“I’ve never laughed so much reading books about murder. Elle Cosimano’s accidental hitwoman Finlay Donovan is a darkly hilarious, quick witted, and surprisingly relatable woman. You’ll be amazed at how much fun you have reading this brilliant, funny mystery series from one of the best writers working today.” ― Jennifer Hillier, Award-winning and USA Today bestselling author

Elle Cosimano is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, an International Thriller Award winner, a Bram Stoker Award finalist, and an Edgar® Award nominee. Her acclaimed young adult novels include Nearly Gone, Holding Smoke, The Suffering Tree, and Seasons of the Storm. Elle’s debut novel for adults, Finlay Donovan Is Killing It, kicked off a witty, fast-paced contemporary mystery series, which was a PEOPLE Magazine Pick and was named one of New York Public Library’s Best Books of 2021. In addition to writing novels for teens and adults, her essays have appeared in The Huffington Post and Time. Elle lives with her husband and two sons in Virginia.

Elle's Featured Titles

Finlay Donovan Rolls the Dice: A Novel (The Finlay Donovan Series, 4)

Minotaur Books |
Humorous Fiction

Finlay Donovan and her nanny/partner-in-crime Vero are in sore need of a girls’ weekend away. They plan a trip to Atlantic City, but odds are―seeing as it’s actually a cover story to negotiate a deal with a dangerous loan shark, save Vero’s childhood crush Javi, and hunt down a stolen car―it won’t be all fun and games. When Finlay’s ex-husband Steven and her mother insist on tagging along too, Finlay and Vero suddenly have a few too many meddlesome passengers along for the ride.

Within hours of arriving in their seedy casino hotel, it becomes clear their rescue mission is going to be a bust. Javi’s kidnapper, Marco, refuses to negotiate, demanding payment in full in exchange for Javi’s life. But that’s not all―he insists on knowing the whereabouts of his missing nephew, Ike, who mysteriously disappeared. Unable to confess what really happened to Ike, Finlay and Vero are forced to come up with a new plan: sleuth out the location of Javi and the Aston Martin, then steal them both back.

But when they sneak into the loan shark’s suite to search for clues, they find more than they bargained for―Marco’s already dead. They don’t have a clue who murdered him, only that they themselves have a very convincing motive. Then four members of the police department unexpectedly show up in town, also looking for Ike―and after Finlay’s night with hot cop Nick at the police academy, he’s a little too eager to keep her close to his side.

If Finlay can juggle a jealous ex-husband, two precocious kids, her mother’s marital issues, a decomposing loan shark, and find Vero’s missing boyfriend, she might get out of Atlantic City in one piece. But will she fold under the pressure and come clean about the things she’s done, or be forced to double down?

Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun: A Novel (The Finlay Donovan Series, 3)

Minotaur |
Humorous Fiction

Dating. Diapers. And dodging bullets. Who said single moms can’t have fun?

Finlay Donovan has been in messes before―after all, she’s an author and single mom who’s a pro at getting out bloodstains for rather unexpected reasons―but none quite like this. After she and her nanny/partner-in-crime Vero accidentally destroyed a luxury car that they may have “borrowed” in the process of saving the life of Finlay’s ex-husband, the Russian mob got her out of debt. But now Finlay owes them

Still running the show from behind bars, mob boss Feliks has a task for Finlay: find a contract killer before the cops do. Problem is, the killer might be an officer.

Luckily, hot cop Nick has started up a citizen’s police academy, and combined pressure from Finlay’s looming book deadline and Feliks is enough to convince Finlay and Vero to get involved. Through firearm training and forensic classes (and some hands-on research with the tempting detective), Finlay and Vero have the perfect cover-up to sleuth out the real criminal and free themselves from the mob’s clutches―all the while dodging spies, confronting Vero’s past, and juggling the daily trials of parenthood.

Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead (The Finlay Donovan Series, 2)

Minotaur |
Humorous Fiction

Finlay Donovan is―once again―struggling to finish her next novel and keep her head above water as a single mother of two. On the bright side, she has her live-in nanny and confidant Vero to rely on, and the only dead body she’s dealt with lately is that of her daughter’s pet goldfish.

On the not-so-bright side, someone out there wants her ex-husband, Steven, out of the picture. Permanently. Whatever else Steven may be, he’s a good father, but saving him will send her down a rabbit hole of hit-women disguised as soccer moms, and a little bit more involvement with the Russian mob than she’d like.

Meanwhile, Vero’s keeping secrets, and Detective Nick Anthony seems determined to get back into her life. He may be a hot cop, but Finlay’s first priority is preventing her family from sleeping with the fishes… and if that means bending a few laws then so be it.

With her next book’s deadline looming and an ex-husband to keep alive, Finlay is quickly coming to the end of her rope. She can only hope there isn’t a noose at the end of it…

Seasons of Chaos (Seasons of the Storm, 2)

HarperTeen |
YA Fantasy

As immortal Seasons, Jack and Fleur wielded powerful magic in their roles as a Winter and a Spring. Yet there wasn’t magic strong enough to keep them apart, and they risked everything for their love, for the freedom to live their lives as they choose—together.

