Patricia Campbell’s life has never felt smaller. Her ambitious husband is too busy to give her a good-bye kiss in the morning, her kids have their own lives, her senile mother-in-law needs constant care, and she’s always a step behind on thank-you notes and her endless list of chores. The one thing she has to look forward to is her book club, a close-knit group of Charleston women united by their love of true crime and paperback fiction. At these meetings they’re as likely to talk about the Manson family as they are marriage, motherhood, and neighborhood gossip.
This predictable pattern is upended when Patricia meets James Harris, a handsome stranger who moves into the neighborhood to take care of his elderly aunt and ends up joining the book club. James is sensitive and well-read, and he makes Patricia feel things she hasn’t felt in twenty years. But there’s something off about him. He doesn’t have a bank account, he doesn’t like going out during the day, and Patricia’s mother-in-law insists that she knew him when she was a girl–an impossibility.
When local children go missing, Patricia and the book club members start to suspect James is more of a Bundy than a Beatnik–but no one outside of the book club believes them. Have they read too many true crime books, or have they invited a real monster into their homes?
I fell into this one with it’s sense of nostalgia and often it’s out and out horror – Grady Hendrix is a brilliantly dark and dastardly writer who lulls you into a false sense of security then BAM hits you with moments that make you clutch at your head, grimacing wildly but unable to look away.
The ladies of this book club are a vibrantly eclectic lot, whose lives follow the path of least resistance in often hilariously insightful ways. They read about the darkest crimes whilst vacuuming their curtains, then one day real danger arrives in the form of the enigmatically attractive James Harris.
This novel has all the horror layers you would hope for, whilst attaching you to the protagonists with a fairly unshakeable bond. It is a crazily relevant vampire tale, in this case with no Van Helsing waiting in the wings, just Korey and Blue’s Mom Patricia…
It really isn’t going to be a fair fight.
Brilliantly observant, cleverly written and intensely addictive, The Southern Book Clubs Guide to Slaying Vampires is a razor sharp, absorbing and randomly terrifying novel that has the side effect of increasing your to be read piles exponentially.
I loved it. Highly Recommended.