Cover Image: The Only Good Indians

The Only Good Indians

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I stayed in bed too late this morning finishing this book even as my kitten screamed at me and my dogs grumbled for food because I had to finish it and see how it ended and who, if anyone, would survive.⁣
⁣⁣
The Only Good Indians is the new realistic horror we need right now. An #ownvoices story of American Indian men in the Blackfeet tribe who made a choice ten years ago during an elk hunt gone wrong that comes back to haunt them. ⁣

The characters are real, the gore is visceral and the end had me holding my breath until the last page.⁣

Pre-order this now and block out May 19th on your calendar because you want this book!⁣

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 stars for this one! One of the best books I've read this year! ⁣

I'm going to be thinking about this one for a while. It's more than just a gory almost slasher horror book. It's extremely relevant as I live in a town where the police shot an unarmed Native man to death and have yet to charge the officer because ya know, police suck and prejudice is real.⁣

Each man who took part in the illegal elk hunt is trying to make his way through life being the best Indian he can be even while constantly thinking about all the things he's down that make him A Bad Indian. The elk hunt incident being one of the worst.
The way Stephen Graham Jones weaved the story along with bits of Native culture and history was fascinating and I found myself nodding along far too many times to parts of each man's life. About a 1/3rd of the way through the book switches narratives and takes a weird turn that had me screaming WTF IS GOING ON?!!! and after I caught up and realized what was happening and who was talking I loved it and really fell into the story, Super unique and different from anything I've ever read and I was so worried about the ending, but pleased with how it all closed down.

I even appreciated and enjoyed the acknowledgments where he thanks his dog for being the best.

Was this review helpful?

This is my first Netgalley review, and The Only Good Indians did not disappoint.

I'd seen some of my favorite reviewers raving about this book on Twitter, so when I decided to try Netgalley, I was excited to see this was available.

The Only Good Indians is a revenge story, but it is so much more than that.

This story reads like an oral tradition. It is conversational and tangential, weaving in non-linear arcs and stumbling over memories. Jumping from character to character, but always in the same thread, the act the four friends committed connecting the strands together in a continuous loop.

Many of the issues faced on the reservation are highlighted in bold. SGJ doesn't shy away from stereotypes--in fact, he uses them to insert some humor into the heavier moments--and wants the reader to feel uncomfortable. Racism. Alcohol and drug abuse. Broken homes. Lack of education. These topics are covered gracefully and brutally, demanding to be seen and heard in a stark realness I appreciated from the first page.

It is a story about identity, about maintaining culture and figuring out how to be a "good Indian" in a modern-day world. Each character struggles with this in their own ways, from honoring the past without becoming beholden to it, preserving tradition while attempting to create a space in the present. This is a theme explored in many NA literary works, from Harjo to Alexie to Shihab Nye.

The construct of The Other is also extremely important to the characters, never feeling like they fit in; whether this alienation stems from the decision to leave the reservation, marrying a "Custer-hair woman," or being the stand-out on the basketball team, there is an underlying conflict of being separate from something and needing to be apart of it at the same time.

This is a horror story you're unlikely to find on your bookshelf already. Bloody, visceral, and heartfelt, The Only Good Indians will stick to your bones and haunt your dreams.

Thank you to Netgalley and Gallery for providing this title for review consideration.

Was this review helpful?

This is a superb work of horror. I am honored and ecstatic to get to read this so much before its publication.

This is a revenge story unlike any I've ever read. The emotions are powerful, the characters are electric, and we ultimately have two intensely powerful female characters to rally behind. The monster is humanized, engaging, and sympathetic. The larger discussion beyond the horror elements is one of racism, systemic oppression, the overwhelming cycle of poverty and addiction, and the continuous mistreatment of Native American populations by the U.S. as a whole and its government. Despite this, there is a resounding and refreshing message of hope.

This book is honestly a wild ride. There is gore, body horror, and psychological thriller elements. Fair warning, there is quite a bit of violence against animals, but for the most part it feels like it's there for a purpose. I skimmed those sections because it isn't something I can personally handle, but it felt like part of a larger dialogue rather than violence for violence sake.

Stephen Graham Jones has blown it out of the park with this one for me, and I'm already excited to catch up on his early publications.

Was this review helpful?

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones is a wickedly well written horror story that went far above my expectations! It is an eerily creepy tale about a supernatural force of nature seeking revenge; honestly, this is not what I was expecting and I mean this in the most awesome way possible!

Mr. Jones wrote the characters so deeply fleshed which made for a really affecting reading experience; Fear, guilt, sadness, compassion, pity, anxiety, heart-break … There were a few times that I needed to break away to digest what I was reading and then I was right back in to the story, it’s that compelling. Along with the intensely written characters is Mr. Jones ability to draw the reader in slowly with vibrant descriptive narration and haunting prose that just drew me in deeper to the story. The Only Good Indian explores the culture of the Blackfeet Nation and I was fascinated with this story that is deeply rooted in Native American culture. This is one of the best horror stories that I’ve ever read!

