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Literature / The Final Cut

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Things just get worse when people start turning up dead...

The Final Cut by M.B. Miller (not to be confused with the movie or album of the same name) is a murder mystery taking place in modern-day British Columbia. Billie and Diana, best friends and recent graduates of UCLA, land their dream job on the set of a slasher film, only to find themselves in the middle of one. The cast and crew start to meet unfortunate accidents, and when they are trapped in the middle of nowhere, they must catch the killer before they catch them. The book is available as both a hard copy and for Kindle on Amazon.

The Final Cut provides examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Claudia
    • Subverted with Diana and Sidney Crosby, since he doesn't know she exists.
  • Action Girl: Several characters. Diana fights off her attacker with the heel of a stiletto. Speaking of stilettos, she has allegedly outrun a police officer in stilettos on a sandy beach.
    • Claudia. She hikes out several miles in the pouring rain to see if they can get out.
    • Billie and Fay prove themselves capable.
  • A Father to His Men: Oddly enough, Richard. He later admits to Diana that the reason he's so harsh — from screaming at everyone to moving on with production after people to die off — is because he sees this as the one big break for him and the crew who stuck around throughout all the B-movies.
    Richard: ...We'll be able to do the movies we want, not just what we're allowed to do.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Played with. Diana refers to Richard exclusively as Dick, which is a nickname for Richard, but it fit his personality, too. Later, it becomes this trope.
    • Billie's real name is Belinda. Diana also refers to her as Bils,
    • In return, Billie calls her Di on occasion.
  • Ax-Crazy: The killer.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Upon finding Claudia's creepy shrine to him, Richard is pleased at being "appreciated."
  • Blue Oni, Red Oni: Diana and Billie. Diana is skilled at wrangling reporters, pushy, frequently hits on guys and very comfortable with social situations. On the other hand, Billie is socially awkward, passive-aggressive, shy and would rather be behind her camera than anywhere else.
    • Richard and Fay. Richard is the bossy, loud, persnickety director, who constantly fires his crew, changes the script and is generally unpleasant. Fay is the gentle screenwriter, and one of the few who can put up with Richard's antics.
  • Body Horror: Pam is found cooking on the grill after she's murdered.
  • Creepy Good: Joe appears to be a good guy, but whenever something goes wrong, he takes great pleasure in terrorizing the crew, Diana in particular, with stories about land spirits.
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: Billie definitely counts. At one point, she backs into a creek and ruins an expensive camera. Granted, it was Richard's fault.
    • Immediately afterwards she sets a tent on fire with a space heater.
  • Dirty Old Man:
    • Richard. He has apparently slept with multiple members of both the cast and crew. He hits on just about everybody, "and sometimes the guys, too, when he's drunk and forgets his glasses." He's also shown flirting with Jordyn Brooks, the much younger star of his film, and is in a relationship with Lark, a earnest wannabe actress in her twenties. He's nearly fifty.
    • Jordyn's agent, Grady, as well. He's twice her age, and she's his client to boot.
  • Domestic Abuser:
    • Bille's ex (who is only mentioned) was emotionally abusive.
    • Diana's first boyfriend bullied her for being Italian and threatened to leave her for other girls, leaving her insecure and afraid of commitment.
Diana: I don't care what anyone says. When you're sixteen, that shit is important.
  • Establishing Character Moment: We first meet Diana wearing heels and having already sent out press releases for The Final Cut (name of the movie in-universe) from her iPad on the airplane. Really helps establish her as a workaholic and fashionista.
    • Richard is introduced through ominous warnings from the crew, then through Billie witnessing him in the middle of a screaming argument over the phone.
    • Jordyn is introduced whining at Miles to get her hypoallergenic pillows and mineral water, even though he is clearly busy.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Joe's Wendigos.
  • Losing Your Head: One crew member is killed this way.
  • Non-Action Snarker: While Richard doesn't do much to help, he certainly criticizes everyone else week enough.
    • Joe, to an extent. He gets rather snarky with Diana at times, as well as with Richard.
Richard: The buddy system? What are we, in kindergarten?
  • Really Gets Around: Richard for reasons stated above.
    • Diana sleeps with quite a few men, apparently. This is possibly explained by her backstory. Her first boyfriend treated her badly for being Italian and threatened to leave her for other girls, basically destroying her self-confidence and leaving her terrified of commitment.
  • Shout-Out: Diana keeps Closet Sidney, a poster of hockey player Sidney Crosby in her closet for good luck.
    • Richard has directed a movie before that was "basically Sharknado with weasels."
  • The Noodle Incident: This isn't the first time Billie and Diana have been surrounded by dead people. Apparently, they couldn't catch a break even in college.
  • Title Drop: The book and in-universe movie share the same title.
    • According to Billie, she and Diana have been chased by the police before, and Diana smoked all of them. In heels. On a sandy beach.
  • Tomboy And Girly Girl: Billie is shy, reseved, enjoys photography and collects black-and-white crime photos. Diana is bossy, demanding, Really Gets Around and loves her job as a PR assistant.
  • Wendigo: Joe is convinced they are the ones killing the cast and crew.
  • Woman Scorned: Oh, yes. Claudia for one. She's absolutely obsessed with Richard and makes a shrine to him in her closet. When he doesn't returned her feelings, she does not take it well and ends up being the Big Bad