Having read Stephen Graham Jones’ previous effort Mongrels, a gritty and grounded take on werewolves, I was quite excited about his latest novel My Heart is a Chainsaw; a ode to the slasher film.
What is clear from the outset is that Jones knows his slasher films, and so does our main protagonist Jade.
This teenage girl has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the slasher film, which she almost beats us over the head with throughout this tale as a potential killer comes to her hometown.
Jade is slightly different from our final girl archetype though, as she is reluctant to take on the mantle whilst also playing investigator to the slayings and dealing with some deep-seated mental health issues.
While her journey is certainly intriguing, her role as an unreliable narrator makes the narrative sometimes hard to follow. Jones goes out of his way to build a world for Jade’s obsession to flourish, but as the reader, it makes her hard to relate to.
The finale is extremely gory and Jones doesn’t hold back in what feels like a slasher conclusion on steroids. We also get an open ending, and the author has teased a return to this story in the future, which could open up the story to new avenues outside of the slasher realm.
An entertaining but at times frustrating read.