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The Only Good Indians

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Member Reviews

This story starts out with the beating death of an American Indian outside a bar. The author then takes us on a journey along with four American Indian men after a disturbing event from their youth puts them in a desperate struggle for their lives. An entity is tracking them bent on revenge and it’s closing in on them, one by one!

SGJ gives us a look into Indian traditions, the lives of four friends and how all four were changed by one event. Characters are great, we learn of their hopes and dreams along with the entity that seeks revenge! It’s a slow, creepy horror that develops as the story moves along. Had some real feels at the end. This is a good one, you need to grab it!

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This review is based on an ARC of The Only Good Indians which I received courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher (Gallery / Saga Press).

4.25 stars

Hoo-wee! This is the best horror I've read in a while! (Certainly the best one not written by Stephen King.) When it comes to horror/suspense novels I don't typically stray outside of certain parameters. I'm glad, however, that I took a chance on this one! The Only Good Indians is utterly gripping from Go and delightfully horrific. The beginning (after the prologue) is a little bit of a slow build, but interesting nevertheless, and the novel keeps tempo throughout.

What kept my interest the most is probably the heavy Native American culture represented. It's a culture I'm not very familiar with (and one of my favorite parts about reading is seeing how other people live!), so that made the book really fun for me to delve into. I especially love the drawl-y, realistic vernacular of the narration. Jones' prose is very unique from most other author's I've read, and the story he tells is also insanely creative and new.

Just, wow! This book is a hit for me. I can't wait to read more from this author!

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This novel kept me on the edge of my seat. I was really fascinated with the pieces of Native American culture sprinkled throughout this story involving four friends who are "cursed" after an act of violence when they were young. This was definitely a slow burn for me. Sometimes I couldn't see where parts of the story would intersect right until the last few chapters. And I was not expecting the ending at all. I highly recommend this book!

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The Only Good Indians is a thrilling and horrifying novel that sits deep in your soul. This is the kind of book that stays with you and keeps you up long into the night. Friends, this is what horror SHOULD BE. I'm a fan!

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Four young American Indian men find themselves fighting for their lives against an entity who wants revenge after an event that occurred during an elk hunt ten years earlier.

Many are really enjoying this book and I encourage my fellow readers to read those reviews. This book just wasn't for me. I struggled with the writing style, I found it slow in parts, and overall just not my cup of tea. I love a good horror book, but this one just didn't work for me- end of story. I thought the book started on a high note, and really grabbed me but then it lost me, and I never found my footing with this again.

We all can’t love the same book, and this is the case here. I am in the minority on this one, so give it a try and decide for yourself.

The book does have an amazing cover.

Thank you to Gallery, Pocket Books and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.

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The Only Good Indians is about four young men that killed a herd of elk on land they had no business hunting on. Several years after the elk massacre, Lewis still can't help but feel guilt over what happened and is convinced that one of the young elk is after him to get revenge. When the people Lewis and his childhood friends care about are dying, it's clear something is after them and no one is safe.

This book had its ups and its downs. I was about 1/3 of the way through the book before I felt something interesting was finally happening, however the momentum doesn't carry throughout the book. There's a lot of parts where there's too much detail about things that don't help support the plot and just feel like they're there to fill space. There were a few parts where I could skip pages and not feel like I was missing anything. The gore and violence against animals didn't bother me at all, but if that's not something you're okay with, you might want to skip reading this book. Those parts get descriptive. I thought the ending tied the story up nicely, but it still felt like the rest of the book was lacking something.

Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher and the author for the opportunity to read the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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A true tale of horror, revenge, and suspense from a unique perspective. When tradition is violated and a horrible crime brings down a curse on four Blackfeet young men, their lives will be upended by a force hell-bent on their destruction.

Absolutely dripping with atmosphere and starring fascinating characters whose perspectives always drew me in and kept me interested, this book is an easy reccomend for fans of horror and other works by Stephen Graham Jones.

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A little ways into this, I began to think, "I've read an awful lot of zombie animal books lately." I needn't have worried that this one would be the same as the others: it's very different, and very good. Four young men, full of hubris and disdain, massacre a herd of elk they find grazing in the men's Native elders' hunting grounds. One of the elk is young and pregnant, and though she may be dead, she does not forget or forgive. Ten years later, with one of the men already dead, the other three begin to meet their fates at the hands, feet--hooves--of the young elk, who takes on bodies and identities and does what she feels necessary for retribution. Along the way, the author offers insight into modern Native American culture, the ways in which indigenous Americans have been robbed and segregated, and hurt by white governments, and what it means--maybe--to be Indian. I recommend this highly as a thriller, a ghost story, a meditation. It's gruesome and gory and marvelous.

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** spoiler alert ** Thank you to Simon and Schuster for taking a bit of a chance on me for this arc. Unfortunately, this was not for me.
TW for animal cruelty, animal abuse, poaching, GORE (barbaric cutting a fetus out) death, and just some general bad stuff happening to elk.
This is about a group of Blackfoot men departed after an event they no longer speak of. One by one, each of them are killed by some unforseen entity.
I found this story so gory and graphic, which was not the right horror thriller to start out with. But I did enjoy the poetic writing, locations, and descriptions of certain elements.
I would definitely watch this if it became a movie, but it just didn't translate well for me on page.
That being said I'm rating this a 3/5 stars. Just because I didn't enjoy it doesn't mean someone else won't. I'm just a bit more sensitive to animals and their essence than I thought.
I do want to add that I'm probably rating this low because I'm Lakota and we believe in only taking what you need when it comes to hunting. My family hunted for survival vs for sport so I had a hard time resonating with these characters due to my own life experiences.

I am really happy for Stephen Graham Jones and I hope that the next thing he writes I will enjoy more.

