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.
I read The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix as one of my challenge books for the Spooktober Readathon in October 2021.
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About the Book
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires
by Grady Hendrix
Published 7 April 2020
Genre: Vampire Horror
Page Count: 410
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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 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.
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
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This book sounded like a lot of light paranormal fun and turned into a lot of very darkly creepy underbelly of humanity sort of horror. A monster has entered the neighbourhood, only the bookclub seems to have noticed, and any time someone tries to do something about it, bad things happen. Eventually everyone, whether self-deceived or externally encouraged to do so, turns a blind eye and moves on, but when has ignoring a problem ever made it go away?
I’m honestly not sure what to think of this book, and it’ll be a split rating 3.5 stars on my blog. On one hand, wow! This book is incredibly well written in that it made me want to crawl out of my skin and kept me guessing. The middle, when everyone is pretending everything’s okay, really sagged, but the beginning sparked my interest quickly and the last third insisted that I finish in one sitting once I’d got that far. With that said, I didn’t know I was signing up for scenes of rape and child abuse. (Content warning!)
The “vampire” in this book isn’t quite a vampire in the traditional sense, and what’s different is unique as far as I can tell. I lie what makes him different from other vampires I’ve read, and I think his particular flavour of parasitic monster works well in a suspense novel that features body horror. The fact that he’s also a garden variety sociopath is even more horrifying, and I love to hate it!
This is a creepy horror with a lot of mystery and suspense elements, and if you’re into alternative vampire stories, this might be your next five star read! Please be aware, though, that there is sexual abuse going on throughout the story and not all of the victims are of age.
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