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

Grady Hendrix’s new book, The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, has gotten a TON of buzz on Bookstagram. Does it live up to the hype?

First, a quick synopsis: The Southern Book Club’s Guide to slaying Vampires is 1990’s housewives meets Dracula, with a whole heap of Southern charm.

Patricia, a housewife in South Carolina in the ’90s, is devoted to her family but misses her career as a nurse. The highlight of her week is book club, where she gathers with other wives in the neighborhood to discuss true crime novels.

One day, a mysterious man moves into her neighborhood. Not long after, children start to go missing in the poorer town across the bridge. Patricia slowly starts to realize the charming new stranger isn’t who he says he is. Unfortunately, no one will believe her – especially not her own husband.

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Book cover: The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

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The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires: My Thoughts

I absolutely loved this one. It’s easy to read, but it’s not an “easy” read. Some of the subject matter is tough, and some parts are infuriating. But it’s an incredibly engaging story that begs to be read.

If you’re wondering, this is NOT ‘just another vampire story’.

One of the coolest things about it: I think it could appeal to horror lovers and non-horror lovers alike. This is the type of book that gets non-horror readers to read horror (and enjoy it!).

Sure, it’s technically about an alleged vampire. But it’s also about so much more: identity, power, societal roles, class disparities, culture, and family.

There’s more than one ‘force of evil’ here, and it’s not all supernatural. I wanted to slap a few characters in the face on SEVERAL occasions (and I’m not just talking about the titular villain of the story). But that’s true with many great stories. It makes you root for the protagonist that much harder.

The good:

  • The SETTING. This book practically oozes with Southern charm, and it’s enchanting. (Though I could do without the marsh rats!)
  • The protagonist, Patricia, was relatable and easy to root for.
  • Thrills on thrills on thrills. I could not stop reading!
  • It goes below the surface level and delves into deeper issues. But it doesn’t feel ‘preachy’ – it’s a natural part of the story.

The not-as-good:

  • A couple of the minor characters felt a little stereotypical.

Overall, this was such an enthralling read. I recommend it to anyone who can handle a bit of a scare!

(One caveat: a few parts of this book are uncomfortable/difficult to read. If you’re concerned, I recommend looking up the trigger warnings before reading.)

RATING: 5 stars

Looking for more awesome books to read? Check out my list of the best new books of Spring 2020!

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