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The Final Girl Support Group

The Final Girl Support GroupThe Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Final girls are having something of a literary resurgence these days, from Daryl Gregory’s WE ARE ALL COMPLETELY FINE (which admittedly also features final boys) and Stephen Graham Jones’ THE LAST FINAL GIRL to Riley Sager’s FINAL GIRLS and now Grady Hendrix’s THE FINAL GIRL SUPPORT GROUP. Hendrix’s novel takes the concept a step further by making his final girls the bases for alternate takes on the horror movies we all know and love, as well as giving them names that horror fans will enjoy taking the time to decode. That’s half the fun of this fast-moving and involving thriller.

It can be frustrating to follow a protagonist who makes a lot of bad choices, and Lynette Tarkington (whose analog to a real-world horror movie character is an inspired choice) makes a lot of decisions that had me doing the reading version of yelling at the movie screen. Still, she’s a compelling character, damaged physically and emotionally by her experiences, and despite the frustration, I never stopped rooting for her.

When Lynette and her fellow final girls are are all together, this novel sings. Unfortunately, there’s a long stretch in the middle where Lynette is on her own, and though it’s narratively necessary, the story just didn’t feel as alive to me as when they share the page. Still, if my only complaint is that I wanted more time with each of Hendrix’s vibrant, well-drawn characters, I’d say that’s not really much of a complaint.

As with all of Hendrix’s novels, THE FINAL GIRL SUPPORT GROUP is compulsively readable. Written with his signature blend of horror, humor, and heart, fans of classic slasher movies and fans of well-crafted literary thrillers alike will enjoy pulling up a chair and listening to the group.

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