The Only Good Indians

The hunters become the hunted in this taut horror thriller by Native American author Stephen Graham Jones (Mapping the Interior).

A decade ago, on Thanksgiving, Gabe, Cass, Lewis and Ricky violated tribal regulations when they gunned down nine elk on hunting grounds reserved for Blackfeet Nation elders. Months later, Ricky died in a bar fight after fleeing life on the Blackfeet reservation. No one knows that Ricky saw an elk damage the other bar patrons' pickup trucks and run away, leaving Ricky looking guilty as sin.

In the present day, Lewis has surprised himself by making it to age 36 with an intact marriage, no serious medical conditions, no "car crashes and jail time and alcoholism on his cultural dance card." However, his carefully constructed life begins to unravel when he sees the young, pregnant elk cow he shot 10 years ago on his living room floor. The image disappears, but Lewis soon realizes something from the past has come back angry. It wants justice for what he and his friends stole, and not even their deaths will quench its thirst for retribution. 

By turns sardonic, suspenseful and pulse-pounding, this supernatural vengeance story shows its cast confronting the expectations and contradictions of modern Indigenous life. Told largely from the perspectives of the four Blackfeet men and the spectral elk creature stalking them, the story hits its stride when it focuses on Denorah, Gabe's teen daughter. Her strength and attitude carry this introspective but brutal narrative into well-earned redemption that will leave readers satisfied though still deeply shaken by Jones's masterful atmospheric touch. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

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