Riley Sager’s FINAL GIRLS
Release Date: July 11, 2017
Review by: Daniel Boucher
From the cover:
Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.
Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.
That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.
First off, let me get this out of the way. For those of you who are wondering, like I was, if Riley Sager is a man or a woman, it’s a man. I learned this because I was struggling with writing this review as to call Riley him or her. Riley Sager is actually a pseudonym for Todd Ritter.
Turns out men writing with gender neutral names is a thing now so that they can ride on the shirttails of the success of authors like Paula Hopkins, Gillian Flynn and the like. In fact, Stephen King went so far as to say “If you liked Gone Girl, you’ll like this.”
Not that I care, but something about it feels a little shady. There’s an interesting article about it here.
So, I enjoyed Flynn’s Gone Girl and Hawkin’s The Girl on the Train. Did that translate to me liking Final Girls?
Not even a little bit.
I was able to snag an early copy of this from NetGalley and soo wanted to love it. The whole concept was fascinating to me and felt like it would offer an original take on the final girl trope.
Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, I was unable to finish it. In short, it’s BORING. Slow and boring. Two of the worst things a book can be for me. The main character, Quincy, whines, and whines, and whines, and whines, all while doing the same thing over and over and expecting me to care. Well, I didn’t. Sometimes there are characters that are too stupid to live (TSTL). Quincy is one of them.
The characters kept making one stupid decision after another, and it got old–fast. Fortunately, I don’t often run into characters that are TSTL, but Quincy is definitely one of them.
The pace is so frustratingly slow that it makes Ernest Hemingway read like a Michael Bay film.
Okay, so this isn’t to say that the writing itself is bad, in fact, quite the opposite is true. The writing is crisp and fluent and never caused me to stutter. There’s definitely a great writer here, trapped in a story that just didn’t click with me.
So long story short, read this at your own risk. Your experience may very well be different than mine.
Having said that, I *will* try Todd Ritter’s…excuse me…Riley Sager’s next book in hopes that he has a better grip on plotting and pace.
P.S. I need to stop listening to King’s recommendations. Aside from Paul Tremblay’s A Head Full of Ghosts, lately they’ve been nothing but slow and unwarranted drivel.