Riley Sager’s FINAL GIRLS is a heart-thumping thriller from the first to the last page.
Quincy Carpenter is a final girl, by description anyway. She doesn’t want the label, which, by definition, is the last girl alive in a horror film. And a label the media puts on women who survive these attacks in real life. Like Quincy, who was the only survivor of a brutal massacre in the woods. She and her friends were on a birthday getaway at Pine Cottage and everyone was murdered except for her. She tried to help her friends, but she couldn’t. The only person she could save was herself. She was stabbed by a man she only refers to as HIM, but somehow escaped, literally running into the arms of a police officer named Coop who showed up just in time to save her life. And that’s all she remembers. Since it happened, she can’t recall a huge chunk of the night. And some people, even her mother, seem convinced she’s simply choosing not to reveal what really happened.
The media groups Quincy with two other women who also survived brutal attacks. Lisa was the only one to make it out of a sorority house alive while nine girls were killed. And Sam broke free of the Sack Man who murdered several people at a hotel where she was working. And for many years, she is hounded for interviews. Everyone wanting to know what it feels like to be a lone survivor.
Quincy is finally at a good place in her life when Coop calls. She’s medicated, engaged and has managed to separate herself from the incident that has chased her for years. Coop tell her that the original final girl, Lisa, is dead. And while Quincy is reeling from that news, Sam shows up on her doorstep.
I was turning the pages with an intensity I hadn’t felt for a book in a long time. I had so many questions—why was Lisa dead? Could Sam be trusted? What really happened the night of the Pine Wood murders that Quincy survived? Was Quincy a reliable narrator? I didn’t see any of the twists coming—and there are several!
Sager’s descriptions are so vivid, that I could see the scenes in my mind and often felt like I was watching a movie. FINAL GIRLS definitely stands out from the pack of the hugely popular psychological thriller genre.
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