The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires

The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires

Book - 2020
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"A supernatural thriller set in South Carolina in the '90s about a women's book club that must protect its suburban community from a mysterious stranger who turns out to be a real monster"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Philadelphia : Quirk Books, [2020]
ISBN: 9781683691433
9781683691440
Characteristics: 404 pages ; 24 cm
Call Number: HENDRIX, G

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DCLadults Sep 25, 2020

"Fried Green Tomatoes" and "Steel Magnolias" meet "Dracula" in this Southern-flavored supernatural thriller. – Goodreads

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sotto_sis Mar 18, 2020

Grisly and uncomfortable at times, but ultimately entertaining. Hendrix captures the "book club" experience with wacky characters, rather subversive tropes, and insight into the how society belittles what women know and how they know it.


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JessicaGma Nov 19, 2020

It's a unique take on vampires and a good horror story as it's just normal enough, and yet, completely off the wall. Patricia is a great main character and the setting of the 1980s adds another dimension to the setting. It's a fun read.

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IntrovertReader
Nov 19, 2020

Patricia Campbell is a stereotypical ‘80s-‘90s Charleston doctor’s wife. She has the right look and the right hair, she lives in the right neighborhood, her kids go to the right schools, she has the right friends, and she’s bravely taking care of her senile mother-in-law to boot. It’s all a little…stifling. Her one outlet is her book club. Unbeknownst to their husbands, Patricia and her friends love to meet and drink and read “trashy” true crime novels. So you’d think they’d be ready to investigate when children start disappearing from the nearby Black community. Some of them want to help, they really do, but the stakes are high and getting higher. And it’s easy to ignore what isn’t happening in your own neighborhood–until it is.

Whoa! I somehow expected this to be funny as well as scary. Look at that title. Can’t you just see the ‘80s moms with their big hair going after the bad guy? Maybe staking him with a stiletto heel after a cocktail party? It had its moments but mostly it was really, really dark. Like, really dark. And trigger-ish for some readers.

The pacing of the story was great for me, starting off a little slow, a little questioning, then building to small peaks of nail-biting suspense, easing off a bit, and repeating and getting more and more suspenseful until the big finale. There were enough twists and turns to keep me guessing. And is there room for a sequel? I’m not sure….

Aside from the vampire horror story, there was (and still is) a lot wrong in this town. The police just wrote off all the disappearances from the Black community. The kids must have been on drugs, or run away, or gotten themselves killed for a crime they must have committed, right? Grrr…. And the women’s husbands! I wanted to smack them all upside the head a few (dozen) times. They were so chauvinistic, controlling, and condescending! At least the vampire is just doing what vampires do. What excuse do misogynist racists have? It all makes you wonder (as I feel the author intended) who the real villain of the piece is.

Don’t go into this thinking that it’s a fun horror-lite novel. This is real horror on a lot of levels. It does contain triggers for some readers. It can be read for straight entertainment or for a discussion of what exactly is monstrous in our society. I obviously can’t recommend it unilaterally but it worked for me in quite unexpected ways. Pick it up if the synopsis interests you. I’d love to know what you think.

s
smoini
Nov 17, 2020

This was a stunning horror novel that cleverly used the vampire trope as a vehicle to force the reader to confront some uncomfortable truths about the pervasive culture of white supremacy and patriarchy. There were many gory moments that freaked me out, but what truly set my hair on edge were moments involving the husbands, secure in the knowledge of their superiority, patronizing and manipulating their wives - dismissing their concerns outright - to protect one of their own.
Mrs. Greene is such a powerful character, but we only see her on the fringes as this book is told in the first person with our protagonist being a middle-class Southern white woman who is primed to not pay much attention to a Black woman she hires to care for her mother-in-law. The fact that Patricia even deigns to follow-up on Mrs. Greene is more attention than any of her friends would have paid, and *yet it is still insufficient* as Patricia cannot be goaded into action until the danger comes for her.
The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires is such a clever indictment of white culture. Grady Hendrix has brought a fresh new twist to the horror genre with this book!

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LadyKatka
Nov 15, 2020

sigh ... I had high and campy hopes for this book. The title and cover art, if you will excuse the pun, sucked me in. I was expecting some unbreakable female friendships and was hoping to read about a group of stay at home moms who show up to a vampire-slaying wearing a baby carrier on their chest.

"You can't bring a baby to a vampire staking Carol."

"The babysitter canceled, what was I supposed to do?" as she gently bounces the sleeping baby.

Or something like that.

however when one of the ladies says "There is nothing nice about Southern ladies" she is correct. These ladies betray and backstab each other all throughout the book. Are they even friends? What the heck.

They all seem to be in terrible marriages. Seriously, there is nobody to cheer for in this entire book.

