Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Books I've Read: The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires


I mean, how can you pass up a book with a title like that?  Well, I certainly couldn't!  And what a delightfully fun ride this one was.

Set in the '90s, the book centers on Patricia Campbell, an average housewife with a husband, two kids who are growing up too fast and a dependent mother-in-law.  After attempting a book group reading great literature and other worthy books, Patricia creates a splinter-cell that focuses on reading true-crime stories, the more lurid the better.

When a stranger turns up in town, the book group's conversation turns to speculation about what he might be up to.  Patricia is strangely attracted to him and is flattered by his interest in her and her family.  She doesn't even mind when he starts dropping in randomly at dinner time.

When local children start going missing shortly after his arrival, and other strange events begin creeping into her usually peaceful life, she begins to suspect everything is not as it seems.  She begins her own covert investigation, drawing on her book group for support when needed.  As things become increasingly sinister, it becomes very obvious that there is a monster in their midst and as they are the ones who invited him in, they will have to get rid of him too.

I found this book quite delightful.  Yes, there were moments of gross-out horror (trigger warning: large numbers of rats), but the book group women are so Southern and so genteel that even in the face of unspeakable horrors they have impeccable manners.  It's not a serious horror, so if you're not really into horror, this might be one for you.  It's like black comedy in many ways, and I appreciated that the often-overlooked strength and resilience of the ordinary housewife was celebrated here.

So, I'd recommend this one.  It's a fun, quick read and if you don't like the gory stuff, there really isn't that much to contend with.

But don't just listen to me.  Here's the blurb:

Fried Green Tomatoes and Steel Magnolias meet Dracula in this Southern-flavored supernatural thriller set in the '90s about a women's book club that must protect its suburban community from a mysterious and handsome stranger who turns out to be a blood-sucking fiend.

Patricia Campbell had always planned for a big life, but after giving up her career as a nurse to marry an ambitious doctor and become a mother, Patricia's life has never felt smaller. The days are long, her kids are ungrateful, her husband is distant, and her to-do list is never really done. The one thing she has to look forward to is her book club, a group of Charleston mothers united only by their love for true-crime and suspenseful fiction. In these meetings, they're more likely to discuss the FBI's recent siege of Waco as much as the ups and downs of marriage and motherhood.

But when an artistic and sensitive stranger moves into the neighborhood, the book club's meetings turn into speculation about the newcomer. Patricia is initially attracted to him, but when some local children go missing, she starts to suspect the newcomer is involved. She begins her own investigation, assuming that he's a Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy. What she uncovers is far more terrifying, and soon she--and her book club--are the only people standing between the monster they've invited into their homes and their unsuspecting community.

1 comment: