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The Southern Book Club's Guide To Slaying Vampires | Grady Hendrix | Review

Review copy c/o Quirk Books via Netgalley

Back in 2014 I shared a review of Horrorstör, a brilliantly unique and cleverly designed title from Grady Hendrix, so when I saw this new release pop up on Netgalley I was intrigued to find out more. This title has been hugely popular since it's release last month, with an average Goodreads rating of over 4 stars, and plenty of positive reviews. I'm not usually one to pick up vampire novels so I wasn't quite sure what to expect but based on what I had heard I knew it would have some gory moments.

Set in the 90's this novel follows Patricia Campbell, a housewife who gave up her career as a nurse to settle down and start a family. With her husband always busy with work and her teenage children wanting her to stay out of their business, Patricia's life just isn't quite going as planned. She spends her time looking after her family and attending social events with her neighbours, including a book club with several other women. While this might seem pretty normal, this is not your average suburban book club as secretly the small group of women get together regularly to discuss their shared love of true crime. Little do they know, some of the things found between the pages of the books they've read together may just come in handy in real life someday.

After a very unusual and disturbing incident, Patricia meets a newcomer to town named James Harris, who says he is a relation of a local lady that has recently passed away. James claims to have a medical condition due to something that happened during his childhood causing a serious issue with his eyes that means he has trouble going out in the sun. Soon he has an overly-polite Patricia roped into helping him out with chores and even inviting him for dinner with her family.

Patricia's mother-in-law, who is staying with the family as she can no longer live alone, has a lot to say about the new addition to town but they quickly dismiss her thinking that she simply has him confused with someone else. Of course, as time passes and more disturbing events occur in the local area, including kids going missing on the other side of town, Patricia with the help of a whole bunch of vampire novels, starts to piece together various information that suggests not only may James not be who he seems, but that he may not even be human.

The Southern Book Club's Guide To Slaying Vampires is a tricky one for me to review as whilst I found the concept interesting and there were parts I liked, there were also parts that I didn't really enjoy. Right from the prologue the book really draws you in and is an intense ride but it does get pretty gory and dark rather early on and there were scenes that I found uncomfortable to read, so if that's not your thing this probably isn't the book for you. I feel that I should also mention the book includes themes of abuse and sexual assault.

Overall, the book got off to an intriguing start and the way the story played out was definitely disturbing, living up to its horror genre. Unfortunately I didn't really feel much of a connection to any of the characters which I think took away somewhat from my enjoyment. However, I loved the book club element and the fact that I wasn't ever 100% sure how things would play out definitely kept me on my toes!


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