I got halfway through before deciding that it wasn't getting any better after all and giving up entirely.
Failed academic Frank Nichols and his wife, Eudora, have arrived in the sleepy Georgia town of Whitbrow, where Frank hopes to write a history of his family’s old estate-the Savoyard Plantation- and the horrors that occurred there. At first, the quaint, rural ways of their new neighbors seem to be everything they wanted. But there is an unspoken dread that the townsfolk have lived with for generations. A presence that demands sacrifice.
It comes from the shadowy woods across the river, where the ruins of Savoyard still stand. Where a longstanding debt of blood has never been forgotten.
A debt that has been waiting patiently for Frank Nichols’s homecoming…
The book is definitely trying to pull a Stephen King, in that it tries to make you care for the town and the people in it before summarily slaughtering them, only it doesn't manage it very well. I, for one, was really bored. The main character is not particulary likable, intelligent, adventurous or anything at all really. He's just a professor who moved and who was in the War in France and has nightmares because of it, and who had a crazy grandfather who was killed by the slaves he refused to free. Also he loves his wife a lot. All these three things are very carefully presented to the reader, so that you know that it's very likely that a black slave will turn out to be one of Those Across the River, and that his wife will have a serious episode of Woman in the Refrigerator Trope at some point along the book, possibly at the hands of said black slave.
I had to go look for spoilers to see if I was right, and yes I was.
The fact that Those Across the River turn out to be (gasp!) werewolves is entirely irrelevant.