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‘The Only Good Indians’ is a horrific tale about four rebellious Native American teenagers, Gabe, Cass, Ricky, and Lewis, who decide to have an elks Thanksgiving for their reservation, Blackfeet Nation. Drunken with murder and rage, the teens kill a herd of elks. As the teenagers cheer about the massacre they caused, they start to cut up the elks to bring the meat back to their reservation, only to discover an innocent pregnant young elk, was among the elks killed. Terrified of the curse they just imposed on themselves, they bury the young elk and her baby, except for her head.
Fast forward ten years, the now four Native American men are haunted by the curse of the young female Elk. Slowly one by one, the “Elk head woman” takes her revenge on each of the four-man by meticulously and slowly killing each one of them and everything they hold dear.

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Of course the title caught my eye, but when I heard the description, I knew I had to read this. My pueblo has so many stories about respecting the animals you hunt, and I had devoured the graphic novel Deer Woman earlier this year, so I was thrilled when Netgalley gave me an early digital copy.

At first I had a hard time with the flow of this novel. First of all, a lot of the story isn't explained, only hinted at for the first quarter, so even though I had an idea of what had happened to four Blackfeet men, best friends from childhood, on the weekend before Thanksgiving, I didn't really know what was going on. At some point it becomes clear, and then the story picked up for me.

One of the great things about this book is that the main characters aren't terribly likeable. Four Indian men, who drink, shoot elk illegally, and sit around feeling sorry for their lot in life hits much too close to home (men like Lewis, Gabe, Cass, and Ricky are some of the many reasons I didn't marry an Indian man), yet the story is written in a way that you are conflicted on who to root for. You don't much like the men, but you can see they are doing their best with what they have, and the elk spirit is so sinister that it's hard to feel sorry for it. Another great thing about this book is that it is not dumbed down for non-Native audiences. Stephen Graham Jones sets the story at a pace that requires you to keep up, and the easiest way to keep up is to not expect to understand every little detail. There were many, many things that I didn't fully understand, since my people are Tohono O'odham, and Pueblo, not Blackfeet, but I don't need to fully understand every tiny unexplained detail to get a great thriller. I loved that Jones let the atmosphere of the story take over, instead of explaining every piece of Native myth, and taboo.

This is very much a modern allegory, one that could be turned into a story the Blackfeet will tell their children around hunting season for years to come. Denorah's unexpected role at the end is a reflection of the role of Indigenous women everywhere.

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Brutal.

Heartbreaking.

Beautiful.

The Only Good Indians, by Stephan Graham Jones, was a must read for me the moment I saw the cover and read the description…and it did not disappoint.

The author manages to break your heart and build up your hope time and time again.

While I loved the cultural perspective here, I reveled in the nuanced horror story the author brought us. The mix of horror and pure beauty was stunning.

A truly outstanding read!

*ARC via Net Galley

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This is such a unique story! Four young men from the Blackfeet nation illegally hunt elk one day and don't realize that they are putting their lives at risk. One by one they are tracked down by an entity that wants revenge for that day. I like the contemporary setting in Montana and how they joke with each other about being Indian. It is one of the weirdest books I have ever read (in a good way that is).

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This is a spectacular novel from a modern master of Macabre fantasy. It slots right in between Straub's Ghost Story and M.R. James's "Martin's Close", bringing us a tale of otherworldly vengeance with a power and a narrative inventiveness that is at once propulsive and delightful. This book belongs on the bookshelf of any fan of the genre.

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This one will stick with you for a while.I liked all of it- the characters, the setting, the writing. everything. This is the story of 4 Blackfeet youths that hunt on reserved land for tribal Elders and what it cost them. It's a story of revenge, loss, broken hearts and lastly, hope. SGJ is a master story teller and i hope to read a lot more from him in the future.

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It took me a little bit to get into this book - partially due to my own distractions and partially because I found the beginning of the book a little hard to follow - but I am very glad I kept going, because it hooked me once I was about 1/5 of the way in and then I blew through the rest of it. This is a spooky-weird book in the best way and made me feel like I was watching a slow-motion disaster unfold without being able to turn away or stop it from happening. I liked that it address some of the issues and realities of being Native at the same time it is a horror story - also while suggesting the realities of being Native in this country can be a horror story of its own - and yet, it leaves some hope alive with the way it unfolds. The mark of a good book, for me, is measured partly in how much it lingers, and this one keeps coming back to me. I’m glad I got a chance to read it early!

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What the fuck did I just read???
This gave the creeps the whole way through. More than just a horror story. The Only Good Indians tells a story many do not understand. A story of honor and history. Forgetten rules and traditions. What is like being a Indian in the white mans world. Highly recommended to everyone. You will question eating in game meat ever again.

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Shocking, terrifying at times and thought provoking, this novel is a must-read for lovers of horror & suspense. I can't wait to read more from this author!

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The Only Good Indian. This was a beautiful story, with a wonderful underlying message about respecting all life. It’s horrific and melancholy. My one true critique is it was at times a bit long winded.

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What do you need to know about this book? Some young men, a while ago killed elk, and now we have a revenge tale, where the elk is coming back to kill these men. A bit convoluted, maybe? I have looked forward to this book for ages. And it started off amazingly. However, about 1/2 way in, I found my mind wandering while I was reading, and suddenly I didn't care. I hate that. So much. This may be a book I have to go back and try to reread. I looked through some of the previous reviews and many people really liked it. Based on the beginning and how into I was, I can't give the book a crappy rating. But because it didn't hold my interest like I wanted to, I can't give it a high one either. Maybe I'll reread it some day.

As always, this rating and review won't stop me from reading works by this author in the future. For whatever reason, this one just didn't settle with me. Mostly disappointed more than anything.

The Only Good Indians comes out 5.19.2020.

3/5 Stars

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