Final Girls

Riley Sager uses the slasher movie trope of the "final girl" (the lone female who manages to survive and escape the killer) as the foundation for a nail-biting thriller.

Quincy Carpenter. Samantha Boyd. Lisa Milner. Even though the three women have never met in person, their names are inextricably linked as the Final Girls, lone female survivors of mass murders so gruesome they rival big-screen slasher flicks. Years after surviving a bloody massacre, Quincy runs a successful baking blog and enjoys a stable relationship with her compassionate boyfriend, Jeff. But when Lisa Milner dies under suspicious circumstances and Sam Boyd turns up on her doorstep, Quincy can no longer hide from her past.

Part thriller, part horror story, Final Girls borrows riffs from Friday the 13th, Halloween and Single White Female, but remains its own sophisticated creature. Although the story's inspiration is pure camp, Sager takes on the heavy theme of trauma survival thoroughly and with due seriousness. While a final girl's tale in a movie usually ends with survival as success, Quincy, Lisa and Sam have to live with and fight their demons. Quincy's coping mechanisms include pill popping and shoplifting; her veneer of normalcy hides darker currents of anger and guilt, which Sager uses to propel the plot and wind tension to the breaking point. Taut and bloody, this chilling mystery invites Gillian Flynn comparisons. Readers should prepare to sleep with the lights on. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

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