Spend the season getting lost in these new or soon-to-be-released titles
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix (Quirk Books, April 2020)
When children start going missing, a Charleston housewife in a true-crime book club thinks she knows who the murderer is—and he’s a real monster. In what the publisher describes as “Fried Green Tomatoes meets Steel Magnolias meets Dracula,” Holy City native Grady Hendrix, author of My Best Friend’s Exorcism, tells a thrilling tale that pits seemingly proper moms against a killer with a big bite. A television show based on the book is already in the works.
On Ocean Boulevard by Mary Alice Monroe (Gallery Books, May 2020)
In the sixth installment of Lowcountry author Mary Alice Monroe’s popular “Beach House” series, readers catch up with Caretta “Cara” Rutledge as she prepares for her second wedding. Meanwhile, the parents of her niece, Linnea, plan to move into a new house on Ocean Boulevard, but an illness causes everyone to reevaluate their plans. As with the other books in the series, Monroe’s generational family drama is set on the Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island against the backdrop of the natural world, including the sea turtles that defy odds to return to the same sands each year to lay their eggs.
The Birth of All Things by Marcus Amaker (Free Verse, June 2020)
Charleston’s first poet laureate began writing his latest book of poetry when his wife was pregnant with their daughter, Rei, and completed it as we were called to social distance and stay at home to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. This personal collection touches on the themes of creative freedom, the black experience, and new birth. It includes “Hope Is in the Listening,” the poem Amaker wrote for the 2020 mayoral inauguration.
Lowcountry at High Tide by Christina Rae Butler (USC Press, June 2020)
Learn about the fascinating history of flooding in the city and efforts to hold the ocean at bay from the 17th century to present day with this comprehensive book by the owner of Butler Preservation and professor at the American College of Building Arts. Butler researched 300 years of archival records to show how the landscape has been altered to increase developable land, facilitate sanitation, and protect the population. In addition to documenting environmental and engineering changes, the book also looks at their public health and socioeconomic impacts.
The Book of Longings, by Sue Monk Kidd (Viking, April 2020)
This much-anticipated novel from former Charleston resident Sue Monk Kidd—author of bestsellers The Secret Life of Bees and The Invention of Wings—imagines the life of Ana, the rebellious and ambitious wife of Jesus. It details Ana's journey to find her voice in a time and place where her intellectual abilities and longing for freedom would have been stifled.
The Bicycle Man, by Bob Deans (Evening Post Books, April 2020)
The former Post & Courier reporter’s debut novel centers on a boy named Sandy who delivers the newspaper in a Virginia community outside of Richmond in 1968 as the headlines bring life-changing news of the Vietnam War, the fight for civil rights, Richard Nixon’s election, and Neil Armstrong’s steps on the moon. Amid that tension, the 13-year-old befriends a man on a bike who challenges the boy’s beliefs yet stands by him when he suffers a devastating loss and offers hope for a different future.