Book Review: The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

***I got a free copy from NetGalley and am voluntarily giving an honest review***

The creeping horror of Paul Tremblay meets Tommy Orange’s There There in a dark novel of revenge, cultural identity, and the cost of breaking from tradition in this latest novel from the Jordan Peele of horror literature, Stephen Graham Jones.

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.

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I liked this horror book. The opening line was interesting: “The headline for Richard Boss Ribs would be indian man killed in dispute outside bar.” I felt bad for what happened to that character. The story mostly focused on Lewis. When he was younger, him and his friends (Gabe, Rickey, Cass) had tortured and killed an elk. Now, the ghost of the elk was getting her revenge.

I wanted to love this book because I’m part American Indian but it was just alright for me. The unedited ARC from NetGalley had weird wording in some sections so I found myself having to keep re-reading paragraphs to get what was going on. I think if I had read the final product, I may have enjoyed the book more. I’ve read a short story of the author’s, so I know he’s a great storyteller. I’d be interested in trying his other books.

Lewis was an interesting character. As a reader, I didn’t know if he was crazy or if he was really being haunted by a ghost elk. I thought the author did a good job of building suspense. Lewis was probably my favorite character.

When the story started to focus more on his friends, the book started to go at a slower pace for me, as a reader. I was missing Lewis. The story wasn’t scary for me like I had hoped it would be. At the 80% mark would have been the perfect ending, with everything coming full circle. Instead the story kept going, focusing on a side character now being harassed by the ghost elk. To be honest, I didn’t care what would be her end game because I didn’t get a chance to know her.

If you like slow burn, quiet horror, then you’ll like this story.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

 

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

  1. Sounds interesting. Like you, I’m interested in native Americans and have written six books with First Nations leads. Not, however, because I’m part native — but my wife is.

    • Cool beans, Ed. I’ll have to check out your books. I love reading about Native American characters since they’re so underrepresented in books and movies. I didn’t even know I was part Native American until my college years. Then I didn’t even know what two tribes until my thirties. My aunt did research with ancestry.com

      Keep smiling,
      Yawatta

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