Book Review: Stephen Graham Jones’s The Only Good Indians

“When the whole world hurts, you bite it, don’t you?”

Stephen Graham Jones
Cover of The Only Good Indians

Stephen Graham Jones has been a favorite of mine for quite some time, and his latest novel, The Only Good Indians is no exception.

If you are familiar with Jones, you probably know his writing as alternating moments of beauty and brutality. This is the case in Jones’s latest novel, the story of a group of young Indians who hunt the wrong elk in the wrong place at the wrong time.

In its bones, this is a classical ghost story, and readers expecting immediate horrific gratification are going to be disappointed. The beginning of the novel is the sort of slow, tense burn that the genre had been built upon. The brutality comes later, as a climax to the is it/isn’t it build up of the early chapters.

The book has a lot to say about being a Native American in the modern world. The mythical/spiritual aspects here are fascinating, as they both weave themselves into the modern world and butt up against it. That conflict drives the book thematically. There is a tenuous sense of hope that things might get better, but a cynicism there that waits for everything to go wrong once again. Everything here has consequences, and they can follow characters like a shadow through the years. This goes beyond whatever it is that may stalk them to the little choices and curses that have haunted them.

We all pay for our transgressions in some way, and in The Only Good Indians, transgressions manifest themselves in brutal ways. Sometimes, it seems like there may be a way beyond them. Maybe all we have is the legacy we leave behind for others to remember in hopes that they will sit around a fire and tell our stories, and that they will tell just as many of the good ones as the bad.

“Some lights you never figure out, and shouldn’t even try to.”

Stephen Graham Jones

Rating 5/5

A Confabulator Cafe Review of John Hornor Jacobs’s Fierce as the Grave


After a bit of a hiatus due to other demands on my time, I have posted a new review at The Confabulator Cafe. This week, I review John Horner Jacobs’s Fierce as the Grave: A Quartet of Horror Storiesa collection  from the author of Southern Gods and This Dark Earth. You can find the review here.


Confabulator Cafe Book Review: Alan Ryker’s Nightmare Man


I have a new book review up at The Confabulator Cafe. Head on over and check out my thoughts about Alan Ryker’s latest novella from Darkfuse, Nightmare Man.

The Red Tree by Caitlin Kiernan (Book Review)

The Red Tree by Caitlin Kiernan (Book Review)

We are trying something new at The Confabulator Cafe, sharing reviews of books, films, and games. We’ve spent the last two years discussing various aspects of writing as they affect our own lives. Stop by and check out what we think about the writing of other artists.

This week, I review the horror novel The Red Tree by Caitlin Kiernan, the story of a writer, a found manuscript, ancient evils, and insanity.