That choice came at a cost, and Jack had to sacrifice his Winter magic—and his immortality. Although he’d do anything for Fleur, he can’t deny the emptiness he’s felt since.

And the world they thought they left behind is still dealing with the fallout of the battle. With Professor Lyon as the new Chronos, Seasons are free to do as they please. But not everyone is happy with the change in leadership. When an old enemy seeks revenge, immense magic runs wild and unchecked, creating chaos everywhere.

Thrust into the middle of a new war, Jack and Fleur are again forced to choose between their freedom and saving the world from the storm.

Finlay Donovan Is Killing It: A Novel

Minotaur |
Humorous Fiction

Finlay Donovan is killing it . . . except, she’s really not. She’s a stressed-out single-mom of two and struggling novelist, Finlay’s life is in chaos: 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 after an incident with scissors.

When Finlay is overheard discussing the plot of her new suspense 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 . . . Soon, Finlay discovers that crime in real life is a lot more difficult than its fictional counterpart, as she becomes tangled in a real-life murder investigation.

Fast-paced, deliciously witty, and wholeheartedly authentic in depicting the frustrations and triumphs of motherhood in all its messiness, hilarity, and heartfelt moment, Finlay Donovan Is Killing It is the first in a brilliant new series from YA Edgar Award nominee Elle Cosimano.

Seasons of the Storm (Seasons of the Storm, 1)

HarperTeen |
YA Fantasy

One cold, crisp night, Jack Sommers was faced with a choice—live forever according to the ancient, magical rules of Gaia, or die.

Jack chose to live, and in exchange, he became a Winter—an immortal physical embodiment of the season on Earth. Every year, he must hunt the Season who comes before him. Summer kills Spring. Autumn kills Summer. Winter kills Autumn. And Spring kills Winter.

Jack and Fleur, a Winter and a Spring, fall for each other against all odds. To be together, they’ll have to escape the cycle that’s been forcing them apart. But their creator won’t let them go without a fight.

The Suffering Tree

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers |
YA Fantasy

“It’s dark magic brings him back.”

Tori Burns and her family left D.C. for claustrophobic Chaptico, Maryland, after suddenly inheriting a house under mysterious circumstances. That inheritance puts her at odds with the entire town, especially Jesse Slaughter and his family — it’s their generations-old land the Burns have “stolen.” As the suspicious looks and muttered accusations of her neighbors build, so does the pressure inside her, and Tori returns to the pattern of self-harm that landed her in a hospital back in D.C. It all comes to a head one night when, to Tori’s shock, she witnesses a young man claw his way out of a grave under the gnarled oak in her new backyard.

Nathaniel Bishop may not understand what brought him back, but it’s clear to Tori that he hates the Slaughters for what they did to him centuries ago. Wary yet drawn to him by a shared sense of loss, she gives him shelter. But in the wake of his arrival comes a string of troubling events-including the disappearance of Jesse Slaughter’s cousin-that seem to point back to Nathaniel.

As Tori digs for the truth-and slowly begins to fall for Nathaniel-she uncovers something much darker in the tangled branches of the Slaughter family tree. In order to break the curse that binds Nathaniel there and discover the true nature of her inheritance, Tori must unravel the Slaughter family’s oldest and most guarded secrets. But the Slaughters want to keep them buried? at any cost.

Holding Smoke

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers |
YA Fantasy

John “Smoke” Conlan is serving time for two murders-but he wasn’t the one who murdered his English teacher, and he never intended to kill the only other witness to the crime. A dangerous juvenile rehabilitation center in Denver, Colorado, known as the Y, is Smoke’s new home and the only one he believes he deserves.

But, unlike his fellow inmates, Smoke is not in constant imprisonment. After a near death experience leaves him with the ability to shed his physical body at will, Smoke is able to travel freely outside the concrete walls of the Y, gathering information for himself and his fellow inmates while they’re asleep in their beds. Convinced his future is only as bright as the fluorescent lights in his cell, Smoke doesn’t care that the “threads” that bind his soul to his body are wearing thin-that one day he may not make it back in time. That is, until he meets Pink, a tough, resourceful girl who is sees him for who he truly is and wants to help him clear his name.

Now Smoke is on a journey to redemption he never thought possible. With Pink’s help, Smoke may be able to reveal the true killer, but the closer they get to the truth, the more deadly their search becomes. The web of lies, deceit, and corruption that put Smoke behind bars is more tangled than they could have ever imagined. With both of their lives on the line, Smoke will have to decide how much he’s willing to risk, and if he can envision a future worth fighting for.

Nearly Found (Nearly Boswell Mysteries)

Kathy Dawson Books |
YA Fantasy

After Nearly Boswell starts working as an intern at a crime lab, a girl from her trailer park turns up dead. Then the corpse of a missing person is discovered, buried on a golf course, with a message for Nearly etched into the bones. When Nearly finds out the corpse is the father of Eric, a classmate of hers, she starts to worry that the body is connected to her father’s disappearance five years ago. Nearly, Reece, and Nearly’s classmates–Vince, Jeremy, and Eric–start a dangerous investigation into their fathers’ pasts that threatens Nearly’s fragile romance with Reece, and puts all them in the killer’s path.

