A fast-paced, thrilling horror novel that follows a group of heroines to die for, from the brilliant New York Times bestselling author of The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires.
In horror movies, the final girl is the one who’s left standing when the credits roll. The one who fought back, defeated the killer, and avenged her friends. The one who emerges bloodied but victorious. But after the sirens fade and the audience moves on, what happens to her?
Lynnette Tarkington is a real-life final girl who survived a massacre twenty-two years ago, and it has defined every day of her life since. And she’s not alone. For more than a decade she’s been meeting with five other actual final girls and their therapist in a support group for those who survived the unthinkable, putting their lives back together, piece by piece. That is until one of the women misses a meeting and Lynnette’s worst fears are realized–someone knows about the group and is determined to take their lives apart again, piece by piece.
But the thing about these final girls is that they have each other now, and no matter how bad the odds, how dark the night, how sharp the knife, they will never, ever give up.
Hi and welcome to my review of The Final Girl Support Group!
Last year I dipped my toe into Grady Hendrix’s writing with The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires and I fell for it head over heels. Afterwards I spent a few months catching up with Mr Hendrix’s backlist, but I soon ran out, and so I had been waiting very impatiently for a new novel. When I first laid eyes on the title, my grabby hands got even grabbier: I love the whole final girl thing. Riley Sager’s Final Girls, and more recently Goldy Moldavsky’s The Last Girl (UK) / The Mary Shelley Club (USA), I gobbled those up, and of course I’m was (and still am, really) a huge fan of the 80s and 90s slasher films that inspired these stories and coined the term “final girl”.
The final girl in films is literally the last person standing, often in a puddle of blood. The girl next door, the only one who has misgivings before people start to die, the one who not only gets away, but gets away with murder as she is the one who defeats the killer. (Until he has to come back for the sequel of course.)
The Final Girl Support Group explores what happens to those final girls once the dust settles. The story is told from the POV of Lynette – a not-quite final girl since she didn’t actually kill her Monster – whose way to deal with what happened is withdrawing from society. Extremely paranoid and prone to anxiety attacks, she only leaves her extra secured apartment when she really has to, like for grocery shopping, or to attend the monthly support group sessions with five other (actual) final girls and a therapist. But suddenly the final girls are under attack, again.
Is someone really targeting the members of the support group? Who and why? Lynnette sees conspiracy theories everywhere, and I thoroughly enjoyed not knowing for sure whether she was actually right or just extremely paranoid. Or both.
The Final Girl Support Group is just spot on. As I’ve come to expect from Grady Hendrix, the story is something between thriller and horror and very much tongue in cheek. Every little detail is just so, from the titles of the chapters to the narrative itself, and I loved every minute of reading it.
By now, I know to expect the unexpected from Grady Hendrix. I’ll read the blurb, gush over the cover and think I have an idea of what the story’s going to be, but I’m always wrong cos there’s always a twist, not just in the narrative, although there are plenty of twists there as well, but a twist in the kind of story I’m expecting, I never end up quite where I thought I would.
Grady Hendrix has this fab mix of horror and humour going on that I really gel with. I’ve been told I sound like a teenager with a Bieber poster on the wall when talking about Mr Hendrix and his books, and to be honest, I’m pretty sure that’s pretty accurate but I don’t care 😂
The Final Girl Support Group is a parody, it’s an homage, it’s one hundred percent brilliant and if you liked the slasher films and scream queens and final girls of yore, this is most definitely a must read. Highly recommended.
The Final Girl Support Group is out today in digital formats, hardcover and audio.
Massive thanks to Titan Books and NetGalley for the e-ARC. All opinions are still my own.