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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 a 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.


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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 a 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.

30 review for The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kai

    People's refusal to see sexism and harmful representation when it looks them straight in the face is what led this book to have such great reviews. Some even applaud the (male) author for being so good at writing female characters and I sit here flabbergasted, trying make my brain comprehend how they came to that conclusion. Let's get the obvious out of the way: I'm a white man so clearly my perspective is limited. I'm stating how I perceived the book and as someone who is super keen to read book People's refusal to see sexism and harmful representation when it looks them straight in the face is what led this book to have such great reviews. Some even applaud the (male) author for being so good at writing female characters and I sit here flabbergasted, trying make my brain comprehend how they came to that conclusion. Let's get the obvious out of the way: I'm a white man so clearly my perspective is limited. I'm stating how I perceived the book and as someone who is super keen to read books by authors (preferably OwnVoices) that care about good representation, this one fell awfully flat. Did a big ugly noise when it landed, too. Most people that left reviews on here seem to be white as well, which might explain the missing criticism of the representation of women, but especially POCs in this book. I was so excited to read it. The title tells you everything you need to know about the book and the cover is gorgeous. It's a quick read and I finished it in less than a day (mostly because I wanted to get it over with and didn't want to have to pick it up again the next day). But honestly, the first 200 pages or so were decent. I enjoyed myself. I noticed that the Black characters in the book were only ever unnamed waiters or caregivers without speaking roles and it felt iffy, but I was ready to give the author the benefit of the doubt. He still had a lot of pages to turn things around. I guess what's helpful to know is that the book is set in America's Deep South in the 80's and 90's. But the author took that as an excuse to push Black characters to the sidelines. Mrs Greene, a Black woman hired to take care of the main character's mother, eventually becomes part of the vampire slaying book club, but the white saviour narrative displayed in the book is still tasteless. To add insult to injury, it seems like the evil vampire is also a racist one because he only ever murders Black people. And this leads us to another role that Black characters had in the novel: to be killed. Either through lynchings or through the hands of the vampire. And of course all Black people in the book lived in a poor settlement where the female white main characters had to be scared to walk the streets. Now you can cry "BUT historical accuracy!" but honestly, there's a vampire in this book, so your argument is invalid. If a vampire is more realistic than a Black person with a degree or a nice suburban house, there's definitely something wrong. I could probably say more but one of the reasons why I was so attentive when it came to the representation was Mikki Kendall's Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot, which was the last book I read before I picked this one up. While the two books aren't at all related, Mikki Kendall's essays about structural racism, privilege, white feminism, etc. made a stark contrast to this Vampire slaying book. So I guess what I'm saying is, if you're still debating reading The Southern Book Club's Guide to Vampire Slaying, consider picking up Hood Feminism instead. I do want to talk about the presentation of the female characters though. I've seen a few reviewers call the characters one dimensional and crude, which is accurate. I guess the more I read, the less willing I was to let things slide and soon both plot and characters completely deteriorated. None of these women seemed to be able to pick a husband that isn't a dick, none of them gave a damn about female friendships and they acted irrationally around their children, too. I'm not advocating for female characters to be respectable so they can be called feminist. That's not how it works. But when you intend to write good rep and this is all you come up with, then that's not exactly what I would call fully fleshed complex female characters. But of course, this male horror author had to go one step further. Of course he had to make unnecessary comments about their breasts and pubes, of course horror wouldn't be horror if female characters didn't experience physical violation of their bodies in the form of rape and abuse. No, your book is not feminist just because your female characters say "That's sexist" once. I'm really tired of horror authors relying on tropes like the violation of women's bodies (and Nazi symbolism, just to throw that in too) to create discomfort. It's like comedians that can only be "funny" when they ridicule women and marginalised people. Oh one thing I'd like to add: this, let's call it "shortcoming" is not just the author's fault. We tend to forget that behind a published book there's a team of editors, there's a publisher that decided to give the book a nice cover and release it the way it was. It's this whole industry that needs to do better, that needs to check their priorities and their privilege. Or else we'll get more questionable books like this. At the end of the day there was no room left for any shred of patience on my part, which is why I'm giving this a really bitter rating of one star.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Emily May

    Then she got in her Volvo and hoped Grace was right and this was all just a product of the overactive imagination of a stupid little housewife with too much free time on her hands. If it was, she promised herself, tomorrow she would vacuum her curtains. I FREAKIN' LOVED THIS. I loved every single dark, funny, gory minute of this book. I'm in no way qualified to talk about best and worst books, but I can say with absolute certainty that this is my favourite book so far this year. For the first Then she got in her Volvo and hoped Grace was right and this was all just a product of the overactive imagination of a stupid little housewife with too much free time on her hands. If it was, she promised herself, tomorrow she would vacuum her curtains. I FREAKIN' LOVED THIS. I loved every single dark, funny, gory minute of this book. I'm in no way qualified to talk about best and worst books, but I can say with absolute certainty that this is my favourite book so far this year. For the first few chapters of The Southern Book Club, I thought I had it pegged as the easiest, breeziest, sweet tea & pecan pie of a novel. A kind of True Blood, if Sookie Stackhouse was ten years older and ran a book club. Which, don't get me wrong, sounds utterly fabulous, but it actually ended up being way more than I expected. It goes to some really dark places, so a quick warning to those sensitive to sexual assault and domestic abuse (off-page). I'm not quite sure how best to describe this. In some ways, it's a heartwarming and funny story about a - you guessed it - Southern book club. There's so much female friendship and a good few laughs, but despite how the title and cover look, it isn't campy like I feared. In fact, as well as being fun, this book made me really frustrated and angry in parts. I hate it (and can't stop angry-reading) when women are patronized and gaslighted. Reading about gaslighting really makes me anxious, and the way the women in this book are talked down to because they are "silly" housewives made my blood boil. But that's the whole point. In the author's note, Hendrix states that he "wanted to pit Dracula against my mom". It's a nod to those women who carry out the majority of the childcare and household chores, as well as shouldering the emotional burden. And, hell, these housewives might vacuum their curtains and freeze 60 sandwiches at the beginning of the month for school lunches, but they have some serious claws. In every book we read, no one ever thought anything bad was happening until it was too late. This is where we live, it’s where our children live, it’s our home. Don’t you want to do absolutely everything you can to keep it safe?” Patricia has read enough true crime novels to know a threat when she sees it. So when a mysterious stranger comes to town and threatens their neighborhood and their children, Patrica, Kitty, Maryellen, Slick, Grace and Mrs. Greene are absolutely NOT about to take it lying down. God, I love these women. They're not the stereotypical "badass heroines", which makes them so truly, genuinely badass. The book lightly pokes fun at them, but in a warm, good-natured way. “How’s your ear?” “She swallowed part of it,” Patricia said. “I’m so sorry,” Slick said. “Those really were nice earrings.” Normally I would summarize at the end of my review by saying how "fun" or "intense" or "moving" it was, but I don't know which angle to go for because this book was all those things. This book made me laugh and it made me anxious and I just loved it. It's too bad that it ended in a perfect place because I would definitely sign up for a Southern Book Club series. Facebook | Instagram

