My Heart Is a Chainsaw

Saga: S. & S. Aug. 2021. 416p. ISBN 9781982137632. $26.99. HORROR
Jade Daniels, a teen of Blackfeet and white descent, has always believed that her town, Proofrock, ID, was ripe for a slasher. As a dedicated horror fan, she knows the lore (local Lake Witch legend: check!) and the signs (unexplained mass elk deaths: check!). And she knows a final girl when she sees one, which is why she focuses on beautiful, kind Letha Mondragon when Letha’s family moves to the new luxury development across the lake. Jade predicts that Proofrock’s annual Fourth of July celebration is going to turn into a bloodbath, and it’s her job to prepare Letha for her role—a job that Jade takes very seriously. Background tension in Jones’s (The Only Good Indians) latest thrums from the start—tension between Indigenous people and white colonizers, between longtime residents and incomers, between haves and have-nots—even before the meticulously crafted horror plot unfolds. Readers will be thinking about Jade long after they hurtle toward the book’s vivid, moving, gory end. Aspiring writers will especially appreciate the author’s acknowledgements, in which Jones shares the many changes the story went through over the course of years before its publication.
VERDICT This extraordinary novel is an essential purchase.
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