Four American Indian men who were childhood friends from the Blackfeet Nation find themselves in a desperate struggle for their lives against an entity that wants to exact bloody revenge upon them for what they did during an elk hunt ten years earlier.
... quirky, entertaining, hair-raising ... Stephen Graham Jones shows why he’s a master of horror fiction that quietly sneaks up on you first and then relentlessly makes you run for your life, screaming for help ... a haunting, frightening revenge tale built from a mind-bending blend of many things ... Jones tells his new tale with a dark humor that at times melds into sudden shock ... the book’s unexpected resolution rolls out at a pace worthy of a high-dollar Hollywood action-thriller ... readers seeking off-beat, unnerving tales should consider checking out this inventive writing voice.
Jones empowers his characters with an affinity for gallows humor that affords opportunities for social commentary as well as relief from the tension. Working in a close third-person narration with second-person seasoning when the Elk Head Woman wants a word, he proves a master of propulsion, his sentences short bursts of power that drive you from page to page. He is a writer who lives up to his acclaim, layering so much history and critique onto a monster movie framework ... The violence is sudden and shocking in terms of the range of victim and manner of their deaths. One of the great beauties of Jones’ craft is his ability to fully realize his characters no matter how briefly they appear on stage. He derives our empathy for his four main leads but especially makes us feel for the collateral deaths caused by their terrible mistake. After hundreds of hours devouring horror stories on the page and screen, you will believe you can safely label the victims and survivors and invest your emotions accordingly, but Jones is fearless about defying expectations. It doesn’t take long to accept that reality and the ride becomes wilder, chilling and sleep depriving once you do ... The project to treat indigenous Americans as subhuman is at the heart of a long series of choices that continue to this day. The Only Good Indians confronts that in its title, and Jones has filled his book with so much humanity that you hope it’s the kind of art that alters perceptions. It takes all kinds of narratives to change the world. Given the times, it makes perfect sense that one should be a horror story.
I'm always giddy when I start a new Stephen Graham Jones novel. Yes, I said giddy. Everything about the worlds, circumstances, characters, and atmospheres he creates appeals to me ... In The Only Good Indians, Jones does that and more, and the more is quite special ... The Only Good Indians is a disturbing horror novel about revenge and sorrow that houses a narrative about identity and the price of breaking away from tradition at its core. And that identity, Native American, isn't monolithic here ... the horror is unlike anything you've read before. It goes from disturbing flashes of thing that may or may not be there to in-your-face explosions of gore and violence tinged with supernatural elements. Jones has a talent for creating unsettling atmospheres and images, but he also enjoys explicit violence ... Besides the creeping horror and gory poetry, The Only Good Indians does a lot in terms of illuminating Native American life from the inside, offering insights into how old traditions and modern living collide in contemporary life ... Jones is one of the best writers working today regardless of genre, and this gritty, heartbreaking novel might just be his best yet.