The author of The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires returns with an exploration of the "real-life" female survivors of serial killer rampages. A group of those "final girls" have been meeting for more than a decade to sort through their lingering trauma. But when a member of the group ends up dead, the women must rally to defend themselves once again.
That sense of collective female triumph is what makes Grady Hendrix’s new novel...such a great read. Hendrix...excels at writing horror humor ... His characters are funny and real, though at least one will definitely lose a limb at some point ... Though the final girls’ plight has all the scares of great horror fiction, there is an element of truth in their situation that will be recognizable to anyone who has experienced real trauma.
... savvy ... Final Girl indulges but doesn’t coast on nostalgia, and is itself a page-turning thriller with survival on the line ... While itself a wickedly entertaining page-turner that indulges readers’ appetites for slashers, Final Girl also smartly psychoanalyzes it ... It’s a thin and bloody line that separates horror fun from the truly horrific, and Grady has a lot of fun walking it as he writes his final girls a triumphant conclusion rarely afforded survivors in real life.
Every slasher film archetype and trope is featured here, and it’s great fun figuring out which Final Girl belongs to which franchise and how Hendrix will put his own spin on things ... Hendrix is that rare male author who does a phenomenal job writing female characters that feel truly real. We spend the bulk of the story in Lynette’s head, and it’s not always a comfortable place to be, but it is always authentic. Peppered throughout her narrative and blood-soaked trials is plenty of commentary on the evils of misogyny and the dangerous reality of existing in a world where violence against women is so normalized as to be expected, where it’s even turned into entertainment. And all of it is heavily seasoned with righteous feminist rage ... a solid thriller even outside of the slasher pastiches, with enough surprises, twists, and turns to keep the most jaded of readers off-kilter. Every time you think you’ve got it all figured out, Hendrix throws another monkey wrench—or machete, or shotgun blast—into the works...before it all comes to a screaming (and very satisfying) end ... Hendrix was already penciled onto my auto-read list, but now he’s earned the permanent marker.