Review: The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

Rating: ★★★★★+

Synopsis

Peter Straub’s Ghost Story meets Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies in this American Indian horror story of revenge on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.

Four American Indian men from the Blackfeet Nation, who were childhood friends, find themselves in a desperate struggle for their lives, against an entity that wants to exact revenge upon them for what they did during an elk hunt ten years earlier by killing them, their families, and friends.

Review

Thanks to the publisher and author for an advance reading copy of The Only Good Indians in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this eARC did not influence my thoughts or opinions on the novel.

I have to agree with Entertainment Weekly that Stephen Graham Jones IS the Jordan Peele of horror fiction with this latest novel. The Only Good Indians is an extremely unsettling masterpiece that is destined for the big screen. It is a horror novel that will chill you to the bone, but one that will also leave you with a profound sense of hope. You will not be unmoved.

I have been a fan of SGJ’s for a while now, having loved his novel Mongrels (2016, William Morrow) and his latest novella, Mapping the Interior (2017, Tor.com), so to say I had to get my hands on this astounding piece of literature… you get the point. I mean, it isn’t even slated to be out until May 2020. This actually may be the quickest turn-around for an ARC I have ever received.

The Only Good Indians doesn’t start out at breakneck speed, allowing the reader to become familiar with the characters and environment, but as soon as Jones begins to sprinkle in the horror elements, attempting to set the book aside to gather your thoughts, let alone your breathe, is like attempting to stop a freight train barreling down on you. Having said that, around the halfway point of the novel, there is a bit of a slowdown that I didn’t see coming. It almost felt like the end of Book 1 and the start of Book 2, but as you progress along into the next few chapters, you will see that it is required to set up the 2nd half of the novel. This, by no means, detracted from my enjoyment of this book.

Though I came into this novel expecting to be terrified by the turn of the last page (which you will be, too. Trust me.), I wasn’t expecting to have my heart broken into a billion pieces on the way there and beyond. TOGI will eat away at your emotions until you are hollowed out, only to restore you by the time you hit the acknowledgements page. It is brutally beautiful in its execution and we as readers are not worthy of Stephen Graham Jones.

It isn’t even December yet.
2020 is still over a month and a half away.
I don’t even know all of the books set to publish next year. I literally haven’t compiled a list yet.
But one thing I do know is that The Only Good Indians has the first shot at being my #1 read of 2020 already, and it is going to be tough sledding for anyone to knock it from its perch.

Pre-order this book with confidence.

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

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