Final Girls by Riley Sager
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
FIRST THERE WERE THREE
The media calls them the Final Girls – Quincy, Sam, Lisa – the infamous group that no one wants to be part of. The sole survivors of three separate killing sprees, they are linked by their shared trauma.
THEN THERE WERE TWO
But when Lisa dies in mysterious circumstances and Sam shows up unannounced on her doorstep, Quincy must admit that she doesn’t really know anything about the other Final Girls. Can she trust them? Or...
CAN THERE ONLY EVER BE ONE?
All Quincy knows is one thing: she is next.
Quincy Carpenter is the only survivor of a massacre at Pine Cottage and she immediately enters notoriety when she is labelled a Final Girl taking her place alongside two other survivors of horrific killings; Lisa Milner and Samantha Boyd. Ten years on and Quincy has managed to put her past behind her, she still has no memory of the events of that horrific night but she is determined not to be defined by what happened and with the help of her soon to be fiance Jeff, her baking blog success and the comfort of knowing the police officer who saved her is only a phone call away and will drop everything if she needs him, Quincy has been able to focus on her future not her past. She also has her Xanax pills and wine when she feels the need to forget and so her life has moved on. It's not until Lisa dies in an apparent suicide and Sam turns up on her doorstep that things begin to unravel at an alarming pace. Suddenly Quincy is not sure of anything or anyone including herself and the settled 'normal' life she had managed to create for herself is slowly falling to pieces as she discovers more about herself and those she can trust around her. Having told Quincy that she just wants to make sure she's OK after the news about Lisa, Sam is secretive about her own past. Quincy is suspicious of her, just who is Sam and what does she really want from her? In a way she is almost afraid that Sam's presence might force her to remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, perhaps the realisation might not be what she wants to face.
Lots of back and forth in the past and present for this novel but it was necessary to fill in blanks and was done quite well so as not to fragment the story or the pace. It did build quite nicely albeit a bit slowly but by the last third of the book the pace ramped up to take us to the conclusion. I didn't really take to Quincy but maybe that was intentional, she was so confused about her past that her real personality didn't really have chance to surface and with the influence of Sam she 'became' totally different to the person we were first introduced to. This then prompted red herring questions such as 'do we like her', 'is she a nice person, could she be capable of those murders herself'? so keeping the reader unsure almost to the end.
I did guess the identity of the killer and I did this fairly early on but only because I read a lot of this genre although Riley Sager was skillful in not making it so obvious or confirming anything until the end which did leave a further twist to be put in the mix if she changed her mind and wanted to take this ending completely off kilter.
Well written but it could have been a bit shorter, interesting inner turmoil of someone who has come through a horrific experience and how guilt at not having been killed as well shaped the way she dealt with the trauma and her desire to be 'normal' kept her from remembering the truth.
Good holiday read but not necessarily the best I've read but worthy of 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for Goodreads and Amazon.
I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.