An original take on a familiar pop-culture motif.
The “final girl” is a trope familiar to film scholars and horror-movie fans. She’s the young woman who makes it out of the slasher flick alive, the one who lives to tell the tale. After she survives a mass murder, the media tries to make Quincy into a final girl, but she refuses to play that part. Instead, she finishes college, finds a great boyfriend, and builds a comfortable life for herself on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. She’s managed to bury her trauma under a mountain of Pinterest-ready sweets—she runs a successful baking blog—and psychological repression. Then another final girl, a woman who's tried to be a mentor to Quincy, dies of an apparent suicide, and the cracks in her carefully constructed world begin to show. Reporters come looking for her. So does Samantha Boyd, another survivor. It’s clear that Sam is trouble, but precisely what kind of trouble is one of the mysteries of this inventive, well-crafted thriller. Quincy might look like a model survivor, but that’s only because she’s managed to conceal both her reliance on Xanax and her penchant for petty theft. Quincy is convinced that she and Sam can help each other, but Sam’s bad habits mesh a little too neatly with Quincy’s own. As she begins to lose control, Quincy starts to doubt Sam as she gets ever closer to truths she’s managed to suppress. While most of the book is written from the heroine’s point of view, Sager weaves scenes from the night Quincy’s friends were slaughtered into the narrative. This is a clever device in that it gives readers information that Quincy can’t access even as it invites readers to question her claims of memory loss. Also, knowing the outcome of this horrible event makes watching it unfold nerve-wracking. This is not to say that readers can feel secure about knowing what they think they know. Sager does an excellent job throughout of keeping the audience guessing until the final twist.
A fresh voice in psychological suspense.