ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Weston Ochse is a former intelligence officer and special operations soldier who has engaged enemy combatants, terrorists, narco smugglers, and human traffickers. His personal war stories include performing humanitarian operations over Bangladesh, being deployed to Afghanistan, and a near miss being cannibalized in Papua New Guinea. His fiction and non-fiction has been praised by USA Today, The Atlantic, The New York Post, The Financial Times of London, and Publishers Weekly. The American Library Association labeled him one of the Major Horror Authors of the 21st Century. His work has also won the Bram Stoker Award, been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and won multiple New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. A writer of more than 26 books in multiple genres, his military supernatural series SEAL Team 666 has been optioned to be a movie starring Dwayne Johnson. His military sci fi series, which starts with Grunt Life, has been praised for its PTSD-positive depiction of soldiers at peace and at war. Weston likes to be called a chaotic good paladin and challenges anyone to disagree. After all, no one can really stand a goody two-shoes lawful good character. They can be so annoying. It's so much more fun to be chaotic, even when you're striving to save the world. You can argue with him about this and other things online at Living Dangerously or on Facebook at Badasswriter. All content of this blog is copywrited by Weston Ochse.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

The Only Good Indians - Review

I started reading Stephen Graham Jones when I read Mongrels. I thought it a powerful piece of a family living on the precipice of a society to which they didn't really belong. I enjoyed the understatement and appreciated the coming-of-age narrative. That set me up for pretty much anything SGJ. More than anything, I think it's his voice which is as unique as his POV. 

So, it was with a little glee that I was able to arrange for an advanced copy of The Only Good Indians. I had no idea what it was about. If you were to believe Paul Tremblay in his cover blurb the book is a masterpiece. When I saw that, I decided to reserve that opinion until I finished the book. Well, I finished the book and Paul is as right as he always is. 

The Only Good Indians takes place in and along the BlackFeet Reservation in Montana. Four young American Indian men are chased by a ghost who is as implacable and cunning as any ghost in fiction. The reader isn't exactly sure who the protagonists and the antagonists are until they learn the backstory, and once learned, it's an interesting morality dance to see which side the reader comes out on.

Without giving any spoilers, ultimate survival hinges on a sixteen-year-old basketball phenom's ability to play res basketball in an epic game of 21 that will resonate through modern fiction for dozens of years.

The point of view is from those who live on an American Indian reservation. The narrative is so authentic, no Custer like me could have ever written it. Like Jordan Peele, Stephen Graham Jones shows us life through an uncomfortable but real morale lens, then dares us to inhabit it, and upon doing so, slams our heads back and forth into the harsh reality of it all. I've never been on a reservation, but I never doubted the authenticity. SGJ brought as much realness to the narrative as a scientist would to a textbook.

In the end, the book is about humanity. It's about love and friendship and regret and acceptance and the hardscrabble to accept or not accept a predetermined fate, all things that transcend race, religion, or economic circumstance. I read through The Only Good Indians in two days and in those two days I was ensconced in a way of life so unlike my own, but with people who I almost knew, that I regretted sliding past the last page.

But what I remembered throughout was that there's another part to the saying, The Only Good Indians are dead indians - said by too many white men over too long a span.

Order this book now so you can read it the moment it comes out.