cover image The Final Girl Support Group

The Final Girl Support Group

Grady Hendrix. Berkley, $26 (352p) ISBN 978-0-593-20123-7

Hendrix (The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires) delivers a wildly entertaining romp through the conventions of horror’s slasher film subgenre. The novel’s title refers to a Los Angeles–based therapeutic support group for six “final girls”—survivors of mass-murderer rampages whose experiences inspired the splatter-film franchises that saturated horror cinema in the 1980s and ’90s, earning them minor celebrity. When one of the six is murdered decades after she escaped her assailant, and others come under violent assault, Lynnette Tarkington—herself a survivor of the Silent Night Slayings of 1988—realizes that someone is trying to orchestrate an extravagant final girl finale. But is the killer a garden-variety homicidal maniac, an unhinged slasher-film superfan, or someone more intimately familiar with their group? Hendrix masterfully evokes the paranoid existences of his diverse cast in the aftermath of their traumatic ordeals, and he so explicitly details the massacres and fictional film sagas that grew out of them that readers may believe them to be real. The result is a wonderfully suspenseful and darkly comic novel that cleverly subverts popular culture. Horror fans will be wowed. Agent: Joshua Bilmes, JABberwocky Literary. (July)