My Heart Is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones My Heart Is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones
Narrator: Cara Gee
Series: Indian Lake Trilogy #1
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio on August 31, 2021
Source: Purchased
Genres: Horror
Length: 12 hrs 25 mins
Pages: 414
Format: Audiobook
Purchase at Bookshop.org or Audible
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four-stars

In her quickly gentrifying rural lake town Jade sees recent events only her encyclopedic knowledge of horror films could have prepared her for in this latest novel from the Jordan Peele of horror literature, Stephen Graham Jones.

Jade Daniels is an angry, half-Indian outcast with an abusive father, and absent mother, and an entire town that wants nothing to do with her. She lives in her own world, a world in which protection comes from an unusual source: horror movies...especially the ones where a masked killer seeks revenge on a world that wronged them. And Jade narrates the quirky history of Proofrock as if it is one of those movies. But when blood actually starts to spill into the waters of Indian Lake, she pulls us into her dizzying, encyclopedic mind of blood and masked murderers, and predicts exactly how the plot will unfold.

Yet, even as Jade drags us into her dark fever dream, a surprising and intimate portrait emerges...a portrait of the scared and traumatized little girl beneath the Jason Vorhees mask: angry, yes, but also a girl who easily cries, fiercely loves, and desperately wants a home. A girl whose feelings are too big for her body. 'MY HEART IS A CHAINSAW' is her story, her homage to horror and revenge and triumph.

As I was thinking about what I was going to write about My Heart Is a Chainsaw, I had mixed feelings. Jade, the main character, is amazing in a damaged, determined, outsider way, but I didn’t like where the story left her at the end. Actually, I didn’t like how the story treated her all the way through. Even the adults that cared were disappointing. But I didn’t realize it was the first in a planned trilogy. That gives me hope. Jade story isn’t over.

The opening of My Heart is a Chainsaw is perfect, sets the mood just right. Then we meet Jade. She’s seventeen, knows all there is to know about slasher movies, and has a terrible home life. Things aren’t much better at school or work either. When a new girl shows up, a potential final girl, Jade sees what she believes is a slasher cycle starting in her small town.

The book moves slowly in parts, but it’s not a straight-up action book. We need to care about Jade, worry about her, be uncomfortable with her. We need to question whether or not to trust her. We need to realize that Proofrock, Idaho is not a happy town. And we need to learn about slasher films, since the book is almost an ode to them.

And then the killings start. The showdown scene, if you want to call it that, is gory and sad and triumphant, and not what I expected, but probably should have. Jade did predict how things would go.

I listened to the audiobook, which was perfect. The book, aside from the intro, is from Jade’s point of view and told in the present tense, which works really well on audio.

About Stephen Graham Jones

Stephen Graham Jones is the NYT bestselling author of nearly thirty novels and collections, and there’s some novellas and comic books in there as well. Stephen’s been an NEA recipient, has won the Texas Institute of Letters Award for Fiction, the LA Times Ray Bradbury Prize, the Mark Twain American Voice in Literature Award, the Independent Publishers Award for Multicultural Fiction, WLA’s Distinguished Achievement Award, ALA’s RUSA Award and Alex Award, three Bram Stoker Awards, two Shirley Jackson Awards, five This is Horror Awards, and he’s been a finalist for the World Fantasy Award and the British Fantasy Award. He’s also made Bloody Disgusting’s Top Ten Horror Novels, and is the guy who wrote Mongrels, The Only Good Indians, and My Heart is a Chainsaw. Stephen lives in Boulder, Colorado.

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