Book: The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
Release Date: April 7th 2020
Tags: Adult | Horror | Supernatural | Paranormal | Historical Fiction | The Eighties | The Nineties | Book Club | Housewives | Vampires
Trigger/Content Warnings: Assault | Murder | Death of a Loved One | Sexual Abuse with a Minor | Mentioned Domestic Abuse | Suicide Attempt | Decapitation | Described Rape | Victim Blaming
Patricia Campbell had always planned for a big life, but after giving up her career as a nurse to marry an ambitious doctor and become a mother, Patricia’s life has never felt smaller. The days are long, her kids are ungrateful, her husband is distant, and her to-do list is never really done. The one thing she has to look forward to is her book club, a group of Charleston mothers united only by their love for true-crime and suspenseful fiction. In these meetings, they’re more likely to discuss the FBI’s recent siege of Waco as much as the ups and downs of marriage and motherhood.
But when an artistic and sensitive stranger moves into the neighborhood, the book club’s meetings turn into speculation about the newcomer. Patricia is initially attracted to him, but when some local children go missing, she starts to suspect the newcomer is involved. She begins her own investigation, assuming that he’s a Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy. What she uncovers is far more terrifying, and soon she–and her book club–are the only people standing between the monster they’ve invited into their homes and their unsuspecting community.
I read The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires in two sittings on the same day. It is one of those books that is addicting. Where you want to know what is going to happen. Perfect for this time of year. I have a lot of things to say about this book but I can’t say everything because spoilers but I shall do my best.
My first impression of this book was a delicious, humoristic novel with a horror slow set-up where we meet the characters and get a sense for the danger coming. The first half of this book was for sure this kind of book but in the middle, when we jump 3 years ahead, this changes. It leaves the humor behind I feel. I understand why but I would have liked a few more tongue in cheek lines throughout the second half.
The situation before the 3 year jump I found hard to read. There is a ‘suicide attempt’ from our mc. I put that in brackets because it felt more like a stick it to the man. You think I’m crazy, I’ll show you crazy, kind of a thing. She didn’t want to die. I never got that impression. She didn’t know what to do in the situation she was in and she choose the worst possible option. That doesn’t really sit well with me. I guess it was the easiest way for the author to get from point B to point C. But was it really needed. I’m all for showing mental health but this feels really on the border for me because it is a manipulation.
Regardless of that I did really enjoy this book. Especially in the first part there is a strong friendship that starts between the women. The housewives who use the book club for their social interactions and find each other outside of that as well. And yet as soon as the men stepped in, that all broke apart.
Interestingly from a male author, this book had despicable male characters and outstanding women. I hated the men. With a passion. All of them. Of course we had our villain but honestly, he did not get my hate like their husbands did. ESPECIALLY Patricia’s husband Carter who is a manipulative piece of shit. I know this book is set at the end of the eighties and the start of the nineties and this was more normal, but my gosh what a piece of shit. Who goes to the hospital after their wives suicide attempt and tells her how shitty she is? But I’m glad at the end it gets challenged.