“An elk mother, cornered, will slash with her hooves and tear with her mouth and even offer the hope of her own hamstrings, and if none of that works, she’ll rise again years and years later, because it’s never over, it’s always just beginning again.”
― Stephen Graham Jones, The Only Good Indians
Tracked by an entity bent on revenge, these childhood friends are helpless as the culture and traditions they left behind catch up to them in a violent, vengeful way.
Most of The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones is set in Montana. Ten years ago, four American Indian teenagers – Gabe, Cassidy, Ricky and Lewis- decided to hunt in a restricted area. Not only did they hunt where they weren’t supposed to be, they killed a lot of elk, including a female elk that was pregnant. They were banned from the area for life.
Apparently, being banned was not a sufficient punishment for the spirit that later becomes known as Elk Head Woman. The spirit appears sometime around the tenth anniversary of the hunting incident. She starts picking off the four men. Her plan is to end the life of the only descendant, Denorah.
Denorah is a star basketball player and the daughter of Gabe. She probably won’t make it to the next game since the Elk Head Woman has killed her father. Now the spirit is on her tail. The girl just wants to play ball and maybe get a scholarship. The Elk Head Woman and Denorah play a basketball game to determine the winner. How does one beat a spirit in a game of Horse? Will she escape from the Elk Head Woman? Will Denorah play basketball again?
The book really captivated my attention. The characterization was excellent. You will probably dislike the men a little for killing so many elk. However, I think they are all likable and human enough to forgive. Obviously, Elk Head Woman does not agree.
If you are a fan of horror and not too squeamish about the killing of animals, then you might like this book. Although, you might agree with the Elk Head Woman and not mind her plan of revenge. If you are a member of PETA, then you might not totally enjoy the book.