Book Review: The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones (ALC)

The Only Good Indians

Author: Stephen Graham Jones

Narrator: Shaun Taylor-Corbett

Publication Date: 14 July 2020

Genre: Adult Fiction – Horror

Length: 8 hours 37 minutes

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio

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 Native American 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.

This book is NOT for the faint of heart. This isn’t to say that this book is overly horrifying or anything of that nature.

What Stephen Graham Jones does in this book is crafts a raw and gritty novel that gives a truly terrifying insight into the internalized racism and left over anger and animosity to the indigenous people who managed to survive genocide. This book is hurt like hell. As someone who spent decades getting over my own internalized racism, I was angry all over again, because I have had these exact same feelings.

This story also dives deep within the depths of psychological horror and intrigue. Four men of the Blackfeet tribe (Ricky, Lewis, Gabe, and Cass) took part in a hunt ten years prior that resulted in the slaughter of a herd of Elk that never should’ve happened. In doing so, they unleashed the wrath of the Elk Head Woman whose revenge will only be satiated with their blood.

This book is definitely graphic at times when it comes to hunting and animal slaughter, so if that is something that is triggering, please keep that in mind.

That being said, this is one of those stories that really forces us to push the boundaries of our own comforts and preconceived notions about indigenous communities. Yes, this book is utterly heartbreaking but it isn’t without hope. It really is a great read.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Audio for providing a review copy through Librofm. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

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