Hi friends! I received an ARC of this book from Gallery Books and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This book won’t be published until August 31 of 2021, but feel free to read my review to see if you should add it to your list! Although I received this book for free, all thoughts and feedback are my own.
Synopsis & Quick Thoughts
My Heart is a Chainsaw is the latest horror novel by author Stephen Graham Jones. Jade Daniels is an outcast in the gentrifying rural lakeside town of Proofrock. She lives her life through the lens of a horror film, relishing in the comfort they bring her as she imagines there’s a killer seeking revenge in her community. But when blood is shed in the waters of Indian Lake, Jade puts her encyclopedic knowledge of horror to work, predicating plots and trying to help her final girl to victory.
Gah, Stephen Graham Jones does it AGAIN ladies and gents and everyone in between! He’s absolutely solidified himself as an auto-buy author for me for any of this upcoming works. This is both a violent and poignant read. Admittedly, it was slow starting off and I didn’t fully understand the reveal, but Jones writes such good horror that the negatives didn’t impact me too much.
I feel like it may be hard for you to believe me when I tell you this book is a beautiful blend of horror and a moving story of self-discovery. This book demands a lot from its readers and I wouldn’t be surprised if it ends up being pretty polarizing. If you’ve been following along with me and my horror recommendations, you’ll know they tend to be a little against the grain of what’s popular on Goodreads. I suspect book will follow that trend. This book left me tired, a little grossed out, and rereading the last page or so multiple times.
Strangely, this book is strange in that I’m having a hard time pinpointing an exact list of positive things. It was just good. If you’ve liked my horror recommendations in the past, or you read and enjoyed The Only Good Indians, I really don’t think you’ll regret picking this one up.
Much like his other recent novel, The Only Good Indians, this book too struggles with a pacing problem. The first chapter/prologue brings the horror hard and fast, and then the action grinds to a halt for the next 60% of the book. Don’t get me wrong, the last 40% of the book is fast and gory and everything I want in a horror, but it does take a while to get there and I could see some people not having the patience to keep going with this one. While I’ve grown accustomed to Jone’s writing style by now, it’s much the same as his previous novel, and that was a negative for me then.
On a very short and small plot related note, I didn’t fully understand the slasher reveal at the end of the novel. It’s probably a metaphor and I’m just not big brained enough to understand it. Maybe there are more paranormal/supernatural elements in this book than I picked up on. Anyways, it wasn’t my favorite thing.
Rating & Final Thoughts
I’m going to give My Heart is a Chainsaw 3.5 out of 5 stars. I think if you’re wanting to try a Stephen Graham Jones book, start with The Only Good Indians. If you vibe with that, give this one a go. I think this novel definitely takes a certain personality type to enjoy it. I really did; I just wouldn’t recommend it to everyone.
Pre-order My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones here.