My Heart Is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones

After The Only Good Indians last year, Stephen Graham Jones set the bar higher than most authors could dream of achieving. I say that because The Only Good Indians was easily one of the best novels I’ve had the pleasure of reading, regardless of the genre…ever. My Heart Is a Chainsaw isn’t likely to leave quite as profound of a lasting impact as that book, but it’s a different sort of beast altogether. And boy, is it a beast.
Jade Daniels is a walking, talking archive of all things slasher-related, or even slasher-adjacent. She’s a socially awkward outcast who speaks to others in slasher genre shorthand. To her, everything in life can be easily compared and contrasted with plot points of one or more of her favorite movies. Every occasion has an appropriate quote from the slasher genre. As a person, she’s equal parts aggravating and endearing to the reader–assuming the reader, like me, is a hardcore slasher fanatic.
Finally, her dead-end life in a dead-end Idaho town appears to be heading toward a fantasy come true. With the arrival of Lethe Mondragon, the final piece falls into place as Jade determines she’s located the archetypal “final girl” for the real-life slasher horror to play out.
Is Jade another Cassandra, doomed to warn everyone of the impending nightmare and tragedy, only to be dismissed as all youth are in the movies she so adores? Is she simply a troubled girl who has lost the capacity to differentiate between fantasy and reality, on the verge of returning to the institution from which she’d only recently been released? You’ll have to read the book to find out. If you’re familiar with Jones as an author, you should know you won’t be disappointed.
As you reach the halfway point of this novel, everything begins cascading out of control with a feverish pace and such a dizzying assortment of horrors that you’ll hardly see the next twist coming–and there are indeed twists.
The novel is so much more than a slasher story. I’d love to tell you more, but I’d be giving too much away. My Heart Is a Chainsaw is also a coming-of-age tale about an indigenous girl haunted by her past and fixated on the haunted history of the mountain town she calls home. This is a story of friendship, a dysfunctional family, and an even more dysfunctional community.
My Heart Is a Chainsaw should assure any readers that Stephen Graham Jones is–I say this without a doubt in my mind–perhaps the single greatest writer currently active in the horror genre.


One thought on “My Heart Is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones

  1. Pingback: My Heart is a Chainsaw – Stephen Graham Jones

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