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.
|Tallinn Central Library||ebook||400||Quirk Books||Horror||April 7th, 2020|
Oooh, we have a bit of a ‘bad boy’ on our hands. This book has divided the reading community – as best books do! So yeah, I’ve read the (probably) most popular review of the book on Goodreads and a lot of the comments underneath it, and I think I just… confused. Then I was like- OK, fair enough. That’s how the person feels. I will be writing about how I feel. All allowed. We’re all allowed to have an opinion. But then, I kind of took a step back and worked myself into a frenzy…
Because for the love of fuck, this book rocked my socks off in every way! It’s a great book. And if you don’t think so, that’s great too… But for me… let me tell you… It has the characters who are just so ALIVE and TRUE and it has the bit of blood spattering at the right places and it has the mysterious and creepy stranger and damn it, I can get behind a vampire story any day of the week! So, no, I won’t take offense on behalf of someone else based on FICTION, I won’t get all political about the themes in this book. No, it’s not because I condone violence and rape and murder and mocking stereotypes. Not at all. TSBCGTSV is a freaking horror fiction. What is horror fiction meant to write about if not horrible, disgusting things??? So, I say this, if you can’t take a shovelful of world’s shit in fiction, then maybe don’t read horror fiction?
And personally, I didn’t feel like this book was promoting sexism, racism and misogyny. Not promoting. Did the story include all of those horrible things and behaviours? Yes. Because that’s how things have been in parts of the world, still are in parts of the world. Thing is, if Hendrix would have written a whole different decades-past Southern setup here, he would have been lynched for ‘glossing over’ or twisting the truth and … just, one can not win!
[redacted a whole lot of other wordy rant that, let’s be honest, whatever?]
/rant over! You do you. I do me. We all do us. Opinions galore, hooray! Next book, next review!
I found Hendrix’s Horrorstör rather dull. There I said it! It was OK, but for me, it felt like a day at work (not that I’ve ever worked in a furniture shop, but I have worked, you know) and the formality of the format just felt like clocking into work and it’s always horrible at work so the book didn’t feel as creepy? Anyway, We Sold Our Souls was much more up my alley. Because any headbanger immediately likes something better where headbangers and the right kind of good music 😛 are involved. The story itself was pretty ace, too, in fairness. The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires is my favourite Grady Hendrix book. I had a feeling about this book the minute I saw the cover appear on social media. It had this vibe. It beckoned. It lured. It delivered.
In this book, the author managed to really place me into one of those Southern houses with these Southern housewives and the housewives were themselves so… 3D and believable and just true! Hendrix really drove home the point where the woman/mother/wife is taking her position so seriously (and, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be or being a housewife) that her day is literally always for someone else other than herself and no one fucking says THANKS for all they do! They’re being taken for granted and they do everything because they are dedicated and loyal and responsible and jesus, they just want some excitement of their own so book club it is. And it’s scary and exciting and a little bit ‘oh my god, what would the neighbors say’ but reading true crime gets their blood pumping in just the right way because their husbands have long forgotten to treat them just right to help them forget about the to-do lists and dinners and polishing silverware and vacuuming curtains.
She wanted to close the door and stand on the porch and have an actual adult conversation with this man. She had been so terrified of him, but he was warm, and funny, and he looked at her in a way that made her feel seen.
And along comes this new dude, he likes books and everyone likes him because he’s just so agreeable and he lifts the whole community to new heights. And the fact that he’s maybe, potentially evil – I mean, how dare a housewife rock the boat of a neighborhood that is always without crime, like communist Russia, and blame anyone of being anything other than a perfect, god-loving citizen?
But hypocrisy is often a part of a perfect life. I mean, really, NO ONE has it perfect. To claim otherwise, is to lie. And to lie is a sin. Hence, hypocrisy. And turning a blind eye when bad things happen to the poor kids in the poor community in the village over is bad. And turning a blind eye when the poor kids happen to be black is even worse. But then you weigh up the danger to your own kids and squeeze your eye shut to the horrors of the world and nest in. To keep you and yours safe.
But some women are fiercer than others. They might be pushed down, but they won’t stay down. And the fight inside them will will light a fire in the others as well. And when they’re all raging in their love-fueled desire to fight back, you better be afraid. Vampire or not.
“We’re a book club,” Maryellen said. “What are we supposed to do? Read him to death? Use strong language?”
There was so much story in this book. The family lives, different responsibilities. The set of women were all distinct, not painted with the same brush at all. They all dealt with bad and worse in their own particular way. Yes, some wanted to dig their head in the sand, some found it better to pray, some waited for instructions from others, some went about vacuuming curtains. But in the end, resilience is what set those women on a pedestal. Resilience. And the freaking skills to clean! You have no idea (until you read the book) of the importance of being able to properly clean!
The vampire… I’ll just say that you won’t get a modern type vampire – not one of those, ooh, I’m on animal blood, please love me. Or one of those, check out my fangs baby, and fear me! The vampire in this book is one of those monsters that makes you feel at ease at the same time as afraid. A true predator. An intelligent predator.
I loved this book… for one, THE BEST prologue I’ve ever read. Really sets up the book! Descriptions of scenes and people were amazing- took me right in there! It was bloody funny, too! Even when I felt bad for laughing, it was simply that- hilarious. And then in equal parts, it did of course deliver the nightmarish, the creepy, the uncomfortable, the gory. Whooooh. If I was ever asked who I’d take to war with me- I’d vote for a bunch of Southern women!