Nearly Gone (Nearly Boswell Mysteries)

Speak |
YA Fantasy

Nearly Boswell knows how to keep secrets. Living in a DC trailer park, she knows better than to share anything that would make her a target with her classmates. Like her mother’s job as an exotic dancer, her obsession with the personal ads, and especially the emotions she can taste when she brushes against someone’s skin. But when a serial killer goes on a killing spree and starts attacking students, leaving cryptic ads in the newspaper that only Nearly can decipher, she confides in the one person she shouldn’t trust: the new guy at school—a reformed bad boy working undercover for the police, doing surveillance. . . on her.

Nearly might be the one person who can put all the clues together, and if she doesn’t figure it all out soon—she’ll be next.



Subject: Resilience and Coping with Failure

Summary: I take the audience on a behind-the-curtain tour of how I became an author. It’s an honest, candid look at the day to day struggles I faced when trying to become published. I share the details of some of my biggest failures and how I overcame them, the process of incorporating feedback and opening our minds to the possibilities of revision, and how I bounced back from rejections, disappointments, and the subjectivity of reader reviews. It’s an uplifting, motivating look at how we create our own success through perseverance, hard work, and commitment, and what it means to be resilient. This is my most popular presentation, ideal for all audiences, with a message that transcends writing and becomes applicable to real world follow-up conversations. Audience: Ideal for All Audiences



Subject: Finding Inspiration, Discovering the Extraordinary in Our Ordinary Lives

Summary: The most frequently asked question I receive is, “Where do you get your inspiration?” So I’ve created a presentation about how I find inspiration in my every day ordinary life. We’ll explore the inspirational seed for three of my novels, and connect those seeds to character, setting, and theme. Then talk about how I took those seeds and grew them into a fully realized storyline. We’ll encourage creative students to look more closely at memorable events in their own lives, to find a few seeds of their own. Audience: Creative Writing, Art, English classes, and General Audiences



Subject: Q&A with the author

Summary: This open meet n greet is a no-holds-barred opportunity to ask me ANYTHING–my process, my day to day work life, where I draw inspiration, how I became a writer, my characters, my current projects, who I wish would act the role of my characters in a film, what kind of research I’ve done, my relationship with my agent and critique partners, how I edit, how writers get paid, how I come up with plots… you name it! An open Q&A works best when participants have already been introduced to the material and have prepared a few questions in advance. Consider the energy level, interest, and number of participants before determining the length of time needed for this event. Audience: Book Clubs, Creative Writers, Educators, Libraries, and Bookstore Events



Subject: A hands-on, interactive exploration of backstory as a function of character development.

Summary: Let’s talk about superheroes! This workshop explores the importance of a fully fleshed backstory in creating a believable, relatable character, and a more compelling story arc. We’ll explore three types of origin stories, using examples of our favorite superheroes, dissecting their unique origin stories to figure out what makes them work. Students will draw a card from a deck of super-powers. Using this as a prompt, they will brainstorm an origin story of their own using a list of thought-provoking questions. From there, they are encouraged to take their work home and develop it into a short writing sample. Audience: Creative Writing classes (also suitable for middle grade)

Elle’s Links

Elle’s Events

Elle’s News

Honors, Awards & Recognition

New York Times Bestselling Author (Finlay Donovan Jumps The Gun)
USA Today Bestselling Author (Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead)
LibraryReads Hall of Fame (Finlay Donovan Jumps The Gun)
2015 Edgar® Award Nominee (Nearly Gone)
2015 International Thriller Award Winner: Best Young Adult Novel (Nearly Gone)
2015 Winner of the Mathical Book Award: grade 9-12 category (Nearly Gone)
2015 Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award Finalist: Best Young Adult (Nearly Gone)
Bank Street College of Education’s Best of Children’s Books List – 2015 (Nearly Gone)
Starred Review, School Library Journal (Nearly Gone)
ALAN/NCTE March 2016 Monthly Pick (Holding Smoke)
2017 Bram Stoker Award® Nominee (Holding Smoke)
2017 International Thriller Award Nominee: Best Young Adult Novel (Holding Smoke)
2022 Lefty Award Nominee for Best Humorous Mystery (Finlay Donovan Is Killing It)
2015-2016 Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Award Nominee (Nearly Gone)
2015-2016 Georgia Peach Book Award Nominee (Nearly Gone)
2015 Kansas State Reading Circle, Starred Designation (Nearly Gone)
2016-2107 Florida Teens Read Nominee (Nearly Gone)
2016-2017 Louisiana Teen Readers’ Choice Nominee (Nearly Gone)
2016-2017 South Dakota Teen Choice (Nearly Gone)
2017-2018 Georgia Peach Book Award Nominee (Holding Smoke)

Media Kit

By clicking the link below you will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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