Don’t Fear The Reaper by Stephen Graham Jones

I’ve run into a problem since finishing Don’t Fear the Reaper by Stephen Graham Jones. I’ve been in kind of a funk since finishing up the book and this is the first time that I’ve ever experienced that after finishing a novel. I had loved the previous novel that I had read from him, which this was a sequel to. I think its safe to say that not only am I invested in the Indian Lake trilogy but also Jade Daniels.

I had taken my time reading Don’t Fear the Reaper, I wanted to savor my time with this prose and these characters. Even with me trying to take my time I finished it in under two weeks, with almost half of it being in the first day I started reading the novel. I think what made it so easy for me to read is how Stephen Graham Jones channels his love for slashers through his prose. Its almost like My Heart is a Chainsaw was Slasher 101 as a course, focusing on the foundations of the subgenre and Don’t Fear the Reaper is the next course, bringing in obscure movies as well as some newer ones that bring something new to the subgenre.

The story takes place about four years after the end of My Heart is a Chainsaw and how the Independence Day Massacre affected not only Jade Daniels but also the town of Proofrock, Idaho. When we first catch back up with Jade, she’s going by her given name of Jennifer and is denying what made her who she was. She arrives back home as two things happen; the first thing is a huge winter storm arriving and the second thing is serial killer Dark Mill South arriving after escaping his transport. This all kicks off a series of events that changes the town of Proofrock again. This is the only synopsis that I’ll write because I don’t think I could do it justice without writing an in-depth writeup.

One of the things I liked about Don’t Fear the Reaper was the continued evolution of Jade Daniels and how her love of horror and slashers affected those around her. One of my favorite things about the start of the novel is the shift in the friendship between Letha and Jennifer, since she’s trying to be a different person than she was previously. Letha Moondragon has taken the baton that Jade had dropped and taken the final girl education that she had started previously to heart. That even went as far as to name her daughter after two different actresses from horror movies. This novel continues Jade’s refusal to see herself as a final girl, even though that’s who she is and always will be.

Don’t Fear the Reaper is a strong middle entry in a trilogy that is a continued love letter to the slasher subgenre. I hadn’t even realized that it had been around a year since I had read My Heart is a Chainsaw when I started this novel. It had felt like a much longer period of time since I had. Now that I know that there will be at least one more Jade Daniels story I know that I have something to look forward to. I don’t know how long I’ll have to wait, but thankfully Stephen Graham Jones has plenty of novels for me to read. I cannot recommend the first two parts of The Indian Lake Trilogy enough. I give Don’t Fear the Reaper 10 bloody hooks out of 10. [kofi]


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