Final Girls by Riley Sager

Final Girls by Riley Sager, Paperback, 339 pages, Ebury Press, £12.99, Waterstones

Overview

Quincy Carpenter is a Final Girl. Quincy shares this title with two other girls, Lisa and Samantha. When Lisa dies in mysterious circumstances, Quincy can’t quite shift that something doesn’t feel right. With Sam showing up unexpected and angry at Lisa’s death, Quincy must quickly figure out whether to trust her gut reactions once again, to find out what happened to Lisa.

Characterisation

Riley’s characterisation in Final Girls is distinctive and really adds to the reader’s experience. Each character shows different qualities and varies in depth, regardless how much they are in the novel. Craig, Quincy’s love interest before the Pine Cottage incident, changes throughout Quincy’s memories, making him feel realistic and in some areas, relatable.

Reflecting on Quincy and Sam, their emotions have been shown in such detail that it makes the reader understand how their previous escapes have caused them to react differently to life. One element that Sager has mastered in Final Girls is that every character’s actions and emotions have all been created with intent. It is this understanding that makes this book intense from the very beginning. There’s a reason Quincy has memory issues. There’s a reason why Same is so angry. There’s a reason why Pine Cottage has not been forgotten.

Narrative

The narrative of Final Girls is written in two perspectives. The majority of the novel is written in first person through the eyes of Quincy Carpenter. However Quincy’s memories relating to Pine Cottage are in third person, closed perspective. Using various viewpoints works well here as it helps the reader differentiate between what is memory and what is reality. Furthermore with Quincy suffering from memory loss due to trauma, the narrative itself is pivotal for Quincy’s understanding of what happened at Pine Cottage and what has happened to Lisa.

Overall

Final Girls is a book that will keep you on the edge of your seat, trying to crack the case between Lisa’s death and Pine Cottage. Sager’s novel springs into action and doesn’t skip a beat until the very end.

Prepare yourself for twists and turns and then prepare some more.

I really enjoyed this book and was pleased to say that my instincts with this book were correct. Final Girls is a psychological thriller that you need to take with you on your next holiday. Final Girls is light enough to read with ease and suspenseful enough to keep you hooked.

This novel was compared to Gone Girl by Stephen King when I originally bought this book. However, I find The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins to be a much closer comparison – but don’t take my word for it. Grab yourself a copy and see for yourself!

Star rating: 4/5

Tripwire by Lee Child

Tripwire by Lee Child, Paperback, Transworld Publishers, 544 pages, £8.99, Waterstones.

Plot

The book begins in a sunny Key West, when a man called Costello is looking for Reacher. After retracing Costello’s movements, Reacher finds himself returning to his army roots, in search for a missing soldier. Tripwire focuses mostly on Jack Reacher’s army life and what his possible future may look like. A drifter can’t drift forever, can they?

Narrative

Tripwire follows Reacher in the hopes of finding a missing soldier whilst the reader is simultaneously observing Chester Stone’s lifestyle and failing business. The book alternates between Reacher and Chester’s situation, in order to set the scene for the reader that will eventually overlap these narratives together. The pace of both narrative scenes quicken at the same time until reader is found racing to the finish line with Reacher on the lookout.

Review

This is the first book in the Reacher series I’ve read and it definitely won’t be my last. As a writer myself, I find his use of structure intriguing; how he creates tension and suspense with no nonsense language is mesmerizing.

One of the most impressive elements of this book, is Lee Child’s attention to detail. Child’s knowledge of guns and, in particular, Fighter planes, are so accurate that you would almost expect him to have flown a Fighter jet or have used a few of the guns he describes so well. The specificality of his writing appears to be exactly what the reader needs to allow themselves to be immersed in Reacher’s world.

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys action and adventure in novels. Tripwire is a great read for someone who wishes to get into reading without the flowery language that can often cloud a great narrative. Lee Child’s writing is raw and extremely well written.

Similar Writers

Although not many writers can compare to his writing style, I would recommend John Grisham’s Camino Island, as this also begins in the Florida state. Both writers create legal thrillers and have a similar pacing style.

Another writer that could be compared to Lee Child, would be James Patterson. The crimes within Patterson’s books mirrors some of Lee Child’s books, if a dark theme is your theme of choice.

You can buy Tripwire by Lee Child by clicking here

Survive the Night by Riley Sager

Survive the Night by Riley Sager, paperback, 336 pages, Hodder & Stoughton, £8.99, Waterstones.

This is the first book I’ve read from Riley Sager and this definitely won’t be the last.

Survive the Night follows a student called Charlie Jordan, making her way home from university. But what seems like a smooth ride, isn’t as smooth sailing as you may think. Charlie leaves behind her boyfriend in exchange for a ride home from another student. However with the campus killer still on the loose, Charlie can’t seem to grasp that she could be driving home with him. She can’t be the next victim after all… can she?

Sager begins his novel by introducing a handful of characters into Charlie’s life. We discover early in the novel about Charlie’s loss of her best friend Maddy and her boyfriend Robbie. However from the first chapter, the main focus in Survive the Night is around Charlie and Josh’s journey to her hometown. Not only does this keep the scenes intense but it also allows the readers to grow an attachment to the characters on a deeper level. Car journeys are brilliant for getting to know more about someone and as we follow their journey, the readers are well and truly along for the ride. Throughout the journey, Charlie begins to question who the driver is to reassure herself and to find out what his intentions of leaving so soon are.

Throughout Survive the Night, the tension is kept incredibly tight. So tight that suspicions are constantly among the characters and you can’t help but question character’s motives. Some characters you might like at the beginning but by the end, you might have a whole different take on them. If your views on the characters wasn’t change enough, then fasten your seatbelts because this ride is going to be bumpier than you think! If this novel could be summed up in three words they would be:

Don’t trust anyone.

I feel that Sager has built the tension up perfectly and has included more action in his scenes that I strongly favour over previous thriller authors. 

When I first read the blurb of this book, I was so intrigued. I knew it would seem very minimal with most of it taking place in a car but if anything, it showed a rawness to characters that I hadn’t seen before.

For anyone who is a fan of Ruth Ware, Lucy Foley and Allie Reynolds, I would strongly recommend Riley Sager. I was previously torn between reading Ware or Sager for my holidays and thought I’d picked well with Ware. Little did I know both choices would be so amazing.

Riley Sager’s Survive the Night is officially out in paperback in the UK and I strongly recommend anyone with a love of psychological thrillers and plot twists, to give this book a go. Oh, and brace yourselves!

Enjoy the ride!