Actually, that is false. There is one character, Mrs. Greene. That lady is a badass, and she is barely in the book, and almost doesn't even get a first name. There is no justice. I walked away wishing this story had been about her instead.

Major spoilers and sensitive trigging topics ahead

First of all, the pedophile metaphor in this book is not very subtle and pretty gross. The vampire appears to only feed on children, but where he feeds is overly sexual. It is the inner thigh, but it is so close to the genitals that there are some descriptions of them in the book. Also, the book claims that feeding on the children gives them such a euphoric high that it is addicting and they want it.

*and cue me vomiting*

Secondly, the trope of raping a woman in order to punish her or teach her a lesson needs to die and never be used again. Period.

Lastly, this book is a classic white savior complex story. Bad guy is killing/hurting/hunting children in a black neighbourhood but do the black people do anything about it? Nope. It is the middle class suburban white lady who comes in and promises to save the day. Boy are they ever relieved that the white lady is going to save them.

Then when the white lady fails to save them, they disappear from the story for three plus years. They aren't mentioned again until the white children are threatened and the main white lady needs the help of the barely named black lady. Seriously, Mrs. Greene's first name gets mentioned all of once and is never used again. What is with that?

Then when they decided to finally kill the vampire, the main white woman is unconscious for the entire battle (thanks for helping, useless) and the other white ladies can't finish the dirty deed. So Mrs. Greene steps up.

I want to read a book about Mrs. Greene, because any woman who can dismember a human body not only while it is still alive, but also talking to you is one hell of a badass. Why didn't she take matters into her own hands earlier instead of waiting for a white saviour to come? WHY?

If this vampire was killing/hurting/hunting black children, why isn't this story about the black mothers banding together to take down the threat? They get tired of the police not believing them, or ignoring them, not showing up when they call, so clearly they can only rely on themselves. Therefore they hunt down this vampire on their own. I would read that story.

Unfortunately, Mrs. Green was done dirty, this was also not a silly romp about white stay at home moms trying to find a sitter so they can hunt vampires under the guise of meeting for bookclub either.

Needless to say, I am left feeling very disappointed.

l
LisaBerg
Nov 12, 2020

Looking for a fun book to get out of a reading slump? Like "mild" horror that will not only terrify you but make you LOL? Then read this. It's about a group of moms that take on a vampire and the patriarchy. What else do you need? 5 fun stars!

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Sep 18, 2020

This has been called "Steel Magnolias meets Dracula" and that's a surprisingly apt description. While the exposition made me worry that there would be white saviorism in the conclusion, that was not the case. In fact, the (white male) author uses the races and genders of his characters to make some interesting points.

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Eagle_dancer
Sep 10, 2020

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Love good horror/vampire books, and this is one! The Stepford wives find their strength. And then they kick butt. A tale of friendship too.

JCLBrittanyC Sep 02, 2020

This book was my first taste at the horror genre, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires was a great introduction to the genre for me without copious amounts over blood and gore (though blood and gore were not completely absent). The Novel takes place in the 1980’s and 1990’s, and follows Patricia and the other housewives that make up her true crime book club (which honestly I think Liz and I need to get started at Leawood). When a sensitive and mysterious neighbor moves in, Patricia’s true crime senses start ringing like crazy. Kids in the community continue to go missing, and Patricia has an idea who they should all be pointing their fingers at. I love how the Goodreads summary describes this “Fried Green Tomatoes and Steel Magnolias meet Dracula in this southern-flavored supernatural thriller.” Overall, I love the southern flare and 80’s/90’s retro feel. I would say I felt like a lot is revealed in the summary/ to the reader that I wish their was a bit more mystery to it, but if you just finished reading Twilight in anticipation of Midnight Sun, and can’t read anything, but vampires, give this book a try with less love and more gore. 4 stars.

d
dluvsbooks
Aug 13, 2020

With all the craziness in the world right now this book takes your mind off it all. I can’t recommend this highly enough!!! I read it on my kindle, then borrowed the physical book and bought a copy for a friend. And... I’m reading it again, it’s just that good! Loved it super much!

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wingertdj
Aug 10, 2020

When I think of Grady Hedrix, I think HORROR. That is probably because the first book I read by him was “Horrorstör”. That is not what I got from “The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires”. The title and description held such tantalizing promise. It was even a bit cheeky. Perhaps, I’m just in a place. I wanted, needed more action. The story follows five women of a book club from 1988-1997. Most of those years spent in ignorance or fear, depending on the character, of the suave stranger who is backing their husbands rise to fortune and fame while feeding on the children in a neighboring low-income black community. The book is as much an essay on the roles of women in those years as it is on the way a very old creature has seen it all before and can easily stay at least one step ahead. This is a slow burn with brief eruptions. Many people enjoy it, but at this moment, it was just too slow for me.

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