  3. 4 out of 5

    Grady Hendrix

    I really think that Grady Hendrix has written his best book yet, and he did it all while dressed as a penguin. Not a lot of people know this, but in the two years it took him to write SOUTHERN BOOK CLUB he wore the exact same penguin costume every day while he wrote. By the time this book was finished that costume was a rancid, disgusting mess and he had to have it pulled from his body by hooks and burned because it was a biohazard.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kat

    no!!!! i think the fuck not!!! (shoutout to zac for journeying through the madness w me tho!)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    My vote for Goodreads choice awards for horror genre! I truly deeply madly in love with this book! More than five gazillion stars! Somebody has to stop my fingers adding entire books of the author to my nearly collapsing Mount TBR! But I cannot stop with only one book. Can I? They defined this book as mash up of Steel Magnolias-Fried Green Tomatoes and Dracula! No, sir: this is Stepford Wives and Southern Desperate Housewives meet True Blood! This book is not easy, entertaining reading! It is so My vote for Goodreads choice awards for horror genre! I truly deeply madly in love with this book! More than five gazillion stars! Somebody has to stop my fingers adding entire books of the author to my nearly collapsing Mount TBR! But I cannot stop with only one book. Can I? They defined this book as mash up of Steel Magnolias-Fried Green Tomatoes and Dracula! No, sir: this is Stepford Wives and Southern Desperate Housewives meet True Blood! This book is not easy, entertaining reading! It is so smart, gruesome, wild, bloody blended with dark humor, sarcasm, criticizing of the role of wives and structures of marriage. But I may tell you this is epic and darkly heart wrenching women friendship book. Their bonding reminded me of Thelma and Louise’s last scene and filled my eyes in tears! Five regular Southern housewives (at least that’s what their moron husbands think about them!) start a book club to read true crime stories and discuss them! (See! There is nothing ordinary about them. They know their dark sides and they also know how to retrain it!) Welcome to 90’s Charleston! The story is narrated by Patricia Campbell, one of the members of the book club. She gave up her career as a nurse and married with extremely workaholic and arrogant husband but at least she has young teenage daughter who disrespects her and younger son who is obsessed with Third Reich! And her mother-in-law moved indefinitely to their house, suffers from dementia and is adamant to turn her life into her. But thankfully the other book club members (also her true friends and confidantes right now!) intervened and find Mrs. Greene to help her take care of her mother-in-law. She is not really happy with her life and the books she read and growing friendship with the girls are the only things brighten her mood. Maybe her life doesn’t suck like she thinks but WAIT FOR IT! Did HER ELDER NEIGHBOR ATTACK HER AND RIP HER EARLOBE? Yes, weird things can happen in South and stays in South as well! Then her not so nice elderly neighbor dies at the hospital so she pays a visit to her house, carrying a casserole because she’s told, her neighbor’s nephew came to town to take care of her. She meets with charming nephew James (actually she finds him lie on the bed and she thinks he might be dead so she performs CPR! Another interesting way to welcome your new neighbor!) and after his friendly revisit to her house, she gets attracted to him even though her mother-in-law screams a lot when she sees him at their house and confuses the guy with her father’s killer. Patricia invites James to her book club, helps her to open a proper bank account, drives him to help for daily errands but after her mother-in-law’s suspicious dying (those parts of the book were really disgusting and gruesome! I advise to read those pages with empty stomach!) and local kid’s missing, she starts to get suspicious about her charming new neighbor/friend/crush’s involvement to local kid’s suicides. But of course when she shares her theory with her besties, they are silenced by their know-it-all husbands who are invested with James’ inventive ideas and quite large amount of money Patricia isn’t sure where they came from! The wives kept their silence till their children’s lives are also in danger. Could they stop this dangerous man? Is he a real man or is he a kind of supernatural creature? Let’s find out! I have to admit I loved those girls: Slick, Kitty, Grace, Maryellen and let’s not forget the last addition of their club: dear Mrs. Greene! I loved their quirky antics, their loyalty and their secret badass power they’re forced to hide because of their husbands’ mental or physical abuse! Even though this was harsh, bumpy, bloody reading, I enjoyed every second of it and I wished it would never end! Some of the producers should wake up and realize this book is secret gem and it is needed to be adapted into streaming series. (Especially the heart wrenching story about bitter peaches was remarkable and unforgettable part of this book!) Overall: I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT! This is one of the best books of the year! Go on, get it and read it! blog instagram facebook twitter

  6. 4 out of 5

    Miranda Reads

    Patricia Campbell remembers what life was like before she gave into motherhood - she was an amazing nurse and strong-willed. But marriage changed all that. She's now a stay-at-home mom and with the way her husband treats her...it is a sobering thought, the life that's ahead of her. But at least she has book club. Every meeting they go over the latest true-crime or grisly detective book. It is the one time that Patricia feels like herself. And then...HE moved in. The new neighbor. At first it was Patricia Campbell remembers what life was like before she gave into motherhood - she was an amazing nurse and strong-willed. But marriage changed all that. She's now a stay-at-home mom and with the way her husband treats her...it is a sobering thought, the life that's ahead of her. But at least she has book club. Every meeting they go over the latest true-crime or grisly detective book. It is the one time that Patricia feels like herself. And then...HE moved in. The new neighbor. At first it was the little things - he misplaced his ID and legal documents. He has a severe sun allergy. But then those little things snowballed - children from the next town over are being taken. And Patricia begins to wonder...what if it was all true? What if that "nice" neighbor is a monster? And what could she possibly do against that in a world full of smartphones and science? OMG. So, I picked this one up because I saw it on the GRs Nominee list...oh my gosh. It was SOOOO good. WORTH. IT. I LOVED the way this book was set up - the girls in the book club, the weirdness of the neighbor- it all worked so well. I was so thrown by the way the plot went too. I never knew what was going to happen next and I was LIVING ,for that. About halfway through, I had to put the book down because I was SO stressed by it. Also - that ending. Perfection. Sheer perfection! YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Snapchat @miranda_reads

