This is another one of those books I knew only after reading the synopsis was going to be A Book For Me. I’ve gotten better and better as I’ve gotten older at picking books I know I will like*. There is a reason most of my reviews are four stars, and it’s not because I go easy on the books, it’s because I know what I will like. Occasionally a stinker slips in and if I give in to curiosity (which happens quite frequently) or read something because someone else thinks I should, average and meh books also slip in, but for the most part, I know. I knew with this one and it did not disappoint me!
*I was an indiscriminate reader as a young person. If it had words I would read it, the whole thing, and it didn’t seem to matter if the book was good. I read a lot of bad books, a lot of weird shit. I have Learned Lessons in my life.
Finlay Donovan’s life is a mess. It was honestly quite stressful to read about! Her shitty ex-husband cheated on her with their realtor, leaving her sole custody of their two young children (a five year old daughter and two year old son) on a non-existent budget. And then he fired the nanny, and is threatening to file for custody as well. Finlay is an author of books most people haven’t read, and she has used up her last book advance, and is living on credit. She hasn’t paid a bill in months. The problem is that she has terrible writer’s block, and is about to be in breach of her contract with her publisher. So this is the set up when she meets with her agent in a Panera (in disguise, because she’s been banned from that Panera for dumping soup on her ex-husband’s new fiancé’s head), where their discussion of book murder plots leads to a woman at a nearby table thinking Finlay is a hit woman. She offers her $50k to kill her husband, discretely and professionally. Finlay . . . doesn’t know what to do.
Won’t say any more than that about the plot, but this whole book is shenanigans. It walks the line beautifully between caper comedy and realistic fiction. Finlay’s emotions and struggles still feel real even when ridiculous things are happening around (and to) her. There’s also really good secondary characters, including two potential love interests (there is no romance in this, though, which was nice; I like it when books recognize that romance isn’t always necessary in every plot), and Vero, the aforementioned fired nanny, who will probably be most people’s favorite character by the end. There was also a very meta level to this book, as the author clearly was writing from experience, and this is her breakout hit, even as she’s writing about an author about to have her breakout hit.
I wish I would have bought it instead of going to the library. Very excited for book two.
CBR BINGO: Pandemic (this felt like the right kind of Treat Yo’ Self book for this category)