In this, his fifth novel, Hendrix promises blood. He delivers it, too.
Set in the American state of North Carolina in the early 90’s, the story centres around a group of housewives, their book club, and what happens when a good-looking stranger moves to the neighbourhood. It reminded me of the 80’s classic, Fright Night, interbred with the more sinister Stepford Wives. A rollercoaster of a read. It’ll have your heart stopping one moment, then leaping into your throat the next; you’ll forget to breathe and you’ll laugh out loud; you’ll be saddened by the unfairness of it all.
Hendrix spends plenty of pages developing the characters in an easy-to-read and humorous style that has the danger of misleading the reader, allowing them to feel safe. But these women are angry, and there’s a lot to be angry about, including the vampire. The monster – and yes, there is one – highlights, rather than is, the actual horror. The book, for example, shows how stark racial inequality can be. But the most chilling part in the whole book comes halfway in and has nothing to do with the supernatural or Good vs Evil, and everything to do with gender roles.
As well as angry, the characters are strong, they become heroes, and in 2020 that’s exactly what we need.
Oh, watch out for the cockroach scene. It’ll make you wince.
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