FINAL GIRLS by Riley Sager
Dutton (Penguin), July 11, 2017
Wow, this book. Believe the hype, guys!
I know the major bookworm stereotype is devouring books in one sitting, staying up way too late to finish them, but I actually rarely do that. I usually read a few chapters before bed and put the book down at a reasonable hour, no matter how addicting. Not the case with Final Girls. Thanks to this book I am running on very few hours of sleep, but it was worth it. There was no point in the second half of this book where I would have felt satisfied putting it down and going to bed without getting to the bottom of things. Because each time I thought I had this book figured out, Sager threw another twist into the mix.
Final Girls is about Quincy Carpenter, a young woman who survived a massacre ten years ago, where she went on vacation with five friends and all of them ended up murdered. Two other women were the sole survivors of similar attacks, Lisa Milner and Samantha Boyd. The media collectively refers to them as the ‘Final Girls,’ referring to the horror movie trope where one girl is left alive at the end of the film. The story picks up when Lisa is found dead, and Sam suddenly shows up at Quincy’s door, intent on making her confront the events of that night, despite Quincy’s insistence that she can’t remember anything that happened.
Part thriller and part horror, this novel was tense and addicting, with a tone not quite like anything I’ve ever read before. The chapters which offered flashbacks to the night of the massacre were properly terrifying. I don’t scare easily, which is a shame, as I love the feeling of being scared in a controlled environment, but I have to admit, I was on the edge of my seat here. The looming inevitability of the night’s events lent even the most innocuous of scenes a sinister edge.
The present-day narrative involving Quincy and Sam is more slow moving, but never dull. This novel unfolds at a satisfying pace, and is filled to the brim with fascinating, enigmatic characters, not least of all Quincy herself.
Tense, gripping, and downright terrifying at times, Final Girls is one of the more memorable thrillers I’ve ever read. Riley Sager is a pseudonym for an author who’s previously published under a different name, and I have to say, I am dying to find out who (s)he is so I can read more of his/her work.