The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires
Written by Grady Hendrix
I am not sure what it is about books with mega titles recently, but I’ve read a few and you can see our review of The Last House on Needless Street here.
That being said, where The Last House on Needless Street was cold and filled with dread, The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires is warm, hazy but no less frightening. This is a very different type of horror, it strives to sew doubt and convince us that the narrator is unreliable. Despite the fact, we know her to be reliable, trustworthy and to be honest incredibly brave.
Hazy, warm horror
Set in the 80s/ 90s and centred around a small book club of five women, who enjoy reading true crime novels. They’re hiding the material from judging husbands and neighbours. These women live in a neighbourhood and period in time where you don’t lock your doors and certain things must be done so you keep your status as a good neighbour. For these women being seen as unneighbourly is the worst thing they could imagine. That is until an unusual young man moves in down the street and everything changes. Hendrix brilliantly brings the neighbourhood and its values to life so vividly. It is jarring when something invades and disrupts that.
Patricia our main character is so strong and a brilliant protagonist. She tries to be this perfect mother and wife, but she feels the wrongness and her dissatisfaction strongly. One night, she is attacked by her elderly neighbour in a startingly vicious attack. The elderly neighbour subsequently passes away and her great-nephew James Harris, the unusual young man, moves into her home.
As events unfold and the truth comes out Patricia has to battle for the truth. Her flight isn’t just with Harris. She has to battle her husband, battle her book club friends as she pleads with them to believe her. Believe her that James Harris is a vampire. He’s a vampire and the one responsible for the missing children and the unexplainable tragic death of so many children. The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires is a very entertaining take on vampires. But it is also a brilliant example of the power of money, influence, persuasion and gaslighting.
Seeping into the neighbourhood and everyone’s lives
James Harris infiltrates the neighbourhood like an infection. Turning neighbours against one another, sewing this distrust and unease, he fully inserts himself into their lives. Hendrix’s take on vampires feels like a mixture of a few different elements. Harris is captivating and charming like many other vampires we’ve encountered before. But there are more elements to this concept of a vampire that is more unique and grotesque. I don’t want to give way all the details so just go discover the grossness yourself!
Go on Patricia, we are rooting for you!
Hendrix creates an unlikely hero in Patricia. She fights against the patriarchy and does what she needs to in order to protect herself and most importantly her children. She brilliantly demonstrates the idea of a mother as this fighting and unmovable force. She will do anything to ensure the after of her children, no matter the cost.
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires is an engaging and entertaining read. Ideal for fans of vampire stories and fans of unlikely heroes. I would imagine many readers who have children, in particular, will feel a kinship with Patricia. This is a great read for those who may not be sure about venturing into horror. It is not too graphic or haunting, just suspenseful enough to keep you engaged and reading long into the night.
Pick up your copy from any good book store now, or amazon!
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