  7. 5 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    Patricia Campbell has a full life, but she doesn't necessarily consider it fulfilling. With the majority of her time being dedicated to her family, the one thing she has for herself are the evenings she spends with her friends, the ladies of the 'Murderinos' Book Club. The Club consists of like-minded Southern housewives, who discuss True Crime and other less savory topics. Cleverly, different sections of the book are titled after real-life True Crime books. These are based upon what the Club is r Patricia Campbell has a full life, but she doesn't necessarily consider it fulfilling. With the majority of her time being dedicated to her family, the one thing she has for herself are the evenings she spends with her friends, the ladies of the 'Murderinos' Book Club. The Club consists of like-minded Southern housewives, who discuss True Crime and other less savory topics. Cleverly, different sections of the book are titled after real-life True Crime books. These are based upon what the Club is reading during the period of time we are following in the novel. Thank you, Grady Hendrix, for adding to my already infinite TBR with some of these True Crime titles. It's the early-1990s and in their conservative neighborhood, just outside of Charleston, South Carolina, it sounds better to say their Club is a Bible Study. So, that's exactly what they say. It raises a lot less eyebrows that way. When a handsome stranger moves to town, Patricia is intrigued and oddly enough, he seems interested in joining the conversation. Patricia, in neighborly good spirits, invites him along to her Book Club. After all, how much harm could his presence possibly cause? The closer Patricia gets to this man, James Harris, the more she seems to notice something's not quite right about him. Patricia's live-in mother-in-law seems to take an instant dislike to the man; possibly confusing him with someone from her past. No doubt a symptom of her dementia, but there are other things too. As local children start disappearing, rumors of a Boogie Man luring them into the woods begin to surface. Patricia, spurred on by the woman who once offered care to her mother-in-law, begins an investigation of her own. She suspects James may be behind the horrific events, but will anyone believe her? Luckily, Patricia does have some true friends within her Book Club and the ladies team up to get to the bottom of the mystery that is, James Harris. Guys, I LOVED this book so much! The dynamics amongst the ladies in the Book Club gave me life! I adored their friendships, Southern charm and humor, as well as the early-90s setting. Hendrix writes Horror Comedy so well, somehow making it lighthearted, yet horrifying at the same time. It's really quite a skill. There was also a certain scene in here, occurring during Patricia's investigation, that was hands down, one of the most cringe-worthy scenes I have EVER read in my life. That sh*t would make Stephen King proud. It was legit, skin-crawling, gagging, exclaiming while I'm reading, good. I listened to the audiobook for this read, having since purchased a hard copy. I know I will be reading this again. Side note, it just so happens, which I didn't know going in, that this is voiced by my favorite narrator of all time, Bahni Turpin, who is an absolute goddess! If you are considering listening to the audio, I absolutely recommend it. A++ performance! Overall, this book knocked it out of the park. An easy 5-stars from me. Believe the hype.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Claudia Ramírez

    But more like 4.5 stars. I LOVED THIS.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    DNF @ 63% Go ahead, call me a quitter. I can take it. In fact, I own it. Touted as Fried Green Tomatoes and Steel Magnolias meet Dracula—unfounded comparisons in my opinion—this novel at times felt like too much, yet somehow not enough. Much like the bored housewives within these pages who find themselves bogged down with daily chores, family obligations, child-rearing, and their sexist and controlling husbands, I yearned for more. The author loosely connects these women with a book club that take DNF @ 63% Go ahead, call me a quitter. I can take it. In fact, I own it. Touted as Fried Green Tomatoes and Steel Magnolias meet Dracula—unfounded comparisons in my opinion—this novel at times felt like too much, yet somehow not enough. Much like the bored housewives within these pages who find themselves bogged down with daily chores, family obligations, child-rearing, and their sexist and controlling husbands, I yearned for more. The author loosely connects these women with a book club that takes on a few iterations as the story progresses, but doesn't necessarily feed into the entirety of the story. In my mind, I envisioned tough broads with some semblance of sisterhood and instead was faced with wishy-washy support at best. This is a novel about women, written by a man, and from someone who frequents the women's fiction space, it shows. There are some gory (which I didn't mind) and cheeky moments that give life to the storyline, but I found the impact was lessened by the various topics introduced. The author hits pause on the vampire aspect of the storyline to touch on sexism, misogyny, suicide, social inequality, racism, child abuse, domestic abuse, and controlling behavior. I so badly wanted the author to pick a lane. Was he trying to relay the story of women slaying vampires or making some misguided attempt to give every issue page time? At 63% no slaying had taken place. Don't even get me started on the insectoid appendage. It very well may be that this novel comes together for a spectacular conclusion, but the wonky execution thus far leads me to believe not. And honestly, I don’t care enough to stick it out. *Thank you to Quirk Books for providing a review copy in exchange for sharing my honest thoughts.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea Humphrey

    Yes, there were some gruesome moments, but the shiny appeal that this book brought was the portrayal of the resilience and underestimated power of the "common" housewife. *Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy. Yes, there were some gruesome moments, but the shiny appeal that this book brought was the portrayal of the resilience and underestimated power of the "common" housewife. *Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    UPDATE: $3.99 Kindle US today 10/25/20 I wanted to smack everyone in this damn book! But that ending was 5 star crazy don’t mess with the ladies! Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾 UPDATE: $3.99 Kindle US today 10/25/20 I wanted to smack everyone in this damn book! But that ending was 5 star crazy don’t mess with the ladies! Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

  12. 4 out of 5

    Yun

    I know I shouldn't judge a book by its title, but The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires got me real good. It sounds like a fun, lighthearted take on slaying vampires, mixed in with some Southern hospitality and book club joviality. And it started out that way. But then it went somewhere else altogether. If I were to sum up this book with two words, it would be gory and gross. Every time I picked it up, I would read some passages on rats eating people alive, or cockroaches wiggling in I know I shouldn't judge a book by its title, but The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires got me real good. It sounds like a fun, lighthearted take on slaying vampires, mixed in with some Southern hospitality and book club joviality. And it started out that way. But then it went somewhere else altogether. If I were to sum up this book with two words, it would be gory and gross. Every time I picked it up, I would read some passages on rats eating people alive, or cockroaches wiggling into people's ears, or blood-sucking appendages flopping out of people's mouths, and I just wanted to hide my eyes. One time I made the mistake of eating while reading (one of my favorite activity combos), and I couldn't get my gag reflexes to stop for a long time afterwards. But it wasn't just the gore that turned me off. I also found this book to be overwritten. There were moments when it was supposed to be serious, like with the women rallying together or the bad guy taking a last stand, and I just cringed at the cheesy dialog. It sounded so fake to me during what should've been emotionally pivotal moments. And this book had the dumbest, most slow-witted characters I have ever read. When presented with evidence of something strange going on, they just refused to believe, over and over. Sure, in real life, if someone told me there's a vampire loose and they had evidence, I would be skeptical. But this is fiction! I don't want to spent 80% of the book reading about non-believers doubting and being negative Nancys. What a downer. But don't let my review dissuade you. So many people have loved this book, so I think this is a serious case of this book just not being for this reader. However, not all is a loss; I do walk away with something. I have set a personal record: the longest time it has taken me to get through a book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    karen

