Thursday, April 30, 2020

I Always Knew Neighbors Could Be Dangerous!

TITLE: The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires
AUTHOR: Grady Hendrix
PUBLISHER: Quirk Books
PUBLISHING DATE: April 7, 2020


Fried Green Tomatoes and Steel Magnolias meet Dracula in this Southern-flavored supernatural thriller set in the '90s about a women's book club that must protect its suburban community from a mysterious and handsome stranger who turns out to be a blood-sucking fiend. 

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.

Wow, I almost don't know where to start with this one.  I can open by saying two things though.  Grady Hendrix knows how to pack a punch but what does he have against dogs?

The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires takes place in the 90's in a suburban neighborhood of Charleston.  While it is in no way a sequel or even a companion piece to My Best Friend's Exorcism, it does take place in the same neighborhood. Having read both, it makes me glad I never lived there because I bet there is a hidden burial ground beneath all those homes.  Patricia Campbell is our MC and she and her friends have a monthly book club.  However, instead of reading the modern classics like some other book clubs, they prefer crime novel and non-fiction about serial killers. 

The book club is about the only excitement these women get. The rest of their lives are spent taking care of their houses, their husbands and their children.  They don't have a career unless you count being a housewife a full-time job.  Which I do but their husbands clearly do not.  One day a mysterious man moves into the neighborhood.  Soon afterward Patricia is attacked while taking out the garbage and this man's relative ends up biting off a piece of Patricia's ear and then dying.  Slowly but surely Patricia begins to suspect that James Harris is more than meets the eye.  And she has to rely on her friends and her family to save the neighborhood, as well as a bordering neighborhood, from losing everything.

While this book is clearly a horror novel, Hendrix also infuses some social commentary. Below the horror in this book is a tale about race, feminism and stereotypes.  I loved all of the women in this book.  Patricia slowly comes into her own as the book progresses.  Her friends, while they have their issues, also show character development and by the end of the book, I grew quite attached to them as well.  Now the men, I disliked all of them.  They took their wives for granted and basically felt their places wer in the home and in the kitchen.  And while we pretty much know that James Harris is a horrible monster, I almost felt that Patricia's husband Carter, was almost as bad.  At one point in the book, Patricia has been deathly ill after something takes place in the book.  Upon her awakening, her husband exclaims in one breath that he was worried and was getting ready to take her to the hospital and in the other was distraught because James Harris was missing and she needed to help him find the man.  I also have to mention Patricia's kids. They are both annoying teenagers, as most are, but they are made worse by the fact that they are under vampiric influences.

So needless to say, yes I loved this book.  I devoured it and even though there is a scene in which the family dog, Ragtag, almost meets his demise, it was done while protecting his family and his family stepped up and took care of him once the incident was over.  So all is forgiven Mr. Hendrix.  Except for Max, and well, that's another story completely.

If you are looking for a horror book that can be described as charming as well as gory, then look no further and go read this book now.  There's so much more I could say but I'll let you discover the joys of this book for yourself.



  1. I've also seen a lot of readers mentioning how they felt the husbands were as much the villains as the vampire, and I gotta say I agree! Great review!

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

  2. I didn't realise Grady Hendrix was the author of this, so I appreciate the heads up on what happens to Max. Other than the dog issues, I actually like this, and I like the social commentary beneath it all wrapped up in a story about vampires!

  3. Ooh, such a great rating - I've picked this up on audio so I'm excited to get started now.
    Lynn :D

  4. Awesome review, Barb! I love everything Grady Hendrix writes, and this is up there with We Sold Our Souls. Also, I love his female characters way more than his male characters 😁

  5. This sounds like an incredible read!

  6. I am going to have to get this one. I didn't love My Best Friend's Exorcism but maybe that had something to do with the dog (I don't remember). This sounds like fun!

  7. Aah, I can't wait to read this!! I have it on my list for May so I'm really hoping I get to it.

  8. I thought this one sounded so fun - glad to hear you loved it!

  9. Awesome review. And thanks for the heads up about the dog. I'll be prepared when I read this. It's a bit pricey for an eBook but I'm thinking I'll grab it! I really liked one of his other books, Horrorstor.

  10. I'm so looking forward to getting my paperback copy of this one! Great review and thanks for the dog alert!

  11. Possible hidden burial grounds beneath each home, you say? Point me to where this takes place! I obviously need to become a landowner there. For ... research purposes.

    This book sounds soooo good. I'm so upset that I'm late reading this book, but it's been absolute chaos here and I'm behind on everything again. T_T I just love every part of your review (and this very much reminds me of my Southern book club, which makes me giggle). Can't wait to pick this one up!

  12. Like I said earlier (because I am doing my usual backwards comment vomiting, ha ha) I had no idea this was a Hendrix book! Now I want to read it even more. 😁 And yes... poor Max. 😢