CW: Sexual Assault, Suicide. (I do not discuss this in detail, this serves as a CW for the book itself)
Horror is a genre I want to read more of, but I haven’t found my go-to author in the genre. Stephen King is the only horror author I can name which means I’m still on the periphery of horror books. I have seen Grady Hendrix’s name floating around the Booktube space specifically The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires. I had this on my radar, so when October rolled around, I wanted to make sure this was on my list. I finished The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires last weekend and it was a wild ride.
Patricia Campbell lives a mundane life as a stay-at-home mom. She cleans, cooks, and routinely discusses True Crime books at her book club. Patricia invites their new neighbor to her book club to help introduce him to their community. As Patricia starts to get to know her neighbor, strange events happen in their town. Patricia starts to suspect this neighbor as being a drug dealer, but maybe he’s something more. In a town over, missing kids are dying in strange ways which leads Patricia to conclude that this neighbor could possibly be a vampire. How will Patricia convince her book club that Dracula is a few houses over?
I liked how The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires was filled with irony. At the women’s book club, they talk about why people don’t say anything when a strange man moves to town who seems a bit off i.e. Ted Bundy, yet Patricia has to convince everyone that this man is no good. I feel for Patricia at times because she is often gaslit and told that she’s overthinking things. Patricia’s husband, Carter, doesn’t support her and often makes horrible statements in a nonchalant way. Patricia along with Mrs. Greene were two characters I thoroughly enjoyed reading about.
I do want to be up-front, there were several horrific and grotesque scenes in this book. I went into reading this book not expecting as much horror as there was. If it helps, I have attached my Goodreads review where I put these scenes under spoiler tags to determine if this book will work for you. These scenes involve rats, insects, and a disturbing sexual assault. I did mention the content warning already to make this clear.
My main critique of the book was that all the women seemed to blend together. Patricia stood out to me along with Mrs. Greene, otherwise, the other women seemed to sound the same. I wish there was something about each of the women that I could remember. I do think this was intentional by Hendrix as these women were all stay-at-home moms.
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires was a horrific, Vampire-hunting book that fits perfectly into my Spooky TBR. I rated The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires four stars on Goodreads, although I was debating between a four or five star rating. As mentioned, I do want to read more horror, so if anyone has any author suggestions, feel free to drop them in the comments section below.