December 12th, 2019, Jade returns to the rural lake town of Proofrock the same day as convicted Indigenous serial killer Dark Mill South escapes into town to complete his revenge killings, in this riveting sequel to My Heart Is a Chainsaw from New York Times bestselling author Stephen Graham Jones.
Four years after her tumultuous senior year, Jade Daniels is released from prison right before Christmas when her conviction is overturned. But life beyond bars takes a dangerous turn as soon as she returns to Proofrock. Convicted Serial Killer, Dark Mill South, seeking revenge for thirty-eight Dakota men hanged in 1862, escapes from his prison transfer due to a blizzard, just outside of Proofrock, Idaho.
Dark Mill South’s Reunion Tour began on December 12th, 2019, a Thursday.
Thirty-six hours and twenty bodies later, on Friday the 13th, it would be over.
Number one: the body count is always bigger. Number two: the death scenes are always much more elaborate. More blood, more gore. Carnage candy! Your core audience just expects it. And number three: if you want your sequel to become a franchise; never, ever, under any circumstances, assume the killer is dead.
These are the rules for a horror sequel and Stephen Graham Jones checks off Every. Single. One.
If My Heart is a Chainsaw is my favorite book of all time, which I can safely say it is, then Don’t Fear the Reaper is my favorite sequel of all time. It’s the Scream 2 of literary horror/slashers, bringing with it a bigger body count and crazier twists.
Taking place in just around two days, Jones doesn’t waste any time slicing to the meat of the story. Expanding the POV cast beyond Jade Daniels may be controversial to some but I feel it was a great choice as it provides for some great world building within the small town of Proofrock. We learn more of the history of the town and the people in it which, was a welcome surprise for this reader.
There are many great twists that make discussing this novel difficult. On the surface, the story seems very straight forward, but Jones weaves reveal after reveal that adds many fascinating layers on top of this not so straight forward slasher. Jones never loses sight of the fun this genre provides but doesn’t shy away from adding a fair share of heart into this bloody tale.
Don’t Fear the Reaper will pull your heartstrings while it rips out your guts and is a more than worthy follow-up to the fantastic My Heart is a Chainsaw. Jade Daniels is THE final girl.