After having reviewed The Final Girl Support Group, I realized I had never shared my initial reviews and reactions to The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, which honestly feels like a crime. This book was one of my favorites of last year; I got all my coworkers to read it, and I converted them all to Hendrix fans. It’s a must read and I decided if I can get just one more person to pick it up, it’s worth reviewing in full!
Patricia Campbell’s life on the outside looks like a picture-perfect southern woman’s – but on the inside, she’s terribly bored. The few highlights of her dull existence are the true crime book club she’s a part of, and the new neighbor up the street who mysteriously appears and grabs her attention.
But now kids in town are going missing, and Patricia is desperate to get to the bottom of it – captivated by the growing concern that the same new neighbor may have just brought something terrifying and vicious down on her small town life, threatening everything as she knows it.
This book is SO. GOOD. I have been a prolific reader for maybe ten years now, and every time someone asks me who my favorite author is, I can never tell them. How do you pick a favorite? So many good ones! But after having read The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, I officially have a favorite. And I will tell everyone, screaming from the rooftops: it’s Grady Hendrix. An absolute master of horror.
This is Hendrix’s third novel that I have read, and I’ve loved them all. Every time I pick one up I am absolutely transported to the time and place he writes about; he’s got a great talent for world building that helps you dive deeper into the horror story he’s weaving. Which, speaking of, is some of the greatest horror I’ve ever read. It’s dark and disturbing, and paints some vivid images in your brain…I was reading some of the more gruesome parts of this story in my dark room alone at night, and it makes you want to turn on the light.
The gut-wrenching reaction I have to the way Patricia is treated by her friends, family, and other people in town says a lot about how deep I fell into this story. Reflecting a looking back, this is what I remember most about the reading experience, and what stuck with me. Despite how hard Patricia looks into this concerning disappearance of children, she’s doubted and denied at every turn, called crazy, or straight up ignored. That sense of “What if no one believed me?” is what haunts me the most when I think of this book, even a year after my initial read.
I think Hendrix’s background in 70’s and 80’s horror research helps him spin these incredible webs of stories that you just get stuck in. I feel like I’m living that time in its glory, and I don’t know why we ever left behind this masterful horror storytelling. Hendrix is the most unique horror writer out there today and his work should be praised. It’s original, playful, and still deeply unsettling. Five out of five stars from me, really.
An advance copy of The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. PLEASE go pick up a copy for yourself!!
Have a lovely week, everyone!