One Dark Night in Suburbia (The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires – A Book Review)

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires

Author: Grady Hendrix

Published: 2020

On Goodreads

My Rating:

Rated D for a deadly neighbor in dark suburbia where only a book club can put a stop to the terror

In every book we read, no one ever thought anything bad was happening until it was too late.

Patricia lives her days and nights for her family, so when she joins a book club, that claims to not be a book club, that that devours true crime novels like crack, she’s grateful. It’s a reprieve from her ungrateful and hormonal kids and her husband who’s grown distant and finds that his career is more important than her. She and a group of mothers find this time away to be a vacation and delight.

When a stranger, both handsome and mysterious moves in next door to Patricia, strange things start occurring. Her mother-in-law begins rambling nonsense. Her son is suddenly into Nazism. Her daughter is sneaking out of the house. And the book club is no longer a safe haven when he joins. Patricia begins her own investigation around him when children start disappearing around the neighborhood and turn up dead. Somehow, he’s got something to do it with it. She just knows he is and she’d determined to get to the bottom of it, even if it puts her in mortal danger.

A total quarantine-buy because of course I needed more books on top of my book mountain. LOL. First, it was the title that snagged my eyeballs and then it was the cover art of fang marks in a peach with blood slowly dripping from the puncture marks. For some reason, it was both creepy and inviting and also tantalizing. Talk about a shudder-inducing moment. While peaches are a prime fruit of the south, it’s well-represented as a vagina. So…yeah. Pretty struck by the cover art as well. When I got to the inside of the dust jacket I was instantly hooked. That’s right guys, this wasn’t a quickie-buy for the fling of it. I gave this one a hell of a once-over. This is a book about book lovers needing a breaking from the hellish life of unappreciation and coming to the discovery of something dark and wicked in their midst. A vampire. How fucking wicked that shit is right there. It just made my blood sing! I LOVE a good vamp story and this one was original and entertaining. And let’s not forget that opening line: “The story end in blood.”

Hendrix was not wrong.

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Patricia isn’t my spirit animal or even my kind of woman that I want to be, but I do feel her struggle. The struggle of being unheard and neglected and made to look crazy when in fact she’s not. I felt so much rage for her in those moments because those are some of the worst feelings on the whole planet. Her husband who is supposed to be her partner, her lover, her best friend, is supposed to trust her in all things and yet, the jackass really had some nerve to shut her down like she was a dog being scorned. I truly wished I could’ve reached through the pages and slap that dink. For real.

I was so glad that Patricia had friends to rely on. In a position like this you gotta have friends. And sure, they were shaky. Who wouldn’t be when your home is being invaded and you’re power as a parent and person is being stripped away constantly? Still, the spunk and

The setting was about the only thing I was shaky about when it came to this book. A calm neighborhood where nothing happens and the houses look nearly the same and it’s day in and day out, the same thing 24/7. Dear gods, shoot me. Yet, when James rolled in that all changed. I instantly got that Fright Night-esque feel and it was delightful and fun, but also alarming. He even got his own nursery rhyme and that was chilling.

I was slowly, and then very suddenly, utterly unnerved. Hendrix really smashed the qualities of grit, gore, disturbing, and humor together and he did so eloquently. These pages bore a fantastic plot that didn’t run too fast nor walked too slow. It was a pace of perfection that I could put the book down but keep it on my mind, wondering what I could expect next. Just phenomenal. I’m not into true crime, but this jump into the obsession of it here will be my exception.

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Something that can’t be overlooked is the way vampirism in this one corresponds to pedophilia. I for one, will fight for the side that doesn’t agree with the entirety of vampires being such predators just because they’re frozen in time due to immortality. However, there are those that disrupt and destroy that notion. Here is a prime and perfect example. Some vampires are just trying to live their best abysmal forever, never having asked for that, and others are dastardly, perverse animals that wreak nightmarish havoc. It’s a fine line and a tricky one to walk. Hendrix has painted the dark side of the supernatural creature in a grim and realistic light for sure. Definitely gets me thinking about my studying Dracula back in college. That was an adventure and a half. And, I still love Spike (BTVS) and Emmett Cullen (Twilight) anyway and would give up all my goods for them. LOL.

Overall

A sublime and perfect read for the fall in my opinion. Gritty to the letter and eye-catching with gritty detail that’ll make you cringe. I haven’t cringe in horror because a book in forever. It was a hell of an experience. Just…whoa. For those who love the grisly and disturbing with a dash of eye-popping from time-to-time and, of course, the true crime bingers need to pick this one up too.

Quotables:

“No one likes their children. We love them to death, but we don’t like them.” (Kitty, p. 40)

“Nightwalking me always have a hunger on them. They never stop taking and they don’t know about enough. They mortgaged their souls away and now they eat and eat and never know how to stop.” (Miss Mary, p. 119)

“Her one job as a parent was to protect her children from monsters. The ones under the bed, the ones in the closet, the ones hiding in the dark. Instead, she’d invited the monster into her home and been too weak to stop it from taking whatever it wanted.” (p. 342-343)

More to come soon…                                                                                                

  -K.

P.S. Song today? Don’t You Forget About Me by Simple Minds.

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