No-one wants life membership of this club

Surviving a massacre doesn't guarantee your future safety

Riley Sager tells a dark tale of murder and deceit with loads of twists and turns and a cast of characters that immediately have you in their grip.

Quincy, Lisa and Samantha are the Final Girls. Three young women swept up in the worst nightmare anyone could face — sole survivors of separate massacres over a period of several years. Though none of them have ever met, they now belong to a club that no one wants life membership to, however, that’s the hand each has been dealt from a trio of unconnected madmen. Somehow, they have to deal with the aftermath in whatever way possible.

Quincy still can’t remember any of the details from that horrific night but regular doses of Xanax and a good support group help to get through each day — that is until she gets a message to say Lisa has been found dead in her bathtub and a pair of bloodied wrists points to suicide as the cause.

Suddenly out of the woodwork comes Samantha Boyd, victim #2 from this horror reel Quincy lives each day as her ongoing reality. Sam’s new life has her drifting from place to place but is she really who she says she is and why has she decided it’s now time to get to know her reluctant sorority sister when Quincy just wants to put all that horrific past behind her? Jeff, Quincy’s public defender fiancé, isn’t convinced Sam should be allowed into their lives and puts up a good argument to send her packing. However, Quincy remains firm — the two women are the only ones who can truly empathise with each other.

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That is until Sam does the unthinkable – breaks into a locked drawer in Quincy’s kitchen. Like a bower bird, Quincy has been gathering up a slew of treasures wherever she goes, only hers feed a more sinister monster than trying to entice a feathered partner. It’s obvious this third victim isn’t quite as ‘altogether’ as she makes out in this new world on the other side of a ghastly darkness.

More daring decisions on Sam’s part to test Quincy’s sanity follow — and subsequently scare her half to death — and this hapless young woman falls for each one. I take my hat off to the author for having the ability to rile me up to the point of actually finding myself yelling at the pages at Quincy’s stupidity after all she’s endured!

This novel is written in the first person — something I don’t normally choose to read — however it is so well done I was 100 pages in before even realising. The entire telling of this gruesome tale is riveting. Small picturesque nuggets stand out in their beauty between the word pictures of ugliness the author has etched into the souls of these three damaged young women. One in particular that caught my attention was this gem: “More leaves continued to fall, the late-afternoon sunlight shining through their brittle thinness as they spun, tumbled and whirled. Falling stars specked red and orange and yellow.” What a glorious picture this paints in my mind.

This is a well-written thriller, with every word holding your interest. It dragged me in from the very first paragraph and held me enthralled up to the very last word. Riley Sager certainly has the wonderful ability to have readers second-guessing just exactly who a person can trust. Her clever inclusion every few chapters of third-person prose reveals dark slivers of detail from that ghastly night — the ones Quincy’s consciousness has chosen to block out. The tension builds and grabs your attention like watching a thriller on TV; your breath is caught in your throat and you can’t look away even though you know something terrible is about to be revealed. And it is…

Definitely, one to be added to your must-read list for those who enjoy this genre.

Final Girls, Riley Sager, is available in hardcover, paperback and digital formats from the publisher Penguin Random House. Click here for details