Thanks to NetGalley and Gallery/Saga Press for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: May 19th, 2020
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.
Entertainment Weekly recently asked if award winning author Stephen Graham Jones could be the Jordan Peel of literary horror, and after finishing The Only Good Indians in less than three hours, my answer is a resounding “Yes!”
I’m going to start out by saying I’m not a fan of hunting. However, I don’t judge people who do, except for those who just kill for trophies to hang on their walls. In this overwhelmingly suspenseful story, four friends pay for what they did a decade previously during a bloody elk hunt. They immediately lose the right to hunt on reservation land, but there’s a future price that they never could have conceived of that will not only cost them, but everyone they love and care about. The first few chapters nicely sets up what’s to come as the readers are introduced to the four men and the people in their lives. It doesn’t take long for the horror elements to come into play and some of the scenes are just gory enough that they may be difficult for some readers, especially those who are animal lovers.
One of the things that made me feel so empathetic toward these characters is that they’re not indifferent to the suffering they caused during the elk hunt, and they know they crossed the line. When vengeance/justice comes for them years later, it’s almost as though they’re expecting it, which broke my heart a bit. Just as it did for the entity that hunts them as it too suffered unimaginable loss. At the end, there are no real villains here.
The Only Good Indians is a literary horror tour de force that will have you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. Jones masterfully blends horror, suspense, Native American life, and biting social commentary into a beautifully crafted tale that’s storytelling at its best. If Hollywood doesn’t scoop this up I will be shocked. This isn’t out until May 2020, but horror fans should add this to their calendars now because I predict it will be one of the most talked about books of next year.