The Only Good Indians

An elk hunt on the Blackfeet reservation goes horribly wrong, with grisly consequences that blur the line between hunters and hunted.

Cover image of The Only Good Indians

A seamless blend of classic horror and social commentary, The Only Good Indians appeared on Time’s list of 100 must-read books for 2020. It follows four American Indian men after a disturbing event from their youth puts them in a desperate struggle for their lives. Stalked by a supernatural entity bent on revenge, these childhood friends are helpless as their broken taboos catch up to them in a violent way.

Even if you’re not a fan of horror, read this novel anyway—just not at bedtime.

The Only Good Indians is smart, irreverent, unpredictable, and spine-tinglingly scary: an out-of-the-box pick for sure, but one we’re dying to talk about.

NPR’s critic says it best: “When I open a SGJ novel, I know flawed characters and an engaging plot will get me hooked ... and then the weirdness will come and darkness will seep into everything, slowly, starting at the corners and spreading like a toxic, unstoppable fungus. Then people will die.”

Stephen Graham Jones

Sometimes described as the Jordan Peele of horror writing, Stephen Graham Jones is the bestselling author of nearly 30 novels, novellas, and comic books.

His most recent works are The Only Good Indians, Night of the Mannequins, and My Heart Is a Chainsaw.

A finalist for the Shirley Jackson Award, Mr. Jones has won a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Texas Institute of Letters Award for Fiction, the Los Angeles Times Ray Bradbury Prize, the Independent Publishers Award for Multicultural Fiction, a Bram Stoker Award, and four This Is Horror Awards.

He lives in Boulder and teaches at the University of Colorado.


Order the book now from the Colgate Bookstore.

Meet Stephen Graham Jones at Colgate on Oct. 28

There are two ways to join us:

  • In person in Love Auditorium, Olin Hall,  4:30 p.m. No registration required.
  • Via Zoom.

Oct 28 Zoom Registration

Everyone can participate in the audience Q&A following the reading, and there will be a book-signing in the Olin lobby after that. For information on how to purchase a signed book if you're not on campus, see the How to Participate section of the website.

Living Writers events are free and open to the public.

Listen to a 3-question podcast

“Horror is the fun house mirror we use to talk about things we can't really articulate.” That’s Stephen Graham Jones speaking about The Only Good Indians. Listen to this short Living Writers podcast to hear more.

Go beyond the book

  • “Horror is a fun house mirror everybody can use,” writes Stephen Graham Jones, in this New York Times op-ed. “It exaggerates, distorts and distills whatever it is we’re trying to work through, then delivers it back to us as entertainment.”
  • In this short essay, Professor Ryan Hall argues that The Only Good Indians transcends the horror genre. “It’s a novel that resonates deeply with the terrors that stalk our world today,” he writes,  “—our broken relationship with the natural world, and our broken relationships with one another.”
  • Stephen Graham Jones is “simultaneously funny, irreverent and serious, particularly when he deploys stereotype as a literary device.” Read more about The Only Good Indians in Martha Anne Toll’s review for the Washington Post.
  • In this podcast conversation between Dan DeVries, Ryan Hall, and Jennifer Brice, Prof. Hall explains why readers maybe shouldn't sleep well after reading The Only Good Indians. The first part is about Living Writers in general, with the book segment beginning about 12 minutes in.
  • In his NPR review, Gabino Iglesias discusses the novel’s insight into Native American life as well as the consequences of neglecting tradition: “The Only Good Indians is a disturbing horror novel about revenge and sorrow that houses a narrative about identity and the price of breaking away from tradition at its core.”
  • Read “A Birth” by James Dickey, a poem that Stephen Graham Jones says he had in mind when he wrote The Only Good Indians.
  • Rigoberto Gonzalez describes some of the ways The Only Good Indians transcends the horror genre in his review for the Los Angeles Times: “Jones’ exceptional Native American characters, flawed and relatable, earn the reader’s trust and sympathy.” 
  • Stephen Graham Jones “is at his most masterful here, as he traces the mystical, gory violence that follows when the spirit of the elk—a mythical creature in the tribe’s tradition—takes its revenge.” Find The Only Good Indians on Time magazine’s list of the 100 must-read books of 2020.

Tell us what you think

Join us Monday, Oct. 25, 7-8 p.m., for a faculty roundtable and discussion of The Only Good Indians. Guests will include Ryan Hall, assistant professor of Native American studies and history and Sarah Wider, professor of English, Native American studies, and women's studies. Feel free to participate or simply listen in. If you're interested but can't make the session, the roundtable portion will be available to listen to later in the week.

Oct. 25 Zoom Registration

Follow the discussion on Twitter @ColgateLW using the hashtags #ColgateLivingWriters and #TheOnlyGoodIndians

You hide in the herd. You wait. And you never forget.

The Only Good Indians
Join the conversation on Twitter @ColgateLW

Living Writers is put on by the Department of English at Colgate University with generous support from the Olive B. O'Connor Fund as well as the President and Provost/Dean of the Faculty. Support from the Native American Studies Program helped make this event possible.