Grady Hendrix follows up his hip and feminist vampire hit The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires with an equally audacious and entertaining meta salute to slasher films and the women who survived them, The Final Girl Support Group. The "Final Girl" in horror culture is the last woman standing after all her friends have been slaughtered; she's the one who outsmarts (and often kills) the killer... until the sequel.
The members of this support group (led by Dr. Carol Elliot) consists of six middle-aged women who survived serial killers and had their tales turned into movie franchises. There were seven, but Chrissy ("she's a traitor") began to idolize their tormentors and left the group. Now, someone has hacked into narrator and final girl member Lynnette Tarkington's computer, learned their secrets and is beginning to kill the group's members. These women now have to reignite the same cunning and shrewd inventiveness that helped them survive decades ago. Attentive fans of Halloween, Scream, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th, Hellraiser and a few other horror franchises might have a slight edge on each woman's background and psyche. But even horror movie novices will enjoy the adrenaline-pumping cat-and-mouse chases and marvel at the ingenuity of evading an all-knowing, unstoppable killing menace.
Hendrix adeptly creates multi-dimensional characters and delves into their hyper-vigilant mindset. Lynnette is particularly fascinating as she is pushed from her near-agoraphobic state to someone who has to learn to trust to survive. This is a fast-paced, twisty and thoughtful roller-coaster ride. --Kevin Howell, independent reviewer and marketing consultant