FINAL GIRLS by Riley Sager
FINAL GIRLS by Riley Sager is the kind of book that keeps you interested for all of its pages, but when it is finished you find yourself non-impressed. This story of three women who survived hellish attacks by a crazed person is chilling to the bone. When one reads news accounts of horrible events such as those described in this book the first thought is thank God it wasn’t me. Each of the women in this story were the sole survivors of such vicious attacks and came to be known as the “final girls.” Sager handles the story with care and precision but somehow it just isn’t enough.
The main character in the story is Quincy Carpenter. Ten years ago she was on an outing with some of her college friends. They had gone to a mountain home for the weekend. Quincy does not remember the attack but she does know all of her friends were murdered and she alone escaped. She fled her assailant and managed to find a policeman who rescued her and killed her attacker.
Over the years she has been grouped with two other girls who were involved in horrific attacks and were the sole survivors. These three are called the “Final girls”. Lisa and Samantha are the other two. Samantha has dropped off the grid but Lisa has communicated with Quincy. They have talked by phone but not in person.
One day Samantha shows up outside the apartment Quincy shares with her boyfriend Jeff, She states she just wants to know how Quincy is doing, but soon she has moved herself in as a guest. In her presence Quincy finds herself doing outlandish things that do not feel natural to her. Samantha says she wants her to be fearless but in truth Quincy is being led to be radical.
Sager knows how to fill the story with an abundance of twists and turns. The problem is there is no character for the reader to cheer. Quincy is not likable in the way she needs to be likable. She is too confused, too malleable, too prone to be her own worst enemy. Even that could be accepted if there was at least one character who added some balance but none appears.
FINAL GIRLS is a book looking for a hero. There are a lot of candidates for the job but no one passes the quality test. It ends up being a story deserving of being told. However, the one thing missing is a character for whom the reader cares
FINAL GIRLS is published by Dutton. It contains 342 pages and sells for $26.00.
Jackie K Cooper