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.
- Title: The Only Good Indians
- Author: Stephen Graham Jones
- Cover Artist: Ella Laytham, design
- Publisher: Gallery / Saga Press
- ISBN: 1982136456
- Publication Date: July 14, 2020
- Content Warnings: animal cruelty
I’d like to thank Gallery / Saga Press for providing a copy via NetGalley in exchange for review consideration.
Exploring the tension between traditionalism and modernity and laying bare the horrors of guilt and grief, The Only Good Indians will break your heart and make your skin crawl. Four childhood friends from the Blackfeet tribe engage in illegal hunting just before Thanksgiving. They slaughter a herd of elk, including a pregnant cow. The friends get caught in the act by the game warden, and their lifetime ban from hunting is just the beginning of their problems. The friends eventually part ways, with some leaving the reservation and others staying behind, but the past catches up with all of them in the end.
This is my first book by Stephen Graham Jones, but it definitely won’t be my last. He weaves an astonishing tale of generational trauma, atonement for your own sins and for the sins of your parents, and supernatural horror. His deceptively simple prose sometimes catches you off guard with its lyricism, and his narrative ambition amplifies the story’s suspense and underscores its message of the cyclical nature of life. The Only Good Indians is a book that gets under your skin and stays there. It forces you to look back at where you’ve been and gaze forward at where you’re going, hoping all the while that you’ve done enough penance to keep moving in the right direction.
I give this book 5 out of 5 coffins.