Book Review: The Only Good Indians

THE ONLY GOOD INDIANS | Stephen Graham Jones
05.19.2020 | Gallery/Saga Press
Rating: 3/5 stars

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Four American Indian men took part in a traumatic and disturbing event during their youth, that to this day seems to linger in their minds. Each man has found their own way to deal with the feelings associated with this event over the years. It seems that they are being tracked by an entity bent on revenge. In an effort to fend off this entity the men have shed their traditions and culture, but could this have actually made matters worse? Things will take a violent turn if these men aren’t careful.

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This book has been one of my most anticipated horror releases for 2020, so when I found out I won a copy I was over the moon. When I started reading I immediately found myself feeling confused about the direction of the story. I think I was expecting something more straightforward and what I found was much more convoluted and at times above my head.

THE ONLY GOOD INDIANS is steeped in tradition and culture from the American Indian roots of the main characters. I don’t personally know much about these traditions, but I was easily able to pick up the direction that Jones was pointing the reader. You can truly feel the prejudice and the struggle that these main characters felt not only as adults, but throughout their lives. I loved how Jones kept each of the men as their own unique person when revealing how they learned to cope with these items, as well as the main traumatic event that took place in their youth.

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One of my struggles came through in the writing style of Jones. The writing is absolutely captivating, but at times it felt disjointed to me. The story would flip perspective or topic and I didn’t understand what had happened because it wasn’t clear that a shift was occurring. I think Jones’ writing is very cinematic, to the point where these transitions would work beautifully on screen, but as a reader they were confusing. 

I think some readers will struggle with the fact that this book is more of a quiet horror story than they may be expecting from the synopsis. There are no jump scares or gore for the sake of gore. Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly some graphic moments, but it’s more uncomfortable than scary in my opinion.

Overall, I think this book has a lot of really great social commentary mixed with a creepy vibe that will certainly work for readers who go in with the right mindset!


This book is available to buy from: Amazon | Book Depository

A huge thank you to Saga Press for my free copy!

Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.

3 thoughts on “Book Review: The Only Good Indians

  1. Oh, sorry to hear that this ended up being so different to what you were expecting. That’s always a bummer and sometimes it works but other times it’s a miss! The premise sounds really interesting with the Native American cultural influence, and also properly creepy too. I’m definitely curious! Great review 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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