The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires

Grady Hendrix
The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires Cover

The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires


There are several trigger events in this book including spousal abuse (physical and mental), mental illness, and rape. It is important to know this going into reading it.

I am pretty familiar with Grady Hendrix work, having read having read both Horrorstör and We Sold Our Souls. So why was a so surprised by this book? Set in the early 90's (although to be honest it felt very 80's to me and I just sort of went with that.) in a suburb of Atlanta, The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires, is not what I was prepared for. I expected a sort of adult version of a Scooby Doo mystery, but this book was so much darker and scarier than the title would have one suspect.

The book club is filled with the sort of gentile, southern, aristocrat women who, if they were from New York where I grew up, would have been considered the "Ladies Who Lunch" crowd. Here is the thing with these women, I have now lived south of the Mason-Dixson line for almost 20 years and I have run into this type of women before. I like to describe them as "an Iron fist in a velvet glove." For the record, that's not my quote, it's Napoleon, and he was not talking about southern women, but he should have. There is a hidden strength about this type of woman that is not necessarily visible on the outside. This is very much the case in this book. Behind these cool southern exteriors lies a wealth of seediness and oppression. The women are not taken seriously by the men in their lives; they are treated like children to be pampered and made to behave in a socially acceptable manner while the menfolk take care of the heavy lifting and serious business. Their job is to raise the perfect children and be a prefect hostess.

There was also quite a bit of engrained racism involved in this book. The only characters of color were poor, and were servants. The vampire chose to attack the children of color, and although the ladies tried in a halfhearted way to stop him, it was only after their own children came under fear of harm that they went into action. But when they finally unleashed that "Iron Fist" the vampire really did not have much of a chance.

In spite of all this, I did like the book and the story. This was not a sparkly vampire, but was also not a Nosferatu. He was something in-between. This is not going to be a story that appeals to everyone, and it did have some problems but overall this was a solid 3.5 stars.