    oooh, goodreads choice awards finalist for best horror 2020! what will happen? "I am not sure what the appropriate gesture is to make toward the family of the woman who bit off your ear, but if you felt absolutely compelled, I certainly wouldn’t take food.” the thing that i am always forgetting about grady hendrix is that although his books have these zany and hilarious premises and are all decked out in wink-nudgey cover design: haunted ikea! teengirl exorcism!—like Beaches meets The Exorcist, onl oooh, goodreads choice awards finalist for best horror 2020! what will happen? "I am not sure what the appropriate gesture is to make toward the family of the woman who bit off your ear, but if you felt absolutely compelled, I certainly wouldn’t take food.” the thing that i am always forgetting about grady hendrix is that although his books have these zany and hilarious premises and are all decked out in wink-nudgey cover design: haunted ikea! teengirl exorcism!—like Beaches meets The Exorcist, only it's set in the Eighties! monsters of metal! the stories themselves are not played for laffs. that’s not to say there’s never anything funny in them, but they’re not the campy adventures the covers might lead you to expect. this one, for example, pitched as “Fried Green Tomatoes and Steel Magnolias meet Dracula” sounds like pure farce: a ‘bless your heart’ southern ladies’ book club whose town is infiltrated by a bloodsucking creature. it conjures up images of well-mannered housewives whittling their rolling pin handles into shanks, but the novel's actual humor is much drier; the sort where the club's guilty-pleasure true crime tastes are glossed into respectability: ”We just read a wonderful book about life in a small Guyanese town in the 1970s.” She didn’t mention that it was Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People. his books are also always a little less horror-focused than i’m expecting. he tends to use horror themes as seasoning; many bad things happen here—missing children, suicide, domestic abuse, rape, deep-fried sexism and racism—but the supernatural influence is only responsible for a portion of the evil. it's somewhat lynchean in theme if not execution—dark forces going unnoticed in everyday life, which—once acknowledged—become more powerful, impossible to unsee. this was, to me, the least-scary of his books so far, although it is possible that i would have felt differently about it had i read it at any time other than mid-pandemic, my queens neighborhood surrounded by several of the hardest-hit zip codes. it's hard to be affected by horror while living in a nightmare. it's not an eek-scare book, but it has one of the best inspiration-stories i've seen. from the author’s note: This is also a book about vampires. They’re that iconic American archetype of the rambling man, wearing denim, wandering from town to town with no past and no ties. Think Jack Kerouac, think Shane, think Woody Guthrie. Think Ted Bundy. Because vampires are the original serial killers, stripped of everything that makes us human—they have no friends, no family, no roots, no children. All they have is hunger. They eat and eat but they’re never full. With this book, I wanted to pit a man freed from all responsibilities but his appetites against women whose lives are shaped by their endless responsibilities. I wanted to pit Dracula against my mom. As you’ll see, it’s not a fair fight i love this whole idea of reimagining the vampire as a serial killer. a while back i read Quiet Dell, based on the crimes of harry powers; a drifter in the 1930s who targeted widows through lonely hearts ads, charming his way into their lives before taking their money and murdering them. that's the first thing i thought of after reading this introduction—envisioning harry as a more literal beast preying on the most vulnerable. and to have such a man cross paths with a (mostly) true crime book club of women who are underestimated by their husbands and indoctrinated in politeness, one of whom wishes "something exciting" would happen to her, is the icing on the (three layer, perfectly frosted) cake—anything they suspect about this fella, any accusations made can be dampened by gaslighting, written off as hysteria, explained away by the susceptibility of bored, silly minds exposed to the lurid trash they read. it's set up to be this perfect storm of genres and themes and conflicts, but it doesn't quite shazam. i love that the entity is a little newfangled spin on the traditional, but the character work of developing the women apart from patricia is pretty bare and there is some…prolonged downtime in this book, where nothing much is happening, or rather, nothing is building; and then there's a time-jump, and it's all a little messy and uneven. there are definitely standout scenes that get intense. like v.c. andrews, everything that happens in the attic is gross and wrong and full of things going into places they have no business going. i’ve always had squeam when it comes to eye-horror, but this is my first time ever squirming over ear-horror, which was not the ear-biting referenced in that opening quote. you'll know it when you read it. as a preview, here’s a (relatively) cute version of aural invasion. it’s cute if you think, like i did at first, that it’s a ring-tailed lemur in some sort of cave but then OH NOOOOO! i liked it more than it sounds like i did here, but less than i expected to like it. but again, everything is broken, so it's probably me reading it wrong. you will tell me how wrong i am. trigger warning: the destruction of a library book. ************************************ i love how committed grady hendrix is to design. and details. please admire this underthecover stamp: ************************************** over a cliff, grady hendrix... come to my blog!

  14. 5 out of 5

    David Putnam

    I struggled with the rating of this book between three and four stars (so 3.5). I loved the opening, the voice of the character. The story was light and engaging. The characters are unique and the repartee real and enjoyable. I knew the premise of this book going in. I have always said that I will read anything-any genre as long as it is written well. Having said that I am not a big fan of vampire stories (although I truly loved The Passage and that was a vampire book of sorts). This author is g I struggled with the rating of this book between three and four stars (so 3.5). I loved the opening, the voice of the character. The story was light and engaging. The characters are unique and the repartee real and enjoyable. I knew the premise of this book going in. I have always said that I will read anything-any genre as long as it is written well. Having said that I am not a big fan of vampire stories (although I truly loved The Passage and that was a vampire book of sorts). This author is great at his wordsmith and has solid writing craft. For me the opening of the book should be a contract with the reader as far as what the rest of the book is going to be like. The story starts off light and fun and then quickly devolves into horror. This story is more of a crime drama with a serial killer with an amateur or reluctant sleuth and is not for the faint of heart. The story is a little too predictable. So basically I had been expecting a different kind of vampire book one a little light and fluffy (if that's possible with a vampire story) and a character with a great voice. The voice is there and the light part is for the first half. Love the cover by way, great construction and graphics. If you love vampire books I highly recommend this one. David Putnam author of The Bruno Johnson Series.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Brenda ~Traveling Sisters Book Reviews

    4.5 stars YaHoo!! Hot Diggity Dang! This is one brilliantly done story!!! So how does what seems like a stereotyped, sexist story about southern woman in a book club turn into a skin-crawling, blood soaking story? Then turn into a refreshing, powering, brilliantly houmous story with meaningful character development. Well, Grady Hendrix does some mightly fine footwork here, and I couldn't help but analyze this story. This one is not my normal story and one that was not on my radar to read, but aft 4.5 stars YaHoo!! Hot Diggity Dang! This is one brilliantly done story!!! So how does what seems like a stereotyped, sexist story about southern woman in a book club turn into a skin-crawling, blood soaking story? Then turn into a refreshing, powering, brilliantly houmous story with meaningful character development. Well, Grady Hendrix does some mightly fine footwork here, and I couldn't help but analyze this story. This one is not my normal story and one that was not on my radar to read, but after seeing how much fun some TS were having in a group read, that fear of missing out on a fun discussion had me joining in. That overthinker in me almost ruined the story, and that over-analyzer saved it for me along with my curiosity. I struggled at first with a few of those the gory scenes and with a darkly disturbing part to the story and almost did not finish, but I had to know why so many readers loved this one. Once the story hit that major turning point, everything started to become clear to me as to why! On the surface, this one is not what it seems, through the brilliantly layered southern humour, horrifying twists, what seems like stereotyped characters and insightful social commentary comes a powerful turning point in the story that made this one an eclectic sightful, thrilling and entertaining read. There is no doubt the story is over the top and highly fictionalized with the supernatural side to the story. It's all in the subtext here, and Hendrix draws parallels between a blood-sucking vampire and soul-sucking husbands here in this story along with sexism and racism through the actions of them. The strength of the story here is Grady Hendrix wanting "to pit Dracula against my mom," he writes. "As you'll see, it's not a fair fight." Never underestimate a Mother's magical power called love!! Well, this one is not for everyone I do highly recommend giving it a try. You might find yourself as surprised as I did! I received a copy from the publisher on EW.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Johann (jobis89)

