Wow. Whew. Whoa.
I finished reading this book almost a week ago and I’m still not sure what I want to say about it. I suppose that’s saying something in itself though, right?
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires was the first pick of a virtual book club I joined. I didn’t really join for the book itself, but just for the chance to discuss reading with other adults. I suppose, mostly based on the title and a quick skim of the blurb, that I was just expecting a housewife who finds her inner badass and slays a vamp or two.
What I didn’t expect was to find horrific scenes written in such vivid detail that made me want to stop reading and continue reading at the same time.
The old woman hauled herself up Patricia’s body, mouth open, slaver swinging from it in glistening ribbons, eyes wide and mindless like a bird’s. One of her filthy hands, tacky and rough with raccoon gore, burrowed past Patricia’s collar and clutched the side of her neck, and then she dragged her body, warm and soft like a slug’s, completely over Patricia’s front.
How’s that for a lighthearted tale? This scene (which that excerpt is only a small part of) has really stuck with me. There are plenty of others like it in the book, too. The problem is that while it’s disturbing, frustrating, and just gross, it’s also really well written.
There’s excellent character development, with Patricia and each of her book club friends having a distinct personality. Hendrix does an excellent job of transporting the reader to an upper-middle class neighborhood in 1990s Charleston. The plot is rich as Patricia deals not only with her vampire problem but also the typical issues of husband, children, and home.
I was actually kind of mad at how well it was written, because if it was crap I could just not read it and not have all those haunting scenes in my head. It wasn’t, so I didn’t. Instead, I had to plow on through and find out just what happens.
Typically, I’m not a huge fan of vampire books. All that blood talk grosses me out. This was…not typical. I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but just know that this book is so much more than blood.
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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois. She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University. Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside Detective. Her short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous. Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world. You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.