The Southern Book Club's Guide to Hunting Vampires by Grady Hendrix
Hot Damn I liked this book.
While I will freely admit Stephen King is one of my favorite authors, horror isn't really my jam. Life's rough enough, right?
Which is why I was a little surprised by how much I loved Hendrix's book, "The Southern Book Club's Guide to Hunting Vampires." The story perfectly tackled what's really scary about our lives, The monster is something we're all supposed to hate, but reasons--mundane, practical reasons--keep people from taking action in this story, and those same reasons knock them down when they do.
It was a perfect book of the moment, indicting the women in the titular book club with familiar crimes. Being blind due to their privilege, hypocritical in their faith and purported priorities and perhaps most galling, ineffective in their attempts to challenge the status quo. Paying lip service to the causes they are purported to care about, they are more than willing to ignore the problem for their own comfort, until they can't anymore. And then they are punished, especially when they challenge their husband's priorities.
The story is a masterclass in theme, and it's the epitome of my writing motto: All writing is critical, and all writing is creative. Even if you are writing about blood and guts and gore, you can infuse those stories with societal criticism. For this reader, at least, that's what really kept me up at night--the brutal reality of the power of the mundane and how hard it really is to challenge the status quo.