By Riley Sager
Each girl survived an unthinkable horror. Now someone wants them dead...
They were called The Final Girls.
Three young women who survived unimaginable horror. Three victims of separate massacres grouped together by the press. Three strangers bound by similar traumas.
Lisa. Quincy. Samantha.
When something terrible happens to Lisa, put-together Quincy and volatile Sam finally meet. Each one influences the other. Each one has dark secrets. And after the bloodstained fingers of the past reach into the present, each one will never be the same.
This book had so many twists and turns it made me dizzy. I think this year is going to be a great year for psychological thrillers and this is definitely worth a read.
It is clear to the reader from the opening passages of the book that the protagonist, Quincy Carpenter, is a survivor.
The forest had claws and teeth. All those rocks and claws and branches bit as Quincy as she ran screaming through the woods. But she didn’t stop. Not when the rocks dug into the bare soles of her bare feet. Not when a whip-thin branch lashed her face and a line of blood stretched across her cheek.
Quincy runs through the woods until she gets to a main road and a policeman.
With the pain came the realization. One so brutally awful that it had to be true. Only Quincy remained. All the others were dead .She was the last one left alive.
Via a series of flashbacks we learn Quincy was celebrating her friend Janelle’s birthday in Pine Cottage, a cabin paid for by Janelle’s parents. Quincy can only remember fragments of memory as she has repressed memory syndrome.
"My experience at Pine Cottage is broken into two distinct halves. There’s the beginning, fraught with fear and confusion, in which Janelle lurched out of the woods, not yet dead but well on the way. Then there’s the end, in which Coop found me in my red-not-red dress.
Everything between these two points remains a blank in my memory. An hour, more or less, entirely wiped clean".
“Final girls is technically film terminology, used to describe the last woman standing at the end of a horror movie. At least that’s what I’ve been told. Even before Pine Cottage. I never liked to watch scary movies because of the fake blood, the rubber knives, the characters who make decisions so stupid I guiltily thought they deserved to die.
Only what happened to us wasn’t a movie. It was our real life. Our lives. The blood wasn’t fake. The knives were steel and nightmare-sharp. And those who died definitely didn’t deserve it. But somehow we screamed louder, ran faster, fought harder. We survived.”
Lisa Milner was the first of the so-called ‘Final Girls.’ Lisa was living in a sorority house in Indiana when a man knocked on the door. The girl who answered it was stabbed to death as were nine other girls who lived with her. One of the local papers was the first to call her a Final Girl.
Quincy was seven when it happened and saw it because her mum was watching it on the news, then four years later it was Samantha Boyd and finally 8 years later Quincy became a Final Girl.
In the present Quincy takes refuge in her baking, she likes the order of it. She has a blog called ‘Quincy’s Sweets’ on which she places her artfully arranged baked goods. Quincy’s apartment is paid for by money gained from a series of lawsuits filed by Janelle’s stepfather and the other parents.
Quincy is icing cupcakes when she receives a text from Coop, the police officer who rescued her from the events at Pine Cottage.
“We need to talk. Face 2 face. My fingers pause above the screen. Although it takes Coop three hours to drive into Manhattan, it’s a trip he’s willingly made many times in the past. When it’s important.
I text back. When?…
A spot of worry presses the base of my spine. Coop’s already here. Which means only one thing – something is wrong.”
Quincy takes a Xanex before meeting him in order to ease her building anxiety. She meets him in their usual place, he likes to check in on her every six months.
No matter how many times I see him, the moment is always there playing on a loop while I push it away.
'They’re dead,' I had choked out while clutching him, the words gurgling thickly in the back of my throat.' They’re all dead. And he’s still out there.'
Ten seconds later, he saved my life.
Their visits are a bit like a therapy session with him only giving away minimal information about his life but wanting to know every detail of how she is coming.
The closest he gets to showing affection is on my birthday, when he sends the same text. ”Another year you almost didn’t get. Live it.
This time though he has a special reason for coming to see her: Lisa is dead. He wanted to make sure she knew before the press got to know and begin to hound her.
Quincy is unbalanced by Lisa’s death. Lisa who offered to help her and teach her how to be a Final Girl, how much to talk to the press, and how to cope with life after. Quincy spoke to her on the phone but chose not to take her up on the offer.
When she returns to her apartment she finds an email from Lisa sent an hour before she died. The email says she needs to talk to her about something extremely important. Quincy, and the reader along with her, wonders what she wanted to talk to her about.
When Sam Boyd turns up at Quincy’s apartment after years off the grid Quincy feels she has to invite her to stay. After all Sam is the only one who knows what it is like to be a Final Girl but does she have an ulterior motive?
The characters in this book are highly convincing, intriguing and on the whole likeable. The story is very, very good but the characters are what makes this a must read book for 2017.
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