Without memory, there can be no retribution: Reviewing My Heart is Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones

Hello everyone! I hope you are all living your best lives and find yourselves curled up with a good book more often than not. I am trying to get through as many horror novels as I can by the end of this month. I am incredibly excited because I have so many good recommendations that I’m hoping to get to before the end of the year. I also rearranged my bookshelves recently to make room for even more books! Now, let’s add another to the shelf and talk about My Heart is a Chainsaw.

Trigger Warning: Graphic Violence, Blood and Gore, Self – Harm, Discussions of Sexual Assault

Jade Daniels has always turned to the slasher movies of the 1980s to escape her rather bleak existence. She is an outsider in her small hometown of Proofrock, which is home to Camp Blood, the site of a massacre that happened fifty years ago, and Terra Nova, a development for the Uber-rich and mildly famous. When the bodies of a teen couple turn up by Indian Lake, Jade knows in her heart that this is the start of a slasher. There are patterns that these movies follow and Jade has the encyclopedic knowledge to help her survive whatever or whoever is piling up bodies. She takes it upon herself to train the final girl to survive what may come and finds herself taking a much bigger role in this would – be slasher flick.

Though I am not a fan of slasher films, I can appreciate the thought and care that Stephen Graham Jones put into this novel. Within My Heart is a Chainsaw is a pretty interesting analysis of the slasher movie and why the structures are so important to the genre. This is wrapped up in a gory and fast-paced story about a misunderstood girl just trying to find some semblance of control in her life. This was certainly unique compared to other horror novels I have read recently. You don’t have to be a fan of slasher movies to appreciate this film, but if you are a fan of bloody, gory horror, then this is certainly the novel for you this spot season.

And Then There Were None…: Reviewing Final Girls by Riley Sager

I’m a bit weird when it comes to the horror genre. I’m not a fan horror movies but I love horror books and I listen to “creepypastas” all of the time but I don’t watch horror movies. Thankfully, I’m familiar enough with the tropes to appreciate the structure on which the horror genre is built. I plucked this particular books off the shelf on nothing more than an impulse and I am certainly glad I did. Here is my review of Final Girls  by Riley Sager.

Quincy Carpenter is the lone survivor of the Pine Cottage Massacre, where five of her college friends were slaughtered by a man she refers to as Him. She was dubbed a Final Girl by the media and found herself a part of an exclusive group of survivors. Ten years later, Quincy finally has her life together with a successful lawyer boyfriend and a baking blog.  She is forced to confront her past when the first Final Girl, Lisa Milner, is found dead in her home. With the help of Sam, a fellow Final Girl, and her police officer friend, Coop, Quincy must race against time to find the killer before she is taken by the fate that she escaped ten years ago.

Now, I read these horror/thriller books knowing that they are not for everybody. If you are a fan of horror movies, this is the novel for you. Better yet, if you are a fan of Paula Hawkins (Girl on the Train) or Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl), then you will appreciate the strong and complex female characters who must confront their pasts while trying to salvage an uncertain future. Sager provides an uncertain and gritty narrative that plays off of the classic horror movies tropes, building off of the standard slasher movie script. I found myself enjoying this novel more than I originally thought. Horror/mystery/thriller fans are sure to enjoy Sager’s Final Girls.