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About The Book

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.

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Don’t Fear the Reaper includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

December 12, 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 12, 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.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. Don’t Fear the Reaper is organized into multiple points of view, punctuated with essays from Galatea Pangborn. How does this structure compare and contrast with the trilogy’s first book, My Heart Is a Chainsaw?

2. On page 125, Jennifer and Ginger discuss Dark Mill South, with Ginger remarking that he has a “good name.” Jennifer replies that “names don’t matter . . . it’s what they do that matters.” In a trilogy with some great names, from Stacey Graves to twins dubbed Cinnamon and Ginger, how do names affect your understanding of the characters themselves?

3. In the suspense-laden chapter titled “Black Christmas,” Letha uses Rex Allen’s goose gun against a threat that isn’t what it seems. How did the author create the heightened paranoia of this scene? Did you come to the sudden realization at the same time Letha did?

4. Jennifer “Jade” Daniels grapples with her identity throughout the book. When do you think she first considers how her former self may be her saving grace? Consider her conversation with Cinn on page 195.

5. On page 205, Galatea’s essay reasons through Dark Mill South’s origins and the peculiarities around his victims’ final resting places. At this point in the story, what do you think is the truth of Proofrock’s latest serial killer?

6. In a conversation with Letha, Jennifer reveals why she gravitated to horror as a child: “I was a scared little girl . . . I thought if I knew all the rules . . . that would mean nothing would happen to me!” When you were little, how did you make sense of the world?

7. On page 244, Letha and Jennifer discuss horror’s signature actresses, with Jade remarking that “you don’t get to pick your genre.” If you could pick, what would be your genre of choice?

8. Imagine you are in the police precinct with Banner, Letha, Jade, Hardy, and Cinn on page 347. Based on your knowledge of slashers, what would you suggest the group do to stop Dark Mill South?

9. Jade admonishes herself for “hiding in stupid movie sh*t” when head-to-head with Dark Mill South. We all hide in something when we’re scared. How do you face down fear?

10. Mr. Armitage shows his true nature as Proofrock’s body count rises. How do his horror fantasies compare and contrast with Jade’s?

11. The book contains a twist ending—when did you first begin to suspect the true nature of Proofrock’s latest massacre?

12. Did you correctly guess who would be the Final Girl at the end of the book?

Enhance Your Book Club

1. As you read, create a Final Girl Tracker and note who appears to be the Final Girl at various points in the book. Were your guesses ever correct, and what does this cast of characters reveal about horror?

2. With your book club, watch a movie that is mentioned in the book (such as Night School on page 241 or Scream 2 on page 249). How does your analysis compare with the parallels to Proofrock that Jade and Letha pick up on?

3. Jade still feels an affinity for her favorite teacher, Mr. Holmes, all these years after stepping into his classroom. Do you feel similarly fond of teachers from your past? Write a letter to your favorite teacher highlighting the most important lesson you learned. Whether you send it or recycle it, how does it feel to step into Jade’s shoes?

About The Author

Gary Isaacs

Stephen Graham Jones is the New York Times bestselling author of The Only Good Indians. He has been an NEA fellowship recipient and been recipient of several awards including: the Ray Bradbury Award from the Los Angeles Times, the Bram Stoker Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, the Jesse Jones Award for Best Work of Fiction from the Texas Institute of Letters, the Independent Publishers Award for Multicultural Fiction, and the Alex Award from American Library Association. He is the Ivena Baldwin Professor of English at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Gallery/Saga Press (February 7, 2023)
  • Length: 464 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781982186593

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Raves and Reviews

* “Horror fans [will] be blown away by this audacious extravaganza.”—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

* “This extraordinary novel is an essential purchase.”—Kirkus, Starred Review

"Stephen's writing is a chainsaw and every sentence in this book drips with blood, every paragraph is clotted with skin, and every period is a bullethole. He makes me feel like an amateur."—Grady Hendrix, New York Times bestselling author of The Final Girl Support Group

"A homage to slasher films that also manages to defy and transcend genre. You don't have to be a slasher fan to read My Heart is a Chainsaw, but I guarantee that you will be after you read it."—Alma Katsu, author of The Deep and The Hunger

"Brutal, beautiful, and unforgettable, My Heart Is a Chainsaw is a visceral ride from start to finish. A bloody love letter to slasher fans, it's everything I never knew I needed in a horror novel."—Gwendolyn Kiste, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of The Rust Maidens

"Stephen Graham Jones can't miss. My Heart Is A Chainsaw is a painful drama about trauma, mental health, and the heartache of yearning to belong...twisted into a DNA helix with encyclopedic Slasher movie obsession and a frantic, gory whodunnit mystery, with an ending both savage and shocking. Don't say I didn't warn you!” —Christopher Golden, New York Times bestselling author of Ararat and Red Hands

“An easy contender for Best of the Year. A love letter to (and an examination of) both the horror genre and the American West, it left me stunned and applauding.”—Brian Keene, World Horror Grandmaster Award and two Bram Stoker Award-winning author of The Rising and The Damned Highway

“Stephen Graham Jones masterfully navigates the shadowy paths between mystery and horror. An epic entry in the slasher canon."—Laird Barron, author of Swift to Chase

"An intense homage to the classic horror films of yore."—Polygon

"At once an homage to the horror genre and a searing indictment of the brutal legacy of Indigenous genocide in America, Stephen Graham Jones’ My Heart Is a Chainsaw delivers both dazzling thrills and visceral commentary... Jones takes grief, gentrification and abuse to task in a tale that will terrify you and break your heart all at the same time."—Time

"Sneaking in right at the end of the summer is the best horror novel of the year... A loving homage to meta-horror classics like Scream and Cabin in the Woods. Hilarious at one turn and outrageously gruesome at the next, it’ll be the perfect book to read after dark over Labor Day weekend."—GQ

"Stephen Graham Jones continues his reign as a horror maestro with My Heart Is a Chainsaw. This brutal homage to slasher films focuses on Jade, a young half-Indian woman who finds comfort in horror movies after feeling abandoned by her family and her town."—PopSugar

"Stephen Graham Jones is a star when it comes to melding horror with literary fiction, exploring themes of colonialism and racisms alongside Indigenous experiences. He hasn’t been described as the Jordan Peele of horror fiction for nothing... A masterpiece."—Book Riot

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More books from this author: Stephen Graham Jones

More books in this series: The Indian Lake Trilogy