Reading Final Girls, I found myself more intrigued with who Riley Sager really was rather than if any of the characters in the novel would make it to the final page. I’m not sure if that says more about me as a reader or more about the book itself.
Honestly, it’s probably a bit of both.
Billed by Stephen King as the “first great thriller of 2017,” I went into Riley Sager’s Final Girls with a lot of hope. Quincy Carpenter is one of three women in the United States who is the sole survivor of a tragic, horror-movie-like massacre. Unable to recall any details about the attack, Quincy has spent the last decade moving on with her life, including a live-in boyfriend and starting her own cooking blog. But when one of the three “final girls” (named after the girl in the slasher film who makes it the ending credits) dies and another appears on Quincy’s doorstep after years of hiding, Quincy soon begins to question everything about her life, both the and now.
The first hundred or so pages of Final Girls is a slow burn as we get to know Quincy and the people in her life. Things pick up a bit once Sam (the other final girl) shows up and Sam slowly begins to pick away at Quincy’s life and defenses. Unfortunately, it’s once Sam shows up that things begin to quickly go off the rails — not only for Quincy but for readers. As Quincy begins to fill in details on the death of the other final girl, she begins to piece together what might have happened to her that fateful night.
Like a summer blockbuster, Final Girls is a more enjoyable if you just turn off your brain and go with the story. There are some revelations in the last third of the novel (when things really pick up) that make sense in a take-the-mickey-out-of-a-horror-movie type of way (think Scream). But shocks, revelations and plot-twists don’t add up to a “great thriller.” (Sorry, Steve, but you missed on this one.) As a mindless, summer read this one works well. But I can’t honestly see it staying with me once I’ve read a couple of other novels.
And in case you were wondering just who Riley Sager really is — it’s Todd Ritter. You’re welcome.