The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones – An Audio Book Review

Only Good Indians


Adam Nevill’s The Ritual meets Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies in this atmospheric Gothic literary horror.

Ten years ago, four young men shot some elk and then went on with their lives. It happens every year; it’s been happening forever; it’s the way it’s always been. But this time it’s different.

Ten years after that fateful hunt, these men are being stalked themselves. Soaked with a powerful Gothic atmosphere, the endless expanses of the landscape press down on these men – and their children – as the ferocious spirit comes for them one at a time.

The Only Good Indians charts nature’s revenge on a lost generation that maybe never had a chance. Cleaved to their heritage, these parents, husbands, sons and Indians, men live on the fringes of a society that has rejected them, refusing to challenge their exile to limbo.

Author: Stephen Graham Jones
Narrator: Shaun Taylor Corbett
Publisher: Whole Story QUEST
Running Time: 8hrs 37 mins
Genre: Literary Horror
My Rating of ‘The Only Good Indians’: 4 out of 5
Purchase: Audible UK, Audible US, Amazon UK, Amazon US


I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve never read anything by Stephen Graham Jones but have pretty much heard nothing but good things. Hearing nothing but good things is also true of ‘The Only Good Indians’.

Whilst I enjoyed it, I didn’t think it was amazing. The story itself was a pretty unique twist on the revenge trope. Ordinarily revenge stories bore me, but this one sounded unique enough to stand out from the crowd, something it certainly achieved.

The story itself, once it got going, was a pretty interesting and compelling read/listen. My main issue was that not only did it take a while to get going (it’s literary fiction, so I expected that), but due to the format it felt a bit stop-start.

By ‘due to the format’ I mean the fact that we are given the story in sections (each of the hunters in question get their own bit) and it features different time jumps, which, along with the slow pace, just gave it a bit of a crawling kind of pace rather than a free-flowing one.

But, as with all good stories, everything you feel is dragging, comes together nicely further along the way and, by the time the final page has been turned it felt well worth it.

My main issue with this is that despite the character work being good, it wasn’t phenomenal. That may sound harsh, but the characters would be acting in a certain way (their normal way) and strange occurrences would make them go from normal to outlandish in how they deal with perceived problems. And it’s not like these drastic changes of character happen over time. It’s literally the flick of the switch. So much so that I had to go back to a part I’d just got through to make sure I’d picked it up correctly. Just felt a bit jarring.

That jarring negative aside, there was some wonderful character-driven moments (as you’d expect from literary fiction) and a lot of enjoyable native american details to devour.

This novel certainly ranks up there as far as having strange antagonists goes, and it had a weird bizarreness to it that was a welcome change to the norm.

The narration was a bit hit and miss for me. The voice suited the story quite well but I felt that, at times, he would treat a comma like a full stop. It made it sound like a sentence was over only for it to be carried on a second or two later. I will say, however, that I found the Netgalley Shelf App (that Netgalley forces you to use for their audio titles) to be the most unenjoyable listening experience I’ve ever had. It was buggy and the playback was harmed because of this. So it could have been the app causing the audio to stop or it could have been the narrator taking an abnormally long pause in places. I would bet money on the app being at fault, but I can’t say for certain.

8 thoughts on “The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones – An Audio Book Review

    1. I know what you mean. I feel I enjoyed it more as an audio book. I think if I were reading it, it would have felt a bit too slow-going and predictable (as most revenge stories are … I mean you know who’ll die and are just turning the pages and waiting for it to happen).

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m not a fan of revenge stories either, but I am a little curious about this one, mostly because everyone’s talking about it. The critiques you made, though, makes me a little cautious about jumping in.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea, the stop-start feeling you get, the erratic changes the characters go through and the slowness would have probably killed the enjoyment in book form for me. In Audio book it worked, for me at least 🙂


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