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The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones #BookReview

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.

Title: The Only Good Indians  | Author: Stephen Graham Jones | Publisher: Gallery/Saga Press  | Pub. Date: 14 July, 2020 | Pages: 320 | ISBN: 9781982136451 | Genre: Horror/Coming of age/Suspense | Language: English | Triggers: Following review | Rating: 5 out of 5 | Source: Received a copy from author/publisher for review consideration

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The Only Good Indians Review

I know this book doesn’t release until May, but I simply could not wait. 2019 is the year I started reading Stephen Graham Jones. I’ve only read/reviewed Mongrels and All the Beautiful Sinners , and I am so thankful there are many more back titles for me to get to in 2020.

I wanted to mention the other two books I’ve read and link the reviews because, while the other two are different, there is something at play between these three. All of them focus on a Native American character or characters, and all three include a search for identity. If you haven’t yet read Jones (fix that!), you won’t miss out on anything if this one is your first, just know that some of the same themes arise in others as well.

The title itself, The Only Good Indians, could reference any number of things in Native American history. Is it something that Sheridan or Roosevelt said? Maybe it references a previously written book. Or perhaps, it is just what it is, a phrase the friends grew up with and internalized as they traversed life in and outside the reservation.

At any rate, we see mainstream racial stereotypes, but Jones gives a very raw look at the internalization of harmful behavior, not only outside of the reservation, but from within as well. If you’re reading this thinking “ugh, pass on the social commentary”, first, check yourself, and second, this book has a lot more to give; without the depth, it just isn’t the same.

Jones isn’t one of the most prolific and versatile horror fiction authors for no reason. Be prepared for truly gnarly body horror, supernatural happenings, and a complete sense of “what the hell is going on”. No worries though, with Jones at the helm it all makes sense. This book is going to leave a mark. In the best way. The Only Good Indians made me laugh, ugly cry, and hide my eyes in revulsion. Want a great story? This is the book. Want to be terrified? Yep, this book. Pre-order or wait until May, just get this one in front of your face.

  You can find this book at many retailers via clicking on the appropriate link on Goodreads. In the spirit of supporting literacy programs, we would like to point out that you may be able to purchase this book through BetterWorldBooks

Content warning:

graphic animal death

Published inBook ReviewsHorror Book ReviewsStarred ReviewsThriller Book Reviews


  1. My number 2 read of this year!

    • What was your number 1 pick?

      • Recursion by Blake Crouch

  2. Awesome review, Tracy, I’m so looking forward to this!

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