The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
Reviewed by GGGinny
What I drank: I decided to branch out and had red wine tonight. I know. Wild. But hey, whatever.
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.
Drunk Overview: first off. I read this for a book club and it started out SLOW. Ive read another book by Grady Hendrix and wasnt the biggest fan, but was willing to give this a try. Patricia is a housewife who befriends the new man in the neighborhood before she starts to believe he’s a vampire. He starts out preying on tbe nearby black neighborhood, assuming the children there will be easily missed. Unfortunately for Patricia and her book club friends (who she convinces that he’s evil), the vampire has gone into business with all of their husbands. There’s a time skip before Patricia realizes shes right, and the book club goes biblical (think Cain and Abel).
Drunk Thoughts: first off. Having read his other book, I had a decent idea of what to expect. The book is relatively slow paced with scenes that have a truly grotesque description (its horror, what did I expect) but I found the characters in this book to be really compelling.
- My favorite character was one of the women in the book club, Grace. Her husband is a shitbag and shebloves him. But the character was so distinct and specific that I loved when she was in a scene.
- The way the book club grew felt very organic to be. Ive been in book clubs where people are trying to read the books they’re “supposed to” and ones where people read their passioms and the one where people follow their passions is always better
- Oh, bit thing. Trigger warning for an off-screne rape. Its a bit traumatizing and frankly could have easily not happened, but you know that vrand of male writer who thinks its necessary to show “stakes”
- I thought Patricias kids lacked a little depth. One of them clearly needed help from very early on, but… 80s and 90s, what can you do other than let your son grow up to be a psychopath.
- I got really rationally angry at a couple of the scenes in this book (and yes, I said rationally), which was definitely the aim. This book goes fairly in depth into how women, especially housewives, were overlooked during this era.
- Which makes the end so much fun. I loved the way that these traditional housewife activities ended up being the thing that made a plan work.
- The vampire charactet was so interesting, in that he does a great kob of ingratiaying himself eith the neighborhood. If you find a few improtant people to vouch for you, you’re golden.
- I typically like books with a faster pace than this, but I think when it comes to horror, a slower pace is better because it lets the discomfory build. I was kever frightened by this book, but the anticipation did grow over the book in the way you would want for horror.
- Still, I kind of wish certain things had happened sooner.
- Also, fuck Patricias husband. What a jackass.
What I’d Pair it With: a deep red wine. Lots of tanins.
Rating: 3.5/5. Im still not a horror fan but I did enjoy this book for its characters