★★★★★ out of ★★★★★
Grady Hendrix breathes new life into to the often cliche vampire genre with his best novel to date!
By Grady Hendrix
It is no secret that we at The Scariest Things adore Grady Hendrix. We have talked and written about his previous books and his live performances ad nauseam, praising everything he does. Well readers, brace yourselves because his latest novel, The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires is his best yet.
The publisher Quirk Books describes the novel as “Steel Magnolias meets Dracula” set in the 90’s and that does set the tone before cracking the spine but this is Hendrix’s most “grown up” novel to date. The winning combination of horror and humor you expect from Hendrix is still present but an undercurrent of sadness flows through the pages.
The story focuses on Patricia, a wife and mother who spends her days taking care of her family, her Charleston, South Carolina home and her ailing mother in law looking forward to her monthly book club as the highlight of her social calendar. The book club reads “important” books while alternating the great titles of the true crime genre. After Patricia is attacked by her elderly neighbor, James Harris, the strange but seductive nephew of the neighbor moves into the quiet southern town. When children from the next town over begin to disappear and the police write their deaths off as accidents and suicides because of their race and income level, Patricia finds herself living one of her beloved true crime novels.
Race and status are not the only issues that contribute to this being Hendrix’s most “adult” novel. Patricia and her friends are constantly battling for the respect of their husbands and the other men in the town and their treatment as frivolous housewives with overactive imaginations and no real worth is both sad and infuriating and leads to the loss of lives.
Don’t get bummed out and think this novel is all social issues! There are some of the grossest scenes I have read in a very long time in these pages. I truly yelled “F**k you Grady Hendrix!” while reading a scene having to do with the main reason I hate living in the south- cockroaches. This is a Southern vampire novel- noble vampires in fancy capes won’t be found here. Instead you’ll be immersed in the slow, Southern lifestyle and all the oppression that comes with the heat.
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires will be released by Quirk Books on April 7, 2020. You can pre-order your copy on Amazon or wherever you get your books. Deadline is reporting that the book has already been picked up by Amazon to be developed into a series!