    “Sometimes she craved a little danger. And that was why she had book club.” FINALLY. I have found my first five star book of the year that wasn’t a reread or non-fiction! This book is basically Desperate Housewives set in the late 80s/early 90s and the housewives started a true crime book club, only for a vampire to move in down the street... sounds awesome, right?! It’s a hell of a lot of fun, simply unputdownable, but it also tackles some more hefty issues that were relevant at the time, like th “Sometimes she craved a little danger. And that was why she had book club.” FINALLY. I have found my first five star book of the year that wasn’t a reread or non-fiction! This book is basically Desperate Housewives set in the late 80s/early 90s and the housewives started a true crime book club, only for a vampire to move in down the street... sounds awesome, right?! It’s a hell of a lot of fun, simply unputdownable, but it also tackles some more hefty issues that were relevant at the time, like the under-appreciation of housewives, gender roles, and socio-economic divides between neighbourhoods. Wait... these are all still relevant... but even more so back then! Add in Hendrix’s unmatched talent for pop culture and his ability to make you squirm in your seat and you’ve got a book that will appeal to a LOT of readers! (I’m not kidding, one part played into one of my biggest phobias and I had to keep taking deep breaths to finish that section) The constant references to true crime were such a blast for this true crime junkie, and I was getting increasingly jealous of their book club picks. Like why does MY book club have to gravitate towards thrillers? The housewives were all quite different in their own quirky little ways, but each of them seemed to have similar asshole husbands, and relentlessly annoying kids... Who says being a housewife is easy?! I can’t express how much I loved this book. It was tense, creepy, hilarious, just a really bloody good time!! Thank you to @quirkbooks for the free copy! 5 stars.

  17. 5 out of 5

    JanB

    “He thinks we’re what we look like on the outside: nice Southern ladies. Let me tell you something…there’s nothing nice about Southern ladies.” There’s a reason southern woman are called steel magnolias. Their outer gentility belies their inner strength and fortitude. Underestimate them at your peril. This book has a fun mix of satire, humor, and horror. Patricia Campbell and her friends have a classics book club but it’s stuffy and few enjoy it. When a friend gives Patricia a copy of a true cri “He thinks we’re what we look like on the outside: nice Southern ladies. Let me tell you something…there’s nothing nice about Southern ladies.” There’s a reason southern woman are called steel magnolias. Their outer gentility belies their inner strength and fortitude. Underestimate them at your peril. This book has a fun mix of satire, humor, and horror. Patricia Campbell and her friends have a classics book club but it’s stuffy and few enjoy it. When a friend gives Patricia a copy of a true crime book, a new club of ‘murderinos’ is formed who read only true crime (if you’re a fan, you will have lots of books to add to the tbr). When a stranger, James, appears in their quiet little southern town, strange things begin happening. There are violent deaths and the children in town begin disappearing. Patricia has her suspicions about James but she has trouble getting anyone to believe her. However, Patricia is tenacious and soon she and her friends band together to rid the town of the threat. These women were a hoot. We all need friends like these. There are underlying messages about women’s roles, sexism, patriarchy, racism, and domestic abuse. This is delicious satire that highlights the strength of women who won’t tolerate being gaslighted by the men in their lives. There is violence and gore, this is a vampire book, after all, but the humor makes it easier to swallow. The first chapters had me laughing out loud. What a unique book, I’ve never read one quite like it. It’s quirky and campy and so much fun. I loved seeing how Patricia grew from a mousy genteel southern lady to a bad ass who will do anything to protect her family. Marialyce and I took a chance on reading something different and were pleasantly surprised. Because of the underlying themes this would make an excellent book club pick. For our duo review please visit https://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpres...

  18. 4 out of 5

    Debra

    "We're not a lynch mob, we're a book club." This book had me at the description of it being a cross between Fried Green Tomatoes, Steel Magnolias and Dracula! What’s not to love about that? Patricia Campbell gave up her career as a nurse, to be stay at home Mother raising her two children with a distant husband. Her book club was her one escape. It was a place where she could indulge her love to true crime and suspenseful fiction. When a man moves in next door, she is intrigued but her interes "We're not a lynch mob, we're a book club." This book had me at the description of it being a cross between Fried Green Tomatoes, Steel Magnolias and Dracula! What’s not to love about that? Patricia Campbell gave up her career as a nurse, to be stay at home Mother raising her two children with a distant husband. Her book club was her one escape. It was a place where she could indulge her love to true crime and suspenseful fiction. When a man moves in next door, she is intrigued but her interest is soon turned to mistrust, and she soon discovers that he is not as he seems. After a gruesome and sinister discovery, she knows what he is, but will anyone believe her? Does she suffer from an overactive imagination? Is her choice in books affecting her judgement? (I know the answer to that must be NO, otherwise I am in a whole lot of trouble myself!) Is she mentally ill? Or is she right? This was a fun, light read with some gruesome scenes and it hit the spot. This book sucked me in, and after it grabbed hold, I could not get away (see what I did there?) This book has spunk, wit, blood and guts. All the things I hoped for in this book. An enjoyable read especially during this time of social distancing. But that cockroach scene -- not that I could have done without! What, a cockroach? Read it be grossed out too! Otherwise, fun, light, witty, and a little gory. *Traveling Sisters Buddy read

