog to write.

But I still have to do them. This is a book blog. That’s kind of a large percentage of the point of this. But it’s also supposed to be a fun hobby, not work I dread. I have a job I’m late for every day already and I don’t need another. I’m making exactly zero dollars here, so this has to be a good time or I might as well delete the whole thing. And I’m not prepared to delete this site.

My solution – which came to me during my regular “stand in the shower and be depressed” morning ritual – is to just group together some books into one post of little baby reviews. It will be for meh reviews, short stories, novellas… anything that I don’t want to, or can’t, dedicate a whole post to.

Hopefully, I can make this post idea work and it doesn’t suck dick.

I’m still not sure about how to organize it or how to title it so you know what you’re getting, but I’ll work it out. Or I won’t. Who knows? Again, nobody is paying me so you get what you get.

So, I’ll stop rambling like a food blogger now and just get to the point.

Continue reading “Mini-Review Dump💩: A Good Marriage, When No One is Watching, Rewind and Come Closer”