cover image The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires

Grady Hendrix. Quirk, $21.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-68369-143-3

When Patricia Campbell, a bored, housewife in 1990s Charleston, S.C., sighs, “Don’t you wish that something exciting would happen around here?” she all but invites the chilling horrors that soon enmesh her and her friends in this clever, addictive vampire thriller from Hendrix (We Sold Our Souls). Patricia is one of a clutch of local women who assuage their ennui by forming a book club to discuss pulpy true crime chronicles. Their lives are upended by the arrival of James Harris, an outsider who easily ingratiates himself into their community, bringing an influx of money and good fortune to the town. Patricia alone finds Harris’s lack of traditional identification and sensitivity to daylight peculiar. When people begin to disappear, she struggles to convince her friends that Harris is more sinister than he appears. Hendrix draws shrewd parallels between the serial killers documented in the book club’s picks and Harris’s apparent vampire persona, loading his gruesome story with perfectly-pitched allusions to classic horror novels and true crime accounts. This powerful, eclectic novel both pays homage to the literary vampire canon and stands singularly within it. Agent: Joshua Bilmes, JABberwocky Literary. (Apr.)