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest My favorite work of Grady Hendrix's is actually his nonfiction collection of essays, PAPERBACKS FROM HELL, which is a loving homage to the horror genre that covers everything from Gothics to ghouls. As someone who reads pulps on the reg, I was excited to see someone else who appreciated trash as much as I do-- there's something about finding an out-of-print gem that nobody has heard of and getting everyone excited about reading it... it' Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest My favorite work of Grady Hendrix's is actually his nonfiction collection of essays, PAPERBACKS FROM HELL, which is a loving homage to the horror genre that covers everything from Gothics to ghouls. As someone who reads pulps on the reg, I was excited to see someone else who appreciated trash as much as I do-- there's something about finding an out-of-print gem that nobody has heard of and getting everyone excited about reading it... it's like getting an ARC, but in reverse. I love that feeling. I've read some of his fiction works, too, but the two that I read-- HORRORSTOR and MY BEST FRIEND'S EXORCISM-- were better in premise than they were in execution. It felt... gimmicky, and the writing really couldn't carry off the story, sadly. That said, I was very excited when I heard about THE SOUTHERN BOOK CLUB'S GUIDE TO SLAYING VAMPIRES. One: because I love vampires and if its got fangs and hunts at night, I'll read about it; and two: because it's set in the 1990s and books set in the 80s and 90s are so hot right now. They feel claustrophobic because there's no internet & no cell phones. Everyone is a remote island of fear. Patricia has the ideal life: nuclear family with a doctor husband, and a book club of other well-to-do Southern ladies. Unfortunately, her book club makes the classic mistake of picking the usual slew of boring "book club bait" books and after being caught not reading the book of the month, she and a couple other ladies go rogue by starting their own book club where they do nothing but read true crime, horror, and mysteries. Sounds like my kind of book club! Where do I sign up? At the same time, an old lady goes crazy and bites off part of Patricia's ear. Her young relative comes home to take care of her and he's kind of weird. His name is James. Patricia feels sorry for James and tries to help him out, even as weird things start happening. Weird things that might or might not be connected to James, the man she has invited into her home and who has become intimate with her family. Everyone thinks Patricia is crazy and that all those books she's been reading have rotted her brain, but Patricia thinks she knows what she sees, and if Ann Rule's memoir has taught her anything, it's that sometimes it's the people who are closest to you who can't be trusted... right? So, I went into this expecting satire or comedy, and there is a bit of that, but it's mostly written straight. It pays homage to a lot of vampire and horror tropes, but it reminded me most strongly of Fright Night (1985), The 'Burbs (1989), and maybe a dash of STEPFORD WIVES. The slow feeling of doom and paranoia were so well done, and Grady Hendrix might be the only male writer I've ever read who really understands and captures how men talk over and gaslight women. There were sexist scenes in here that literally made me sick to my stomach, because I've been in similar situations and it really sucks being painted as someone who's hysterical or shrill when you have actual concerns. In addition to the horror vibe, there's also a sense of camaraderie with the women in the book club, and even some surprisingly erotic scenes, which is a must if you're writing in the vein (ha-- vein) of vintage horror movies and books, because a key element of horror was sex. The horror genre is basically the epitome of the Eros and Thanatos drives of Freudian psychology. By the time the book ended, I was actually shocked at how dark and disturbing it was. This was leagues better than anything else Grady Hendrix has written and I honestly can't wait to see what he does next. Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!  3.5 stars

  20. 4 out of 5

    Holly B

    Five Fangs and a Big Toothy Grin! Vampire parody and a group of southern book loving housewives with some very strange claims about the new guy next door! I took a chance on this one and happy to say that it was a campy, creepy and wacky good time!! I was craving something different when I picked it up (thanks again local library) and once I got started I just couldn't look away and the writing had me hooked. I found the tongue in cheek humor so entertaining and the horror parts were more creep Five Fangs and a Big Toothy Grin! Vampire parody and a group of southern book loving housewives with some very strange claims about the new guy next door! I took a chance on this one and happy to say that it was a campy, creepy and wacky good time!! I was craving something different when I picked it up (thanks again local library) and once I got started I just couldn't look away and the writing had me hooked. I found the tongue in cheek humor so entertaining and the horror parts were more creepy to me than scary. There were moments of me asking myself, "What in the world is happening???" I loved the housewives book club meetings and how the main house wife, Patricia stood her ground and was up for the challenge of stopping the weird stranger who wasn't right. Not right at all. The nostalgia of the 90's, the guy next door who doesn't like the sunshine, and the dark humor made me a new fan of this author!!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sumit RK

    It almost rare to see a combination of dark humor with blood-soaked horror and spine-chilling thriller but The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires manages to get it just right. Patricia Campbell’s life has never felt duller. Her family is busy in their own world and she’s always busy with endless chores. The only thing keeping her sane is her book club, a close-knit group of women united by their love of true crime. One evening after book club, Patricia is viciously attacked by an elde It almost rare to see a combination of dark humor with blood-soaked horror and spine-chilling thriller but The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires manages to get it just right. Patricia Campbell’s life has never felt duller. Her family is busy in their own world and she’s always busy with endless chores. The only thing keeping her sane is her book club, a close-knit group of women united by their love of true crime. 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. But soon the mysterious stranger turns out to be much more than imagined and Patricia’s life takes an inconceivable turn. The story starts out well with a light and engaging tone. The characters are unique and the plot feels like a slice of real life. The author manages to craft the brilliantly layered story with dark humor, horror, and several twists and turns that will keep you hooked. The story manages to deliver several underlying messages including sexism, patriarchy, and domestic abuse. There is lots of blood and gore violence but the book manages to keep the story emotional and light, most of the time. Overall, the story starts as a fun read and it manages a nice mix of dark humor and horror till the end. Hendrix gets most of the characters spot-on, From Patricia and her family to the lives of the five-book club members (Patricia, Grace, Maryellen, Slick, and Kitty) and their families. They might start off as typecasts but slowly they evolve into distinct characters of their own. I quite enjoyed the camaraderie between the women and I felt the book could have focused a lot more on the book club. The book starts with a light and funny tone and slowly becomes more and darker as it reaches the end. Which in a way is disappointing because I was expecting it to stay light, unlike most horror stories. The author touches on several issues like sexism, child abuse, domestic abuse, etc. I wish the book had focused more on the characters in the book club because it feels like drifting away from the main story whenever it wasn’t. As a note of caution, the blood and gore in this book (quite graphic at times) may not be suitable for everyone’s tastes. Overall, The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires is a fun book, full of quirky characters, blood, and gore with a unique story. It’s full of dark humor and some dark disturbing horror. If you are looking to read a horror story with a twist, this one is a must-read. Many thanks to the publishers Quirk Books and Edelweiss for the ARC.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sadie Hartmann

