I don’t normally read horror books, but I read Jones’ Mapping the Interior and have been meaning to read another of his books. That being said, I read only during the day and was prepared for anything to happen. The Only Good Indians is a book that kind of built up the horror. It was like being on a roller coaster of horror and suspense. Keep reading my book review of The Only Good Indians to see what a scaredy cat like me thought!
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 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.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the Bookish First. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
The Only Good Indians is inventive and definitely delivers on the horror atmosphere. The story rises and falls with its suspense, quietly building up to these moments of explosive action. Beginning with a subtle tension, I was impressed with the way Jones is able to manipulate our feelings of anxiety and that gut feeling knowing something is wrong. The Only Good Indians is a story about characters. How have their lives been changed by what that incident, their ways of seeing themselves, and their feelings of guilt. It’s a story where I wasn’t sure what was happening even till the end because it feels almost unexplainable.
One of those feelings where you know what’s happening, but still can’t seem to process it. It still feels unsettling and you’re not sure if you can make sense of what you see versus what you know. For these feelings alone, The Only Good Indians delivers such a unique and inventive atmosphere. What was also interesting to me in The Only Good Indians was the exploration of the characters and their convictions. What is the aftermath of this event on their own decisions and hindsight? At the same time, I loved the social commentary of Jones on how the men see their own Indian identities.
The Only Good Indians is a must read if you are interested in horror books, characters connected by revenge, and an atmospheric read. It will take you on an emotional roller coaster. But don’t worry! If you are like me, and scared of nightmares, The Only Good Indians didn’t give me any! Find The Only Good Indians on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, Bookshop.org & The Book Depository.