Okay… here we go. This review is chock full of spoilers, because there’s really no other way to talk (read: rant good-humoredly) about this book, but I’ve marked spoiler territory below.
The first thing I will say is that if the main characters were REALLY like those from Steel Magnolias or The Fried Green Tomatoes… this book would’ve ended a lot sooner. Also, I have not experienced this level of frustration in a book in a long time, but I did give myself a week or two to cool off. With that said, let’s rant!
So I picked up this audiobook from the library after my coworker recommended it. The Steel Magnolias meets Dracula piqued my interest, so I was definitely curious to dive in.
And it starts off so well. This book takes place in the late 80s/early 90s in South Carolina. Patricia is a housewife that meets with her other colorful housewife friends every week for their true crime book club. But…
…After Patricia’s earlobe is bitten off by her elderly neighbor, her MIL is eaten by rats, the earlobe eater’s nephew’s van is linked to missing kids, and then she SEES this vampire feeding on a girl (with weird sexual undertones, not to mention the “insectoid appendage” in his mouth) – Patricia is naturally, a bit concerned.
So she tries to rally her book club to get rid of the child-molesting vampire, but the husbands step in, trying to convince them their minds have been rattled by all their true crime books. The wives are like, well I guess we have to obey our chauvinistic, manipulative (and in one case, wife-beating) husbands because they’ve gone into business with the child-molester.
AND THEN WE FAST-FORWARD TO THREE YEARS LATER.
Okay. I can understand that maybe happening in the 1950s, but in 1990?! Come on. And maybe like one or two awful husbands & submissive housewives I can see, but all of them!? After Patricia’s earlobe was bitten off, the MIL was eaten by rats, and Patricia SAW the INSECT APPENDAGE?! She’s still going to let him into her house with her CHILDREN?!?!?!
Um no. The Steel Magnolia ladies would’ve pulled their guns out from under their mattresses and killed that guy right there.
But anyways, I digress. I figured I would stick in there, because surely the husbands get their just deserts in the end…
Double spoiler alert.
Which is all to say, the book was ridiculous horror fun up until the midpoint. Then it took a dive into some 1950 twilight zone of WTF that was SO incredibly frustrating, and it did not redeem itself. Honestly, I’m getting angry again just writing this review.
I need to tack on trigger warnings for gore and rape, but I’d still give it 2.5 stars for the premise, the flowing, descriptive style of prose, and a well-narrated audiobook. That said, I can’t say I would recommend to anyone, unless you want to go rant to your coworker… and your extended family over thanksgiving… and then the internet.
Thanks for reading!