    Review originally posted to Cemetery Dance April 1st, 2020 You might be a horror book consumer like me and have already bought into the Grady Hendrix brand. You come for the unique titles and clever packaging (My Best Friend’s Exorcism) but you stay for the alluring storytelling, memorable characters, and iconic cultural references. Hendrix fans, this might be your new favorite. Within the first few chapters, I got a real sense of the author setting the pace. If you’re one of those book-bingers wh Review originally posted to Cemetery Dance April 1st, 2020 You might be a horror book consumer like me and have already bought into the Grady Hendrix brand. You come for the unique titles and clever packaging (My Best Friend’s Exorcism) but you stay for the alluring storytelling, memorable characters, and iconic cultural references. Hendrix fans, this might be your new favorite. Within the first few chapters, I got a real sense of the author setting the pace. If you’re one of those book-bingers who jump in with both feet and start tearing through the story, let me caution you to slow down with this one and really savor the moments. There’s some masterful set-up going on in this book; some juicy nuances. Patricia shows up to her Book Club and she’s supposed to lead the discussion, but motherhood and “life obstacles” have prevented any kind of self-care, let alone time to read a whole book (and a boring book at that). Instead of just coming clean, she decides to wing it and fake her understanding of the story hoping that by asking enough vague questions, the discussion will naturally give her enough clues to sound knowledgeable. This scene is hysterical. The dialog, the characters, all the awkwardness of the moment—it’s almost like Grady Hendrix spent actual years in a woman’s book club. His focus on Patricia and her friends—their struggles with motherhood and married life—is why this book is so successful. This is a vampire horror story, yes, but only as a vehicle to tell Patricia’s story—a woman with a thousand expectations put on her. Raising two kids and looking after an ailing mother-in-law, all while keeping up appearances. At some point, members of the Book Club go rogue and instead of reading the typical literary go-to books (The Bridges of Madison County), they take a deep dive into the scandals of true crime novels. Around the same time, a strange man, James Harris, moves into the neighborhood under mysterious circumstances and befriends our attention-starved Patricia. What might be mistaken as telegraphing the whole “vampire thing” is actually Grady Hendrix remixing a tired old trope, so don’t be tempted to exclaim, “I figured it out!” or “I knew this was happening!” You didn’t and you don’t. In the case of The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, Grady Hendrix knows exactly what he’s doing. Everything you think you know was hinted at on purpose and everything that blows your mind at the end was Hendrix showing off. Horror lovers who enjoy era-specific pop cultural references and a smart blend of vivid character-driven horror and humor will be well pleased. It’s everything Hendrix fans have come to expect from his exclusive brand of storytelling: Clever, compelling and plenty of chills. A new favorite! Mother Horror blurb: “Horror lovers who enjoy era-specific pop cultural references and a smart blend of vivid character-driven horror and humor will be well pleased. It’s everything Hendrix fans have come to expect from his exclusive brand of storytelling: Clever, compelling and plenty of chills. A new favorite!” Full review coming to Cemetery Dance If Melissa McCarty and Kathy Bates don't star in the movie version of this book--then what would even be the point?!

  23. 5 out of 5

    MarilynW

    I liked the writing of The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires very much except for the extreme, over the top, way too much (for me) gory and gross passages describing, in too much detail, rats, roaches (the worst!), spiders, blood sucking, like I never imagined it, horribleness. Picture a small, well to do community where no one locks their doors, the kids are safe playing outside until dark or even after dark, the men earn the income, and their high achieving housewives iron socks a I liked the writing of The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires very much except for the extreme, over the top, way too much (for me) gory and gross passages describing, in too much detail, rats, roaches (the worst!), spiders, blood sucking, like I never imagined it, horribleness. Picture a small, well to do community where no one locks their doors, the kids are safe playing outside until dark or even after dark, the men earn the income, and their high achieving housewives iron socks and sheets and vacuum curtains and keep the china and the silver cleaned and polished. The men also have their, not to be discussed, extracurricular activities while the women are bored out of their gourds, almost wishing for a murder or kidnapping or something interesting to happen.  Several of these women have a little book club where they alternate real life true crime (the higher the body count the better) and thriller fiction that can only hope to match the real life crime stories. So when Patricia begins to suspect something very wrong about a handsome newcomer to their community, her husband, his friends and even her book club members think that it's her imagination running wild, after all the real and fictional crimes she has been reading about with the book club. But, Patricia is really on to something with her suspicions about this newcomer. He IS a thing of fiction, come to life, and he is consuming and preying on the young and old of the area, with no one but Patricia thinking he is anything but a financial savior for their little community.  I'm giving this book 4 stars because, overall, I enjoyed it that much. But I had a really hard time with the detail of the descriptions of some of the really bad things happening in the book. One of the worst, for me, involved a roach and an ear but there is so much more gruesomeness going on in this book. And it is all described in the most vivid detail. I had to read this book as an over the top comedy horror story to handle how we could go from a Fried Green Tomatoes kind of vibe to something very dark and dirty, so quickly. Even during and after a huge bloody fight scene, the story is so very campy and I think the campiness is what allowed me to handle everything that is thrown at us in this book. I want to add something to this review. Animals and people alike come to harm in this story because it's a vampire story. But I love a very touching scene in this book and for all my griping about gruesome, this book has the sweetest treatment of an old dog. It's very special and it meant a lot to me and that treatment has made me a big fan of this author. Published April 7th 2020 Thank you to Quirk Books/Random House and Edelweiss for this ARC. 

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nataliya

    “I wanted to pit Dracula against my mom. As you’ll see, it’s not a fair fight.” I admit: this book tricked me. After the first few chapters I had it pegged as a lighthearted and delightful mildly satirical story about prim and proper Southern ladies banding together to defeat a supernatural evil over sweet tea and peach pie and something equally stereotypically Southern. I was wrong. I did not see this coming. “This story ends in blood. Every story begins in blood: a squalling baby yanked fr “I wanted to pit Dracula against my mom. As you’ll see, it’s not a fair fight.” I admit: this book tricked me. After the first few chapters I had it pegged as a lighthearted and delightful mildly satirical story about prim and proper Southern ladies banding together to defeat a supernatural evil over sweet tea and peach pie and something equally stereotypically Southern. I was wrong. I did not see this coming. “This story ends in blood. Every story begins in blood: a squalling baby yanked from the womb, bathed in mucus and half a quart of their mother’s blood. But not many stories end in blood these days.” It turned dark really quickly. Really dark. And not just rats-gnawing-on-people-to-death kind of dark. No, more mundane and therefore scarier dark: like child abuse, emotional and physical domestic abuse, gaslighting, manipulation, sexual assault and death kind of dark, punctuated at times by bright glimpses of strong female friendships and solidarity, finding common ground despite betrayals and prejudices and even dejected cowardice. “You can’t stop me from going to the police,” Patricia said. “I can’t stop you, Patty,” Carter said. “But I can inform them that I believe my wife is not in her right mind. Because the first person they’ll call isn’t a judge to get a search warrant; it’ll be your husband. Ed’s made sure of that.” The humor and laughs of the first few chapters get slowly replaced by anxiety, unsettling discomfort and frequently almost helpless anger. Yes, some humor stays, but it also becomes dark, matching the absurd horror of the situation these women find themselves in. “He lives in the Old Village. With us. There isn’t anything wrong with him because people who have something wrong with them don’t live here.” Patricia Campbell and a few of her fellow middle-class suburban housewives form a book club where they pour over true crime stories until danger comes close to their sheltered manicured neighborhood. A mysterious new next-door neighbor’s arrival coincides with some strange happenings - including strange behavior and disappearances, especially children. But the newcomer has swiftly formed business and friendship ties with the women’s husbands, and the children affected are mostly from the wrong side of the tracks, and propriety, complacency and conformity impose their strict demands. “We are men of standing in this community,” Bennett said. His voice carried extra weight because he hadn’t spoken yet. “Our children go to school here, we have spent our lives building our reputations, and y’all were going to make us laughingstocks because you’re a bunch of crazy housewives with too much time on your hands.” My reaction to so many parts of this book was quite visceral. The mundanity and pervasiveness of everyday horrors as a backdrop to the supernatural horror managed to really deliver a gut punch - a bunch of gut punches, actually - and the empathy and frustration were painfully real. And isn’t it a point of books - to make you really feel? “You protected yourself, but you didn’t do a thing for the children of Six Mile because they weren’t worthwhile to you. Well, now he’s coming after your children.” It’s a pleasure to read a book that has both a compelling and engrossing story and a wonderful execution. The plot is tight, the storytelling is crisp, the pacing is consistent, the loose ends get tied up neatly. The characters are drawn perfectly, complex, life-like and very real, and avoid becoming caricaturish - something that a less skilled writer could have easily succumbed to. The setting is vivid and atmospheric and draws you in slowly and surely. “A child is being hurt,” Patricia said. “Don’t any of you care?” “Of course we care,” Kitty said. “But we’re a book club, not the police. What are we supposed to do?” Well, sometimes you just need to do what needs to be done. Because, as we learn, in the end, “there’s nothing nice about Southern ladies.” 4.5 stars.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    What an insane, intense and gripping horror novel.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bridgett

