Scroll To Top

Review: Don’t Fear the Reaper Packs Plenty Of Chills & Thrills

Review: Don’t Fear the Reaper Packs Plenty Of Chills & Thrills

Dont Fear the Reaper book cover and Stephen Graham Jones author photo
Courtesy of Simon & Schuster

Stephen Graham Jones continues to slash his way to the top of the genre with the second of his Indian Lake Trilogy.

Anyone familiar with the slasher genre knows the game. There are rules our final girl must follow, and those rules do not change no matter the decade or who is behind the dime store mask. But what happens when the final girl has to return to the scene of a massacre she tried to prevent, and ultimately stopped? To the town that othered her, ignored her very real trauma before the murders ever took place, and had no issue letting her face trial for crimes everyone knows she did not commit?

Don’t Fear the Reaper is the sequel to My Heart is a Chainsaw (2021) and the middle entry in Stephen Graham Jones’ Indian Lake Trilogy book series.

To avoid major spoilers, those who read Chainsaw know that our final girl Jade Daniels is not Laurie Strode. She is a Native American girl living in a town that at once judges her for the sins of her father and ignores the plight she faces having to live with him. She is the consummate outsider facing both internal and external struggles, as well as issues of familial isolation. In other words, she’s a character who is all too relatable to members of the queer community that can connect with her pain and her ferocity. Jade comes through the events of book one bloody and ravaged yet triumphant, standing over the town that spurned her that she saved.

Jones once again brings his grim writing style to this second entry in the Indian Lake Trilogy. Some may balk at the graphic descriptions of the gruesome events that take place in Proofrock, but Jones’s gift with descriptive language paints the tableaus with such detail that he stands above his peers.

He also has a particular style of dialog that demands to not be read on cruise control. Jones sets up the scenes and dialogue in ways that force the reader to be on their toes to keep up with the pace. But best of all, once again Jones is doing what the best authors in the genre do, he uses the horror lens to ask bigger questions amidst the carnage.

‘Don’t Fear the Reaper’ makes it clear that no good deed goes unpunished. Jade is just wrapping up four years of trials trying to convince the state what the town already knew; she is the savior, not the villain. As she returns to Proofrock, Idaho she is not alone. Native American serial killer Dark Mill South has just escaped from prison and is heading into Proofrock just as the snowstorm of the century blankets the town. Jade now has to deal with her ungrateful hometown while protecting the few people who stood by her as the bodies start piling up.

Anyone who has ever felt othered, or has had to face serious trauma from their parents will immediately relate to Jade. Jones skillfully builds on the trauma from her past that was revealed in the first book and shows how Jade naturally grows from the revelations therein. While Chainsaw is required reading first, ‘Reaper’ proves a worthy sequel. This is a book to pick up immediately when it releases wide on February 7th.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

author avatar

Derry Paver