A big thank you to NetGalley, Gallery/Saga Press, and Mr. Stephen Graham Jones for providing me with this book to read and review! It was a true pleasure!

Was this review helpful?

Thanks for the AR Net Galley

You will not read a book like this in the next 12 I can tell you. Brutal and revenge filled there is no place for safe words in this story. Masterson and Lovecraft visions in a story of revenge where the old adage, "we all act like animals may be true"

Was this review helpful?

I was fairly disappointed in this book. It seemed scattered, convoluted and the characters weren't really developed. Good plot, but for me, it just didn't deliver.

Was this review helpful?

Rating: ★★★★★+

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.

Review

Thanks to the publisher and author for an advance reading copy of The Only Good Indians in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this eARC did not influence my thoughts or opinions on the novel.

I have to agree with Entertainment Weekly that Stephen Graham Jones IS the Jordan Peele of horror fiction with this latest novel. The Only Good Indians is an extremely unsettling masterpiece that is destined for the big screen. It is a horror novel that will chill you to the bone, but one that will also leave you with a profound sense of hope. You will not be unmoved.

I have been a fan of SGJ’s for a while now, having loved his novel Mongrels (2016, William Morrow) and his latest novella, Mapping the Interior (2017, Tor.com), so to say I had to get my hands on this astounding piece of literature… you get the point. I mean, it isn’t even slated to be out until May 2020. This actually may be the quickest turn-around for an ARC I have ever received.

The Only Good Indians doesn’t start out at breakneck speed, allowing the reader to become familiar with the characters and environment, but as soon as Jones begins to sprinkle in the horror elements, attempting to set the book aside to gather your thoughts, let alone your breathe, is like attempting to stop a freight train barreling down on you. Having said that, around the halfway point of the novel, there is a bit of a slowdown that I didn’t see coming. It almost felt like the end of Book 1 and the start of Book 2, but as you progress along into the next few chapters, you will see that it is required to set up the 2nd half of the novel. This, by no means, detracted from my enjoyment of this book.

Though I came into this novel expecting to be terrified by the turn of the last page (which you will be, too. Trust me.), I wasn’t expecting to have my heart broken into a billion pieces on the way there and beyond. TOGI will eat away at your emotions until you are hollowed out, only to restore you by the time you hit the acknowledgements page. It is brutally beautiful in its execution and we as readers are not worthy of Stephen Graham Jones.

It isn’t even December yet.
2020 is still over a month and a half away.
I don’t even know all of the books set to publish next year. I literally haven’t compiled a list yet.
But one thing I do know is that The Only Good Indians has the first shot at being my #1 read of 2020 already, and it is going to be tough sledding for anyone to knock it from its perch.

Pre-order this book with confidence.

Was this review helpful?

I truly enjoyed the Horror of this novel. It was very much an American Indian tale but a much better than the flat stereotypes I usually encounter. Four friends have to pay for what they did wrong on a Elk hunt ten years ago. The suspense and horror was excellent. The characters were both likable and not, real people not generalizations. The writing was wonderful. The first victim basically goes slowly insane from paranoia and the realization of what is coming. This was a perfect set up of fear for the other victims both innocent and guilty. This book has elements of racism, maternal instinct and deep Indian cultural beliefs. I will be looking this author in the future. Thank you NetGalley and the publishers for this arc. Stephen Graham Jones, keep the great horror coming!

Was this review helpful?

Stephen Graham Jones has never let me down. Everything he writes just glows and sticks with you. This was a very haunting tale about guilt and our minds, how the two combined can be our undoing. Being native American this was a terrifying story,but will be to anyone, no matter your heritage. Highly recommend.

Was this review helpful?

When four young members of the Blackfeet Nation decide to hunt on reservation land reserved for tribal elders, it costs them the right to hunt on reservation land ever again.

Ten years later, they will learn the price is much higher than that. And they won't be the only ones to pay it.

For prey has become the hunter. Maternal instinct fuels unrelenting vengeance as a nature spirit rises from a killing field to balance the scales.

A brilliant, literary Native American horror novel that is incredibly empathetic to both the hunters and that which hunts them

Highly recommended.

Was this review helpful?

5 Stars. Stephen Graham Jones has done it again; he wrote a terrifying book that had me biting my nails and quickly turning pages. I can safely say that he is my all-time favorite horror author and this is one of his best.

This is a story about a vengeful elk. A group of friends shot at a herd of elk, causing a pregnant elk to die. She came back to seek revenge on them and their children, including their beloved dogs.

The violence is well written; gory but not excessive. The scenes described actions the characters were making in a way that felt like it could be turned into a Netflix movie. I wonder if someone has bought the movie rights to this yet.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free copy of this ebook in exchange for an unbiased review.

Was this review helpful?

I really wanted to like this novel and was so incredibly stoked to start it... unfortunately, I just could not get into it. All the stars seems aligned for me with this one; it is all about some of my biggest interests and it is one of my favorite genres. But I found it to read a little bit clunky and some of the train of thought was just too slow to get through.

Was this review helpful?