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

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

Author: Grady Hendrix

Published: April 7th 2020, Quirk Books

Status: Read April 2020 courtesy Quirk/Netgalley

++++++

My Thoughts:

It was the title of this latest release from Grady Hendrix that caught my eye, and having enjoyed Horrorstör (published in 2014) I was willing to give The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires a chance.

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires is set during the late 1980’s to mid 1990’s in an affluent, traditional suburb of Charleston where Patricia Campbell lives with her doctor husband, two children, and ailing mother-in-law. Her only respite from her role as a dutiful ‘southern’ wife, mother, and caregiver is her attendance at the not-really-but-kind-of monthly book club with a small group of local housewives who all defected from the Mt. Pleasant Library Guild. Instead of stuffy classics, Patricia and her friends -Grace, Slick, Kitty and Maryellen- rebel by reading a mix of true crime and popular novels, adding a frisson of excitement to their lives.

Thrills are in short supply for these five women, whom Hendrix presents as southern housewife stereotypes with good-ole-boy husbands of one type of another, so when Patricia begins to suspect a new neighbour, James Harris, is not who he seems, the book club members tentatively investigate, but James always seems to be one step ahead, and they have no idea what a monster he really is.

Accurately described as Steel Magnolias meets Dracula, The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires is an ambitious mashup of suspense, social commentary, horror, and satire that presents as ‘women’s fiction’.

At face value, there is so much wrong with this book, from the plethora of sexist stereotypes to the marginalisation of the PoC characters but keep in mind that it’s intentional, and it all makes a strange kind of sense. As the story develops Hendrix subtly highlights, undermines and challenges the status quo, and his female characters slowly exceed expectations.

Schlocky, subversive, clever, and dark I actually think The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires would make a fun cult movie a la The Witches of Eastwick. It’s not a bad read either.

++++++

Available from Quirk Books

Or from your preferred retailer via Indiebound I Book Depository I Booko

 

Also by Grady Hendrix reviewed at Book’d Out 

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon | book'd out
  2. Claire Louisa
    Apr 13, 2020 @ 03:26:00

    It does sound like an interesting read.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  3. waytoofantasy
    Apr 14, 2020 @ 05:14:03

    I love the idea of this one! The fact that it’s a vampire story that is also trying to make a point gives it high expectations for me. Thanks for the review!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  4. Angie @ Cottage by the Sea Books
    Apr 14, 2020 @ 11:02:28

    The reviews on this book have been so contrasting that it is one of the reasons I have in my stack to read.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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