What I Loved:
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires had this mixture of Steel Magnolias type characters with a vampire plot and I really enjoyed it! I think that overall, it was the southern-style ladies that saved this book for me. Their gentle, southern charm softened the horror enough that I wasn’t terrified throughout the story!
How I Felt:
I don’t do horror well. I get scared, like read with the lights on and my back to a wall creeped out super easily. I couldn’t even pick a super scary image for my “Horror” genre image above. So, let me first of all say that this book was more horror-lite than full-on horror.
While The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires is a story about a group of book club ladies that think there is a vampire living in the neighborhood, it is also about so much more. I was surprised by the additional pieces of this story. There is a focus on family, sacrifice, love, poor choices, and relationships. It was, all-around, a well-written story that I really enjoyed.
The story begins with an introduction of the main character, Patricia Campbell, that really gave me a good feel for who she was as a person. Patricia is supposed to lead her book club’s discussion of this month’s book, but she hasn’t read it yet. She tries and fails to discuss the book by posing questions to the group, but it turns out that most of the women also didn’t read the book. After being called out by the head of the book club, the group disbands. Patricia is invited to join a new group, but they “aren’t a book club” as the leader likes to say.
After joining this new group, Patricia finds like-minded ladies that are just trying to get their husbands fed, keep their homes clean, raise their children, and read some good old-fashioned true crime books. I really enjoyed that this was their genre. It was so juxtaposed to who these women are in their normal lives. They escape into these true crime novels and have these in-depth conversations about everything to do with the crime and the people surrounding it.
Patricia is happy with her new group until her life starts to fall apart. She is attacked by a feral old woman who bites her ear off. *Yuck* This woman was a neighbor and soon passes away at the hospital. Patricia, being the southern lady she is, visits the woman’s newly moved-in relative. She soon befriends him, but then weird, creepy things start to happen. As she looks at the facts, she begins to think that this newcomer might be a vampire.
Then she got in her Volvo and hoped Grace was right and this was all just a product of the overactive imagination of a stupid little housewife with too much free time on her hands. If it was, she promised herself, tomorrow she would vacuum her curtains.The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, Grady Hendrix
The writing made this book so wonderful. There really was this southern mix that made the horror a bit softer, but it still had this dark atmosphere surrounding it. There were moments where things felt light, and others that were heavy with despair.
I struggled with the characters about halfway through the story. I became frustrated with their indecision and blind eyes. I couldn’t believe how long they had let this situation continue. This was the only downside of the book for me. I would have liked to see a bit more action considering that children were dying all around them. The characters do decide to take action eventually and the story picked back up for me at that point, but I was disappointed in how long it took them to come to their senses.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was written with that gory detail that could turn someone’s stomach but fits the horror genre so well. It had that southern charm that softened the darkness of the book. I was extremely impressed with Grady Hendrix’s writing and I do look forward to reading more!
I listened to the audio-book of The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires and I would highly recommend it for readers that enjoy audio. This was narrated by Bahni Turpin and I love her narration! She has a cadence and an inflection to her reading that makes the story come alive!
This book discusses child harm, suicide, murder, and rape.
To Read or Not To Read:
I would recommend The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires for readers that enjoy a dark, creepy story about taking justice into your own hands.
Where to Find This Book:
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix is available at these sites.
Patricia Campbell’s life has never felt smaller. Her husband is a workaholic, her teenage kids have their own lives, her senile mother-in-law needs constant care, and she’s always a step behind on her endless to-do list. The only thing keeping her sane is her book club, a close-knit group of Charleston women united by their love of true crime. At these meetings they’re as likely to talk about the Manson family as they are about their own families.
One evening after book club, Patricia is viciously attacked by an elderly neighbor, bringing the neighbor’s handsome nephew, James Harris, into her life. James is well traveled and well read, and he makes Patricia feel things she hasn’t felt in years. But when children on the other side of town go missing, their deaths written off by local police, Patricia has reason to believe James Harris is more of a Bundy than a Brad Pitt. The real problem? James is a monster of a different kind—and Patricia has already invited him in.
Little by little, James will insinuate himself into Patricia’s life and try to take everything she took for granted—including the book club—but she won’t surrender without a fight in this blood-soaked tale of neighborly kindness gone wrong.
Just the Facts:
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
Page Count: 410 pages
Publisher: Quirk Books
Pub Date: April 7, 2020
Audio Listening Time: 13 hours and 49 minutes
Audio Narrator: Bahni Turpin
Audio Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
I downloaded my copy of this book from Libby, the app from my library. I highly recommend it! I am leaving my honest, unbiased review voluntarily.