The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

The Only Good Indians is a horror story of bloody revenge and patient inevitable retribution; full of psychological horror for the protagonists, mystery for the reader, and gore for everyone. A viscerally creepy read with fantastic characters.

The narration is great, gradually shifting between POV characters as needed to maximize sorrow and suspense. The backstory is revealed gradually, with each piece coming in just in time to keep me on my toes without feeling misled. I consistently felt unsettled in a good way, only getting stressed enough to pause reading a couple of times. The ending felt perfect, the last section was extremely creepy and dark, and I genuinely wasn't sure which way it was going to go.

I was nervous about reading this book because some types of horror novels freak me out pretty easily and I didn't already know what kind this would be (I have a relatively low threshold for psychological horror in books). For me, this was on the lower end for psychological horror because the reader can know pretty early on what the balance is between supernatural and realistic horror elements in the book, and the full effect works really well. I came away in awe of the storytelling and the characterization, but not worried about whether I'll be able to sleep tonight. Part of that is because my tolerance for body horror and murder in books is pretty high, and a lot of the horror here is related to a slow stalking feeling of waiting to know how/when the next person is going to die, and waiting to find out just how bloody a death it will be. However, there are several different kinds of gory deaths (some with more mutilation than others) so if your thresholds are different this might be a much spookier read, please take care of yourselves.

CW for racism, discussion of suicide, surgical scarring, pregnancy, animal death, dismemberment, murder, major character death.

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The eye and antlers of a deer against a black background.


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