I don't read much horror or watch scary movies, so I was hesitant about reading The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones. I didn't think I could handle if it was too scary. But I'm so glad I took the chance on this novel. It was unlike anything I've read before!
The Only Good Indians follows four Blackfeet men ten years after an illegal party hunting party went wrong. Years later, each of the men are living life the best they can. Ricky and Lewis left the reservation, while Cassidy and Gabe stayed behind. However, some entity is now hunting them. As vengeance for their hunt ten years ago.
I really enjoyed Jones' writing style. It was simple, but powerful. It drew you in slowly, creating a false tense of security before everything went crazy! Readers are taken on the same emotional journey as the four men, which is what made this story so compelling. It's also a testament to Jones' writing that I was somehow sympathetic of the monster/entity/thing by the end of the novel. Wow!
Some other aspects of The Only Good Indians that I liked a lot:
- The structure of the novel is based on each of the four men. The use of pretend headlines served as not only foreshadowing, but also commentary on how the media represents marginalized people of color and their experiences as one dimensional.
- Stephen Graham Jones switches between 3rd and 2nd POV in a way that is incredibly powerful to experience. It makes the narrative "real" in a very unique way. Getting into the head of the entity is what creates empathy for the creature.
- Finally, Denorah. She was my favorite character. A star on and off the basketball court, and Gabe's daughter. I loved how she not only saves herself but allows the entity to find peace in the end. It shows how often girls/women of color have to rely on themselves for safety.
The Only Good Indians is a masterpiece and I recommend it for anyone who enjoys psychological thrillers/horror and literary symbolism.
If you're looking for other thrillers, I recommend The Silence of Bones by June Hur and When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole. You can get all three of these novels in a bundle here.