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Monday, December 07, 2020

Southern Horror Novel Unique and Fun

Feeling bored with her mundane life and inconsequential to those who share it, stay-at-home mom Patricia Campbell turns to true crime books for excitement.  Although she gathers with a group of like-minded women to discuss the tomes, their book club is about more than just reading.  It's a refuge for Patty and her pals, a place for commiseration and camaraderie, friendship and support.  

When a handsome newcomer arrives in the neighborhood, Patty's friends are immediately atwitter.  James Harris awakens long-dormant feelings in Patty, too, but she's wary.  Something about the man is not right.  He's cagey about his past, strangely allergic to sunlight, and has a weird magnetism that is almost ... supernatural.  Then there are all the odd occurrences in the neighborhood that just happen to coincide with James' arrival.  No one else seems alarmed, but Patty is convinced James is a vampire.  Now, she has to prove it to her friends and get their help expelling the creature.  So what if they all think she's crazy?  Patty has to protect her neighborhood from the evil that's stalking it.  Can she stop the charming bloodsucker before he destroys everything—and everyone—she loves?

Based on the title and plot summary, I expected The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix to be a funny, light-hearted read.  And it is in some ways.  It's also deeper than it appears, with some very astute commentary about motherhood, female friendships, sexism, and gender roles.  Although my experiences with men and community politics don't really align with those of Patty and her friends, I still related strongly to the women at the center of this novel.  Hendrix brought them to life for me, making me care about what happened to them.  I was so invested, in fact, that I burned through The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires in one day.  And it's not a slim novel!  The slow-burn story, which is more psychological thriller than horror fest (although there's plenty of gore), is engrossing and compelling.  It definitely kept me riveted to the page.  While the book wasn't exactly what I expected it to be, I ended up really enjoying it.

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can't think of anything.  Can you?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (a few F-bombs, plus milder expletives), violence, blood/gore, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  Another fine find


  1. Sounds like a great read! I've been eyeing this novel, so I'll now add it to my reading wishlist after reading your review of it.

  2. Anything with Vampires (+ a book club) seems pretty good to me ... and love the book cover of this one! thx for the review

  3. I'm glad to hear your thoughts about this book. I'd wondered about it and may just put it on hold at the library. :-)

  4. wife is allergic to sunlight, too. Maybe I need to ask a few questions. :-)

  5. I've read a lot of positive reviews of this book. It's another one on my TBR list. Can't believe you read it all in one day! :)

  6. I am not into horror so will probably not read this one, but I've been hearing really good things about it.

  7. I had a more mixed reaction to this than some but it was good.


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