“A reader lives many lives,” James Harris said. “The person who doesn’t read lives but one. But if you’re happy just doing what you’re told and reading what other people think you should read, then don’t let me stop you, I just find it sad.”
Patricia Campbell’s life has never felt smaller. Her ambitious husband is too busy to give her a goodbye kiss in the morning, her kids have their own lives, her senile mother-in-law needs constant care, and she’s always a step behind on thank you notes and her endless list of chores. The one thing keeping her sane is her book club, a close-knit group of Charleston women united by their love of true crime and thrilling fiction. At these meetings they’re as likely to talk about the Manson family as they re marriage, motherhood and neighbourhood gossip.
This predictable pattern is upended when Patricia is viciously attacked by an elderly neighbour, bringing the neighbour’s handsome relative, James Harris, into her life. James is sensitive and well-read, and he makes Patricia feel things she hasn’t felt in years. But there’s something off about him. He doesn’t have a bank account or ID, and Patricia’s mother-in-law insists that she knew him when she was a girl – and impossibility.
When children on the other side of town go missing, their deaths written off by local police, Patricia has reason to believe that James Harris is more Bundy than beatnik. But once she and the book club members investigate further, the true monster emerges – and he’s far more terrifying than any serial killer they’ve ever read about.
Firstly, I want to say thank you to Quirk for sending me a copy of The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix, I am so grateful for the opportunity.
This is not the sort of genre that I would normally read, however I have heard so many good things about books by Grady Hendrix I just knew that I could not turn down the opportunity. I’m so glad I didn’t – I really enjoyed this book! It is definitely unlike anything I have ever read before.
Have you ever read a book whereby at the turn of each page you think what the f**k? No? Read this book and you will know exactly what I mean. I found myself rereading parts just to make sure I had read what I did. This is in no way a bad thing, I was so intrigued by this book and I still am. I feel like if I read it again, I would discover so many different things that I missed in my first read. There is so much to take from this book.
I find the premise so eerie. Neighbour moves in over the road, neighbour is a vampire. I will certainly be looking at my neighbours in a different rate from now on. Do you want to suck my blood? Or just be my friend? Back off neighbour. I genuinely felt so paranoid reading this book, as if there was some kind of impending doom coming my way. I think that has a lot to do with the writing style that Grady Hendrix adopts – he honestly draws you in from the start all the way up until the final page. His writing style is so engaging, you find yourself getting lost in the story, feeling like you are one of the characters.
Leading on from the above point, let us talk characters. I absolutely loved Patricia. What a character. I really enjoyed the strength that is portrayed in relation to modern housewives from your typical nuclear family. Strong, independent women who fight for what they believe is right. She was such a wonderful character. I also loved James Harris. He was fantastically eerie, whilst persuading the reader that he was an innocent man. I found that he was a really complex character, that I just wanted more and more from each time I read about him.
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix is a really fantastic book. I really enjoyed my time reading it, and I will be reading more from Grady Hendrix in the near future. I definitely recommend that you pick this one up!