Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Final Girl Support Group
by Grady Hendrix Published by Berkley
on July 13, 2021 Genres: Mystery
, Thriller Pages:
352 Format: eARC Source:
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, Barnes & Noble
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.
I was a little worried about reading what is classified as horror because I don’t always like them. But The Final Girl Support Group sounded so fascinating and I wanted to learn about these people (all women) who survived a mass killing.
While it wasn’t exactly what I expected, I did enjoy it. We do learn about the women and their reactions and changes to their life after surviving. Our primary point of view is Lynnette who others seem to think is crazy or paranoid and I saw as smart and realistic. She takes precautions to protect herself from being in a similar situation. It was interesting to see the strategies each women took to live and feel safe.
It did seem a bit unrealistic for there to be a support group, that enough of them would live in the same area. I don’t know much about the horror genre but one of my impressions is some of it is campy. As with cozy mysteries, my personal preference is not the over-the-top quirky and not the campy version of horror. There were some campy aspects.
Law enforcement was not overly helpful for these women being hunted. They had to figure out how to survive on their own as in the past. They weren’t as cohesive a group as the blurb indicates. I liked how realistic it was for them to not always trust people or make the correct judgements. I was always cheering on Lynette and her friends, wanting them to live. Terrifying and suspenseful, I’m glad to have read The Final Girl Support Group.
About Grady Hendrix
Grady Hendrix writes fiction, also called “lies,” and he writes non-fiction, which people sometimes accidentally pay him for. He is the author of Horrorstör, the only novel about a haunted Scandinavian furniture store you’ll ever need. It has been translated into 14 languages and is being turned into a movie from the people who made quality films like 1917 and Black Swan. Foolishly, they are paying Grady to write it. He is busy inserting a whole lot of tutus into it right now.
His novel My Best Friend’s Exorcism, about demonic possession, friendship, exorcism, and the Eighties, is basically Beaches meets The Exorcist and it caused the Wall Street Journal to call him “a national treasure” and received rave reviews from everyone from Kirkus to Southern Living. Surprisingly, this is still not enough for him to earn his mother’s love.
Refusing to stop trying to prove himself to his family, he also wrote Paperbacks from Hell, a history of the horror paperback boom in the Seventies and Eighties. It is so popular it won a Stoker Award, and while you may not know what that is, trust me when I say that it is a big, big deal that gets Grady 20% off all purchases at the Franklin Mint. His next novel was We Sold Our Souls, a heavy metal take on the Faust legend, which hit bookstores in 2018 and got selected as one of the best books of 2018 by Library Journal, the Chicago Public library, and, finally, his mom. It’s also one of Locus’s recommended novels of 2018 and earned him an article in the Los Angeles Review of Books that makes him sound like some kind of smart person or something. He’s not.
His latest novel is the New York Times bestseller, The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, which is being turned into a TV series by Amazon right now because they own everything. In a surprise twist, this book is actually about a Southern vampire getting clubbed to death with books by the band, Slayer.
Grady Hendrix used to be a journalist, which means that he was completely irrelevant and could be killed and turned into food at any time. He is one of the founders of the New York Asian Film Festival, but he is not responsible for the bad parts of it. He is also not Asian. For years he was a regular film critic for the New York Sun but then it went out of business. He has written for Playboy Magazine, Slate, The Village Voice, the New York Post, Film Comment, and Variety. He has a hard time making up his mind.
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I can't really remember any time when I wasn't reading. I LOVE books and what they give me. It's an opportunity to learn new things, see new places,live different emotions in a "safe" way. It lets me live in a new world.
I read all types of books but my favorites are urban fantasy and romantic suspense.I like some romance and some action / adventure / mystery in everything.I like sex in my books but please, only between TWO people.Intimate conversation is equally important to the sex in a book.It lets me see the characters.The other thing I enjoy is humor.Friend or follow me at Goodreads.
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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
It was very campy and unrealistic and I think that was the point. I also thought it was silly that ALL the remaining final girls would live in Los Angeles, but then I realized they all have movie deals about their experiences, so where else would they live??
OK are all horror books campy? That might be why I don’t like them so much preferring mystery / crime/thrillers for the real deal.
Anyway, excellent point about the movie deals!
I just recently watched I’ll Be Alone in the Dark on HBOMax. It is about the Golden State Killer (who started out stalking and raping before moving to murder) and the book of the same name (written before he was caught). The survivors of that all got together with Patton Oswald (husband of the writer who died before the book was released). They would even talk about what number they were. I don’t know that they have a true support group like you’re talking here, but I could see this happen.
True. And Tammy pointed out they might all be in CA for movie deals and other publicity like books or tv things.
I also have trouble picking up a book labeled horror because like you I don’t like them all and I have several blogger friends who live and die by them so I try to pick and choose according to the blurb. Thanks for sharing your thoughts this is something I might be interested in
I enjoyed it. I like different and since I don’t really read horror much, it was different. While some things were campy, it didn’t seem completely senseless. That’s not saying some of the killers weren’t crazy because some of them definitely were crazy.
I’m glad you mostly liked it! I enjoyed the author’s other books. They are a bit campy, but I don’t mind because the camp feels intentional. I guess he likes laughing at horror tropes. 🙂
Yes he pokes at the slasher movies. I liked reading something off my usual.
This does sound super scary, Anne! I’ve been wanting to try his books. Terrific review!
It’s certainly suspenseful because no one can be trusted.
Yeah, I thought Lynnette was smart to be paranoid! I just wished some of her well-thought out plans didn’t go out the window immediately and I thought the story was a little over-the-top, but it was fun. Crazy, but fun.
It was fun. I felt bad there was just no one to trust. I liked Lynette.