I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Quirk Books on April 7, 2020
Genres: Fiction, Horror, Thrillers, Supernatural, Southern
Format: ARC, Paperback
Buy on Amazon
Steel Magnolias meets Dracula in this '90s-set horror novel about a women's book club that must do battle with a mysterious newcomer to their small Southern town, perfect for murderinos and fans of Stephen King. 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.
The Southern Book Clubs Guide To Slaying Vampires is a truly unforgettable book and its insane ability to make you feel everything. The intensity and the raw and gritty edge this book has over other Vampire books that you feel so wrought -out – think running a marathon! This is my first outing into a Hendrix novel and I know it won’t be my last. I have an addiction and Hendrix is my fiction dealer! Be prepared for a journey back to the nineties – big hair, outrageous florals and blood sucking vampires.
Patricia Campbell is your perfect host, mother and wife. On the surface she has it all…Doctor husband trying to make head of psychiatry. Two gorgeous children, even if they are somewhat challenging. The perfect house. Her book club, the only thing that gives her stimulation out with her regimented life. Whilst wishing something outrageous would happen in her life and shake it up a bit, in walks a handsome stranger by the name of James. Scratch beneath the surface and you find that Patricia is the perfect case study of what happens when the cracks emerge in a marriage, in sanity and the daily pressures that being the rock of a family puts a mother under. The situation is far from normal, but James is her reality check.
Patricia tries to convince her book club friends of the real danger that James is emitting onto their tight knit community. Things go awry and the men in their lives excert control and manipulation over them. A real case of gaslighting and abuse, but the women accept it because it’s their role. The assumption that they do nothing all day whilst they are out bringing home the bacon is a very dangerous narrative, but it was normalcy within the time the book I set in. After her apparent embarrassment of her husband and her children, what is left is a struggling woman. She drowns in her hopelessness and you cant help but feel her despair at the situation, she really made me think “what would I do?”
A Southern Book Clubs Guide To Slaying Vampires had me laughing, asking questions and feeling envious of that nineties southern hospitality that seems lost on us now. James is a stranger that seems to have everyone fooled especially the husbands. Patricia is the only one that can connect the dots. Yes, it seems crazy and yes it seems out of touch from the man his character personifies but she is so damn sure of her conclusion that it hurts that people won’t take action. She will. She’ll make them all see. She is faced with an impossible choice, family or obsession? Patricia has her flaws but that’s what made her so relatable, it was fascinating. Hendrix had inserted these flaws with sublime accuracy that had my mind exploding.
The scene in the attic had my skin crawling – Bravo Mr. Hendrix. My spine stiffened, my stomach curdled – I was gripped and engrossed and at the same time I wanted to close my eyes. The characterisation was perfect, the world building was fantastic and suited the threatening edge of evil within The Southern Book Clubs Guide To Slaying Vampires that was pushing into normal families lives and sucking the oxygen from everything they knew.
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires has redefined the vampire horror novel. It will hook you in with its atmospheric setting and Hendrix deliciously ramps up the tension to a dramatic climax.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Like gravity, or ugly people, Grady Hendrix is hard to escape, especially here on his website. In this place, he is all up in your areas and he even wrote the words that you are reading right now. When you are on his website, he can see you. He can see you right now.
If you want to contact him then send him an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Grady Hendrix writes fiction, also called “lies,” and he writes non-fiction, which people sometimes accidentally pay him for. He is the author of Horrorstör, the only novel about a haunted Scandinavian furniture store you’ll ever need. NPR selected it as one of the best books of 2014 and it has been translated into 14 languages and is being turned into a television show by Gail Berman (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), and Josh Schwartz (Gossip Girl). They have never met Grady, but that is their loss.
His novel My Best Friend’s Exorcism, about demonic possession, friendship, exorcism, and the Eighties, is basically Beaches meets The Exorcist and it caused the Wall Street Journal to call him “a national treasure” and received rave reviews from everyone from Kirkus to Southern Living.
He also wrote Paperbacks from Hell, a history of the horror paperback boom in the Seventies and Eighties that followed the success of Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist, and Thomas Tryon’s The Other. It is so popular it won a Stoker Award, and while you may not know what that is, trust me when I say that it is a big, big deal that gets Grady 20% off all purchases at the Franklin Mint.
His latest novel is We Sold Our Souls, a heavy metal take on the Faust legend, which hit bookstores in 2018 and got selected as one of the best books of 2018 by Library Journal, the Chicago Public library, and his mom. It’s also one of Locus’s recommended novels of 2018 and earned him an article in the Los Angeles Review of Books that makes him sound like some kind of smart person or something. He’s not.
Grady Hendrix used to be a journalist, which means that he was completely irrelevant and could be killed and turned into food at any time. He is one of the founders of the New York Asian Film Festival, but he is not responsible for the bad parts of it. He is also not Asian. For years he was a regular film critic for the New York Sun but then it went out of business. He has written for Playboy Magazine, Slate, The Village Voice, the New York Post, Film Comment, and Variety. He has a hard time making up his mind.
There is a science fiction book called Occupy Space that he is the author of, and also a fantasy book called Satan Loves You which he wrote as well. Along with his BFF from high school, Katie Crouch, he is the co-author of the YA series, The Magnolia League. He co-authored Dirt Candy: A Cookbook, the first graphic novel cookbook in America, with his wife and Ryan Dunlavey. It’s now in its seventh printing which means that at least 24 people have bought a copy. His fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons, Pseudopod, and the anthology, The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination.
He is very, very beautiful, but if you ever meet him, please do not let this make you uncomfortable. He does not judge.
The New Yorker once ran a short profile of him, and this means that when the time comes and they are lining people up for the Space Arks he will be guaranteed a seat ahead of you.
I just got an audiobook of this, in hopes that will help me get to it sooner. But I can’t wait either way! Great review!