Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: July 13th, 2021
Synopsis: A fast-paced, thrilling horror novel that follows a group of heroines to die for, from the brilliant New York Times bestselling author of The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires.
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?
Lynette 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 together, piece by piece. That is until one of the women misses a meeting and Lynette’s worst fears are realized—someone knows about the group and is determined to take their lives apart again, piece by piece.
But the one 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 give up. (Goodreads)
Remember how popular “slasher” movies were in the late 70s, 80s and 90s? Well picture a world where there are real life Final Girls, and those movies were based on the horrifying events that occurred in their lives. This is the premise of Grady Hendrix’s clever, highly entertaining The Final Girl Support Group. It’s a wild ride right from the beginning, and although it took me a little while to warm up to Lynette, once I learned more of her backstory I completely understood her over-the-top actions.
While the subject matter is admittedly dark, this has all of Hendrix’s trademark black humor as well. In between the chills, thrills, and yes, chuckles, are some thoughtful looks at how our society not only treats victims of violence, but the perpetrators themselves. There are fans of these monsters which at first seem unbelievable until you remember the devoted worshipers serial killers like Ted Bundy and Charles Manson had.
In this twisted tale you’ve got six traumatized survivors who for much of the book, aren’t exactly supporting each other, despite the title. They’re all dealing with the physical and emotional scars that their ordeals have left them in different ways which doesn’t leave much left over for anyone else. I spent a good portion of the book second guessing whether Lynette or one of her fellow survivors had finally gone over the edge and turned monster here, and there were enough twists to make my poor head spin. The last few climactic chapters are a kick-ass display of sisterhood and the ending was brilliant!
The Final Girl Support Group is perfect for horror fans looking for a fresh take on the slasher horror sub-genre. And unsurprisingly, it’s already been scooped up by Annapurna Pictures who will be developing it into a tv series. I can’t wait to see what they do with this story. Meanwhile, if you’re a fan of film franchises like Halloween, Friday the 13th, Nightmare On Elm Street, and Scream, you’re going to want to read this book. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed!