Page Count 352
Publication date July 2021
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
The opening of this novel sees Lynette attend group therapy before returning home. The way Hendrix has written this simple task sets the atmosphere for the book immediately;
In present tense first person Lynette describes to the reader every hypothetical danger, every perceived threat or possible motivation of strangers. Whilst this is a hefty dose of Lynette’s paranoia, some of these ideas and reactions are ingrained in the minds of all females travelling alone today, making this fiction feel all the more real. I sat reading this in my sunny garden and started to feel anxious myself- and all over a simple journey home. This is what makes Hendrix so bloody great.
The chapters in The Final Girl Support Group (TFGSG from here on, that’s a long old title!) are punctuated with various media. Letters, police interviews, movie transcripts and news articles that cover the immediate aftermath for the various women in the support group.
*As a netgalley kindle ARC these were virtually impossible to read as the page images formatted to about 2×3″ but I trust Titan will resolve this for the official ebook release.*
I always prefer relevant background detail to be delivered in this way, it enhances the story without forcing unnecessary dialogue from the characters or creating an info dump. TFGSG is set long after each woman’s traumatic experience so these media snippets were the perfect way to showcase their histories.
Lynette, the main character, massively irritated me with her attitude and behaviour for most of the book. This was of no detriment to the story, and her actions were understandable given her past- if anything her self absorption and lack of empathy to others made perfect sense but I did not like her at all to begin with.
Actually, I’m not sure I liked any of the characters in TFGSG with the exception of the least prominent two, Dani and Michelle. They were all horribly selfish and entitled, which made this novel all the more fun to read!
TFGSG goes to some very dark places, packed with action, violence and gore, the readers unwind the mystery of who is hunting down the Final Girls. Hendrix wraps up The Final Girl Support Group with a cathartic ending that I very much enjoyed.
So far from Grady Hendrix I’ve read and loved Horrorstor, My Best Friends Exorcism and now The Final Girl Support Group. With both We Sold Our Souls and The Southern Book Club in my collection waiting to be read, I doubt there’s anything Hendrix could write that I wouldn’t recommend from the rooftops! I look forward to completing the canon.