Book Review: The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires

Posted April 14, 2023 in Book Review

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Book Review: The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying VampiresThe Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
Published by Quirk Books on May 25, 2021
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Paranormal, Thriller, Vampires
Pages: 424
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781683692515
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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.

I found The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires while browsing Goodreads. I then went to my local bookshop (I actually work next door to our local bookshop) and asked if they could order it for me. Oh man, am I glad that I did!

“A reader lives many lives,” James Harris said. “The person who doesn’t read lives but one.”

Grady Hendrix, The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires

Trigger Warning: There is mention of sexual and domestic abuse but those do take place off-page.

From the first chapter, I was drawn to the story and its characters. With each passing chapter, the book got more and more complex. From a neighbor eating part of Patricia’s (the main character’s) ear to breaking and entering homes, and lastly killing a vampire.

“You’d rather get stabbed forty-one times than ruin the curb appeal of your home?” Maryellen asked.
“Yes,” Grace said.”

Grady Hendrix, The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires

There are various themes throughout the book that can reflect the world today even though the book’s setting is in the 1980s and 1990s. Patricia seems to have to fight the social norms and the day and will do anything to protect her family. Even if it at times alienates her from her own friends.

“Isn’t that how every serial killer gets away with it for so long?” Patricia asked. “Everyone ignores the little things and Ted Bundy keeps killing women until finally someone does what they should have done in the first place and connects the little things that didn’t add up, but by then it’s too late.”

Grady Hendrix, The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires

Overall if you are looking for a horror book that truly keeps you engaged in the story then The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires is for you. It offers a solid plot as well as good character and world-building.

About Grady Hendrix

Grady Hendrix

Grady Hendrix is an American author, journalist, public speaker, and screenwriter known for his best-selling 2014 novel Horrorstör. Hendrix lives in Manhattan and was one of the founders of the New York Asian Film Festival.

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