Book of the week

FI­NAL GIRLS RILEY SAGER (EBURY, $37)

The Press - Your Weekend (The Press) - - Books -

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

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