The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix


Steel Magnolias meets Dracula in this ’90s-set horror novel about a women’s book club that must do battle with a mysterious newcomer to their small Southern town, perfect for murderinos and fans of Stephen King.

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Our Bookseller says:

Grady Hendrix explains his book with a line I can’t get out of my head: “I wanted to pit my mom against Dracula. As you’ll see, it’s not a fair fight.”

Every review for this book will compare it to things from Steel Magnolias to Nosferatu, and on some level that’s really accurate: The Southern Book Club’s Guide To Slaying Vampires is a spooky romp that embraces its genre to maximum effect (read it in one sitting while listening to some countrypolitan for the full experience). It’s delightfully southern gothic but never overbearingly so; Hendrix writes a perfect encapsulation of the 90s South with the deft hand of somebody who lived and loved it. Hammy when it should be and horrific when it needs to be, this is everything that urban fantasy needs to truly shine.

But what many reviews miss is how Hendrix captures the tiny, smaller horrors of life down south. The things that aren’t said. The topics that aren’t broached in Polite Company. All that good ol’-fashioned emotional repression that makes a successful southern housewife. Like if Shirley Jackson wrote 9 to 5. Between the condescending “bless your hearts,” hypocritical church-goers, and the lowkey racism, sometimes just hearing about the average day is more terrible than the incredible amounts of violence. Sometimes. – Terry

Patricia Campbell’s life has never felt smaller. Her husband is a workaholic, her teenage kids have their own lives, her senile mother-in-law needs constant care, and she’s always a step behind on her endless to-do list. The only thing keeping her sane is her book club, a close-knit group of Charleston women united by their love of true crime. At these meetings they’re as likely to talk about the Manson family as they are about their own families.

One evening after book club, Patricia is viciously attacked by an elderly neighbor, bringing the neighbor’s handsome nephew, James Harris, into her life. James is well traveled and well read, and he makes Patricia feel things she hasn’t felt in years. But when children on the other side of town go missing, their deaths written off by local police, Patricia has reason to believe James Harris is more of a Bundy than a Brad Pitt. The real problem? James is a monster of a different kind—and Patricia has already invited him in.

Little by little, James will insinuate himself into Patricia’s life and try to take everything she took for granted—including the book club—but she won’t surrender without a fight in this blood-soaked tale of neighborly kindness gone wrong.

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix