Review – The Only Good Indians

Posted May 14, 2022 by Nicky in Reviews / 0 Comments

Cover of The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham JonesThe Only Good Indians, Stephen Graham Jones

Horror is usually not my thing, but I like trying things and broadening my horizons, and the blurb of this made it sound like it had some crossover with fantasy (a genre I do read a lot of). There’s a lot of gore and violence in this, which was a little much for me (though to be honest, not worse than some of the fantasy I’ve read), but the mystery does have a supernatural side.

To me it seems like a fairly predictable plot: four Blackfeet hunters kill elk they’re not supposed to, and years later, strange things start to happen as it seems that they’re each being hunted in their turn. I won’t say too much more about the exact plot — it’s not too surprising, I think, with that basic summary… but still, there are some grey areas and things that you’d want to read through without being prejuced by another reader’s take on them.

The characters are not exactly sympathetic, except in that they’re everyday fuck-ups like the rest of us (some of them more than others). It does a really good job of making them people, for sure: I can believe in Cassidy and Lewis and Gabe Cross Guns and Ricky Boss Ribs.

For those side-eyeing the title or the themes, the author is of the Blackfeet Nation; obviously, being Welsh this isn’t remotely my history or culture, so I can’t comment on how respectful he’s been or how accurately he’s portrayed things, but I think in this case that doesn’t matter — he’s mostly portrayed people and the things individuals believe, and individuals can be wrong.

I found the ending a tiny bit predictable; it wouldn’t have been out of place in any of the genre novels I read, which is probably why.

In the end, it’s still not for me, and I’m wavering about the rating to give it. In terms of personal enjoyment, it’s probably less than this, but that’s probably unfair to the book because I knew what I was getting into, and also despite this really not being my preferred genre, I read the whole book in just a few days. So I’ve split the difference a bit.

Rating: 3/5

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