    My first Grady Hendrix novel has me longing for more. This book was such a refreshing change of pace. I'm hooked. I do, however, feel like I should offer some warnings to my fellow readers. While there are some laugh-out-loud sections, and while much of the book is lighthearted and fun, this book also delves into several dark, grisly, macabre places...and I loved every minute. This was one of the most realistic portrayals of vampires I've read, and although I'm not from the South, the lopsided rel My first Grady Hendrix novel has me longing for more. This book was such a refreshing change of pace. I'm hooked. I do, however, feel like I should offer some warnings to my fellow readers. While there are some laugh-out-loud sections, and while much of the book is lighthearted and fun, this book also delves into several dark, grisly, macabre places...and I loved every minute. This was one of the most realistic portrayals of vampires I've read, and although I'm not from the South, the lopsided relationships between the husbands and wives felt very authentic. Aggravating (from a woman's perspective), but authentic. I'm not saying much more...this is a story best read with limited knowledge going in. I actually find myself feeling jealous of those of you who haven't read it yet...what a fun trip you have ahead! I wholeheartedly recommend The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires to everyone. Oh, and that book cover? Stunning. And so appropriate. I'm buying My Best Friend's Exorcism ASAP. 4.5 blood-sucking stars

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    This book was getting so much hype so I decided to check it out. It did not seem to be my regular type of reading material but the title intrigued me a lot and I listened to the Audio. What a magnificent surprise! There is so much packed into this little book and the audio was amazing! The narrator was exceptional and I loved her different voices for the characters and how she delivered the story. I was mesmerized! At times this was a humorous book with cute little Southern idioms and then it to This book was getting so much hype so I decided to check it out. It did not seem to be my regular type of reading material but the title intrigued me a lot and I listened to the Audio. What a magnificent surprise! There is so much packed into this little book and the audio was amazing! The narrator was exceptional and I loved her different voices for the characters and how she delivered the story. I was mesmerized! At times this was a humorous book with cute little Southern idioms and then it totally went gothic and serious. Grady Hendrix sure wrote an intriguing tale! I was very excited to hear that the rights have been acquired by Amazon for a film adaptation. Cannot wait to see how these unique characters will come to life on screen!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Gabby

    Really enjoyed this! I love the 90’s suburban mom vibes and I’m not even a huge fan of reading about vampires but this book was just so fun and creepy, and there were definitely a few scary scenes that have stayed in my brain since I finished it. Here’s my reading vlog with my experience reading this book: https://youtu.be/J2LyhHZvGo4 Really enjoyed this! I love the 90’s suburban mom vibes and I’m not even a huge fan of reading about vampires but this book was just so fun and creepy, and there were definitely a few scary scenes that have stayed in my brain since I finished it. Here’s my reading vlog with my experience reading this book: https://youtu.be/J2LyhHZvGo4

  29. 4 out of 5

    Char

    Evil in a small town is one of my absolute favorite horror tropes and THE SOUTHERN BOOK CLUB'S GUIDE TO SLAYING VAMPIRES aces it! Set in the 90's, we begin with a southern lady’s book club, (surprise!), that turns from reading fiction to true crime. These are rather old fashioned ladies for the 90's, they're stay at home wives, some with children and they feel their lives are complete. Until one day, one of them, (Patricia), is attacked by an elderly neighbor. Patricia is okay, but the neighbor Evil in a small town is one of my absolute favorite horror tropes and THE SOUTHERN BOOK CLUB'S GUIDE TO SLAYING VAMPIRES aces it! Set in the 90's, we begin with a southern lady’s book club, (surprise!), that turns from reading fiction to true crime. These are rather old fashioned ladies for the 90's, they're stay at home wives, some with children and they feel their lives are complete. Until one day, one of them, (Patricia), is attacked by an elderly neighbor. Patricia is okay, but the neighbor later dies. Soon thereafter, the neighbor's nephew comes to town and so begins this terrific tale of a vampire in a small town. Will Patricia and the rest of her book club survive? You'll have to read this to find out! I couldn't help but be reminded of Salem's Lot while reading, but I have to say, in many ways, this book was better than that one. 400 pages never went by so fast for me. Also, we didn't have to sit through a lot of description about the town and all of its inhabitants. There was just enough so that the reader has a good idea of what life is like for the town's inhabitants-those on both the good and bad sides of town. Even though most of the horror here is quiet, there were a few scenes that definitely reminded me of horror's heydey and authors like James Herbert; and even the "quiet" scenes were filled with suspense and dread. I think Mr. Hendrix has this horror thing down pat. I've been a fan of Grady Hendrix since PAPERBACKS FROM HELL came out and with this book, he has made me his bitch. I will read anything this man writes from here on out. He has the writing chops, his work always seems to have a bit of humor and in a way, some of it seems like an homage to those authors from the horror boom of the late 70's and 80's. To that, I say Huzzah! (And keep them coming!) My highest recommendation! Available April 7th, but you can preorder here: https://amzn.to/3bMcLY7 *Thanks to Edelweiss and Quirk Books for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

  30. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    2020 F.A.B. Bookclub pick # I.❤️. F.A.B. This book, by title alone, is a campy good time. The southern ladies are exactly as you’d expect. They knock on doors with casseroles in hand and write down license plate numbers from cars they don’t recognize in their neighborhood. Everyone knows everyone else’s business. So, you add a creep vampire into their world and of course they’re going to handle it. There are some creepy crawling bits and it definitely had the B movie raunchy vibe. It was as ente 2020 F.A.B. Bookclub pick # I.❤️. F.A.B. This book, by title alone, is a campy good time. The southern ladies are exactly as you’d expect. They knock on doors with casseroles in hand and write down license plate numbers from cars they don’t recognize in their neighborhood. Everyone knows everyone else’s business. So, you add a creep vampire into their world and of course they’re going to handle it. There are some creepy crawling bits and it definitely had the B movie raunchy vibe. It was as entertaining as expected.

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