Review: The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

This is only my second book by Stephen Graham Jones, but I’m fairly confident that it has solidified him as one of my favorite contemporary horror authors.

I read this book in one day, and supplemented with audio when I absolutely had to get up and do responsible adult things. As much as I read, the one-day book is still sort of a rarity for me. Read: this is a great book.

What it’s about

From the Goodreads description:

Seamlessly blending classic horror and a dramatic narrative with sharp social commentary, The Only Good Indians follows four American Indian men after a disturbing event from their youth puts them in a desperate struggle for their lives. Tracked by an entity bent on revenge, these childhood friends are helpless as the culture and traditions they left behind catch up to them in a violent, vengeful way.

I can’t give much more than that away, because you really need to experience this wholly original book for yourself.

My thoughts

First and foremost, this is a horror novel. Reading it was a bit like watching a slasher movie. It’s gory, there’s lots of death, a bonafide monster, and I was genuinely frightened more than once. That the ‘monster’ has a legitimate case for revenge adds another interesting layer to the story.

The Only Good Indians is more than a scary horror novel, though. Stephen Graham Jones gives us a look into the lives and minds of his Native characters. Lewis and his friends aren’t bad people, and the glimpses I got of their individual stories made me invested in them. This makes it all the more distressing to have their stories descend into madness and pain. It’s absolutely devastating.

Jones’ writing is fantastic. Descriptive and deceptive, with frequent switches in POV that add so much to the experience. Such a gritty, heartbreakingly sad, fear-inducing read that I could not stop reading. And then that ending. Such a surprisingly hopeful, kick-ass ending.

If you like horror with well-crafted characters, read this freaking book. And if you like audiobooks, consider the brilliantly narrated audio read by Shaun Taylor-Corbett. The acknowledgements read by the author at the end are worth a listen as well.


3 thoughts on “Review: The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

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