Don’t Fear the Reaper by Stephen Graham Jones – Review

December 12th, 2019, Jade returns to the rural lake town of Proofrock the same day as convicted Indigenous serial killer Dark Mill South escapes into town to complete his revenge killings, in this riveting sequel to My Heart Is a Chainsaw from New York Times bestselling author, Stephen Graham Jones.

Four years after her tumultuous senior year, Jade Daniels is released from prison right before Christmas when her conviction is overturned. But life beyond bars takes a dangerous turn as soon as she returns to Proofrock. Convicted Serial Killer, Dark Mill South, seeking revenge for thirty-eight Dakota men hanged in 1862, escapes from his prison transfer due to a blizzard, just outside of Proofrock, Idaho.

Dark Mill South’s Reunion Tour began on December 12th, 2019, a Thursday.

Thirty-six hours and twenty bodies later, on Friday the 13th, it would be over.

Don’t Fear the Reaper is the page-turning sequel to My Heart Is a Chainsaw from New York Times bestselling author Stephen Graham Jones.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for the eARC of this much anticipated sequel to My Heart is a Chainsaw! I have been enraptured with Stephen Graham Jones since reading The Only Good Indians– and he just keeps impressing me with each release. When I read the first book in The Lake Witch Trilogy, I was rocked by how much I saw myself in the Final Girl, Jade. Now returning home as Jennifer, she has the weary and traumatized energy of Neve Campbell’s Sidney Prescott. And this time? She’s not alone.

This book features many POVs throughout; which I heartily enjoyed. It gives you up close and personal experiences with each death– and trust me, there’s a lot of them. That’s something else I truly admire about Stephen: his literary kills are always unique and grotesquely detailed. There’s something about a dangling eyeball described in at least twelve different ways that will both keep you up at night and make your stomach roll instantly. There are also just as many horror genre references that are sure to please the movie buffs and bookworms alike. It feels– like the first installment– like a love letter to each scary story that has come before.

If you love slashers– I recommend this series to you. In this particular book, you meet the serial killer Dark Mill South. He is on a rampage to avenge the death of 38 Dakota men whose lives were ended by a rope… but he’s not the only danger to the citizens of Proofrock. It’s up to Jennifer and the other survivors of the 4th of July Massacre to rise up to evil once more. It’s truly a story of how resilient humans are, and how trauma shapes and strengthens you even as it tears you apart. And, as always, the Native American representation that Stephen brings to the table is irreplaceable. All in all, this is a successful sequel in a genre that has a curse of falling flat of the first’s set expectations. I can’t wait to read his A Nightmare on Elm Street: Dream Warriors– which is my favorite third installment of a slasher series.

5/5 stars