Book of the week
FINAL GIRLS RILEY SAGER (EBURY, $37)
Reviewed by Eleanor Black
If you are a horror movie aficionado, you will already know that a “final girl” is the lone woman left behind after a massacre. In this sparky, entertaining and slightly loopy novel, there are three final girls who form a tragic club.
The most conventional is Quincy, the book’s heroine, a blogging baker with a devoted fiance, Jeff, and a New York apartment bought with the proceeds of her court settlement. She has a guardian angel (and second love interest) in the form of Coop, the conventionally hunky cop who found her, bloodied and hysterical, in the woods the night all of her university friends were knifed to death at a remote cabin. The two occasionally meet for coffee and incredibly restrained flirtation at a favourite greasy spoon.
Quincy’s bland-but-cosy life is shaken when her fellow “final girl” Lisa is murdered (what are the chances!) and another “final girl”, Sam, shows up on her doorstep. The two quickly bond and Quincy allows her darker impulses some room to play, to the disquiet of both Jeff and Coop.
Riley Sager is the pseudonym for a writer who is already moderately successful in the genre – Todd Ritter, author of Death Notice and Bad Moon. With Final Girls he has managed to secure Steven King’s endorsement and a comparison to Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girls, which is gold in this saturated market.
I have no doubt this book will sell well. It’s an original premise, the plot cracks along despite some hokey moments and the reader is kept guessing till the end, when the real story of Quincy’s night of terror is revealed.
However – and this is a big drawback – the ending is ridiculous, as in overblown operatic silliness of such a magnitude that it feels like it belongs to another book. Fun, yes. Believable, not a bit.
It didn’t ruin the book for me, but a Gillian Flynn psychological masterpiece this is not.
(Lost) score is haunting, the