Rereading a Favorite: Don’t Fear the Reaper (Indian Lake Trilogy #2) by Stephen Graham Jones

Don't Fear the Reaper (The Indian Lake Trilogy, #2)Don’t Fear the Reaper by Stephen Graham Jones
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another 5-stars upon reread? Who’s surprised?

After I finished Don’t Fear the Reaper for the 2nd-time, I thought about all the things I wanted to say about it. All my new take-aways from my reread.

Then I thought, I don’t have time for all that. Seriously, it’s times like these when I wish I had a BookTube channel, so that I could just talk about it naturally, as thoughts are streaming through my head.

Honestly, I could talk for hours about this book. There are so many gorgeous themes touched upon, all mixed amongst Grade-A Slasher action and lore.

My Heart is a Chainsaw is a love letter to Slasher Horror. In this story, one of the aspects I enjoyed the most was the relationship between Jade and Letha; how it had evolved.

I also loved how between the two books, SGJ demonstrated one of the best aspects of Horror for me and many other life-long Horror fans. That is the way the genre offers a sense of solace and escape. It’s a way for you to face your own fears in a safe way. It’s a way for you to find order, to find rules, in a world that often seems to have none.

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t enjoying Horror in some form. From such a young age, it has always made me happy. I’m not exaggerating when I say it is my absolute comfort zone; and the Horror community is fantastic as well. We’re small, but we’re ardent.

I feel like Horror can often be an underrated and misunderstood genre. First is just the fact that it is assumed ‘one’ genre, with the main intent to scare each and every person that takes it in and if it doesn’t, it’s thought to have failed in some way.

To me, that is too simplistic a view for a genre that has too many subgenres to count, is full of nuance and explores a vast array of different themes and topics.

In The Indian Lake Trilogy, Jones brings all the emotion that is Horror to the page. He shows its power to help and to heal, to be a safe place ((believe it or not)) where one can hide, as well as how it can kick some ass, build esteem, face down monsters and slay some demons.

Why am I going down this tangent, you may be wondering. Believe it or not, I do feel like it’s important as a way to frame what you’re gonna get in this series.

In the first book, we discover Jade, as a teen, who views the world around her through a prism of Slasher lore that she has built up over many years.

There are reasons why she started to do this and a new friend in her life sees it as a call for help. Jade battles against that. No, no, no, she just wants to help this friend, Letha. She wants to teach her all she knows, to protect her; as a way to save their town, Proofrock.

At the start of Don’t Fear the Reaper, Jade returns to town after being away, in lock-up following the events of the 4th of July massacre. She’s had space from Proofrock and no longer has her biggest monster breathing down her neck. She now tries to keep herself from falling back into her past mindset and thought patterns.

Letha, on the other hand, has remained in Proofrock, where she has since gotten married and had a child. In spite of the happy family life, Letha was changed by the 4th of July massacre. She was left traumatized, both emotionally and physically, maimed in a painful and life-altering way.

We see that either consciously, or subconsciously, Letha has turned to Slashers as a source of comfort for herself during her recovery. IMO, she had picked up that that is what Jade had done, and she had learned by example. I feel like she did find a lot of comfort there.

When the two women reunite, it’s such a fascinating dynamic. The Padawan has become the Master. Letha tries to bring Jade back to her roots and ultimately, it’s Proofrock, she’s going to end up there.

With all this being said, this trilogy fills my heart in a way that’s really hard to explain. It is a nostalgic feeling, like coming home, and one that always makes me feel more passionate towards my favorite genre.

If you are a life-long Horror fan, I highly recommend this series if you haven’t started it yet, or the work of Stephen Graham Jones in general. He’s a genius and has such love for the genre. It’s truly a joy to read!


Don’t Fear the Reaper released just in time for Valentine’s Day. Be still my Slasher-Loving heart. This was everything!

Stephen Graham Jones is a genius. His writing style is completely unique, distinct and is an absolute master class in Slasher lore. I’m hooked. ((pun intended))

In anticipation of this release, I recently reread the first book in the trilogy, My Heart Is a Chainsaw. I love that book and honestly, was concerned that nothing could top it.

Somehow, defying the general law of sequels, this was bigger, badder and more blockbuster than the first!

It’s been 4-years since the Independence Day Massacre. Jade, now going by her given name of Jennifer, has spent those years in prison. When her conviction is overturned, Jade returns to her native Proofrock.

As Jennifer’s luck would have it, on the very night she returns, a prison transport van carrying convicted serial killer, Dark Mill South, flips over in a blizzard. Dark Mill escapes and heads straight for Proofrock.

Back in town, Jennifer is reunited with her previously chosen final girl and dare I say, friend, Letha Mondragon. It’s a bittersweet reunion for the two women. They’ve both changed dramatically since that brutal night four years ago.

Very quickly bodies start dropping in harsh and creative ways. Is Dark Mill responsible for these killings? What would his motive be here? If not him, who?

True to character, Jennifer and Letha dive head first into the action, putting themselves in incredible danger. They essentially saved the town before. It looks like they’ll have to do it again, but if there’s really just one final girl, who will make it out alive?

This book starts with a bang and never ever lets up. Not for a moment. It has the classic slasher opening scenes, where stuff is already hitting the haunted ceiling fan.

In addition to all the phenomenal Slasher connections and references, I absolutely adored the character development displayed in this one. For both Jennifer and Letha. The padawan has truly become the master.

Also, I enjoyed getting more of the twins, Ginger and Cinnamon. I feel like their interactions with Jennifer and Letha added a lot to the narrative. It was like the older generation passing on the torch of horror to the next generation.

Not that Letha and Jennifer are that much older, they aren’t old at all, but the experience of the Independence Day Massacre has certainly provided them with knowledge and seniority when it comes to being able to survive a Slasher.

I have no idea when the next book is slated to be released, but I do know I’ll be regularly stalking SGJ’s author page until we find out. I’m super anxious to learn the title and see the cover.

This series is everything I have ever wanted. Having grown up on a fairly steady diet of Slashers, thanks to my super cool older siblings, these stories bring me so much nostalgia and joy. I love the entire vibe.

While I recognize that this series may not be for everyone, I know that with the people it resonates with, it’s going to really hit. I cannot stop thinking about this. I’m really looking forward to reading both books again just prior to the release of the third.

If you love Horror Cinema, and Slashers in particular, and you haven’t picked up this series yet, I cannot recommend it highly enough. You don’t want to miss out on this!

Thank you so, so much to the publisher, Gallery / Saga Press, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

This was my most anticipated release of 2023 and it didn’t disappoint for a moment. Chef’s kiss!!

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