Anyone wishing for a Halloween thriller will likely find it in The Last Girls Standing by Jennifer Dugan. With this horror story, Dugan creates Charlene Addison Barnes, aka Cherry, and Sloan Thomas, two survivors of a mass murder at Camp Money Springs where they had taken summer jobs as camp counsellors.
Able to diffuse tension with a single sentence, Cherry survives the killing spree of a “save the Earth” cult with her memory intact. However, like a rabbit in a snare, Sloan is caught in a time loop in her head. Although Sloan wants to study social work and save the world, her perfect plans are derailed by her inability to remember. Suffering from amnesia, Sloan can’t seem to escape the haze of fear and blood and hiding on that fateful night. Loving adoptive parents and visits to a psychic have little impact on Sloan’s mental health. In Cherry’s embrace, Sloan finds warmth and safety until she begins to believe that maybe cheery Cherry is hiding something.
After three months, convinced that she needs to go back before she can move forward, Sloan struggles to piece together the puzzle of that night. In her sleuthing, certain coincidences take on deeper meaning.
Dugan’s psychological thriller is a horror story while also being a romance between two queer girls. Many readers will be captivated by Dugan’s craft.
- Posted by Donna