As someone who is Indigenous, seeing Indigenous crime fiction and horror stories more prominent in bookstores is so refreshing. These are stories that explain Indigenous culture and politics, provide you with eye-opening mysteries, and shock you with eerie horror stories. From hard-boiled detective stories and haunting horror tales that involve folklore, to a masterfully told non-fiction title about a highway that has plagued the Indigenous people of British Columbia for decades, here are some of the best books to read about Indigenous crime fiction and true crime.
The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones
Jordan Peele meets Stephen King in this horror novel about Indigenous men being hunted by an evil entity connected to an event that took place during their youth. The four men must face tradition and the culture they left behind as this terrifying force haunts them, determined to exact revenge.
Girl Gone Missing by Marcie R. Rendon
Taking place in Fargo in the 1970s, Renee Blackbear (known as Cash) is a nineteen-year-old Ojibwe woman who has had a rough life. Her only friend is the town sheriff, who rescued her from her mother’s car wreck when she was a toddler. Since the wreck, Renee has gone through foster homes and started working when she was just thirteen. Now in college, one of her classmates vanishes and Cash begins to have very realistic dreams; she can’t stop seeing visions of terrified women begging for help. Soon, Cash joins Sheriff Wheaton in his search for the missing girl in order to not only find her, but see how close to reality her visions are.
Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley
Daunis Fontaine has never felt like she fit in in her hometown or the Ojibwe reservation, and has been anticipating a fresh start in college for a while. But then Daunis watches her dreams fade when a family tragedy puts her college plans on hold, and she has to take care of her mother. Things start to look up when she meets the handsome Jamie, a new player on her brother’s lacrosse team, but something tells Daunis he is hiding something. After witnessing a murder, Daunis reluctantly goes undercover for the FBI and uses her knowledge of traditional Ojibwe medicine to help investigate a deadly new drug.
The Red Chesterfield by Wayne Arthurson
While investigating a suspicious yard sale, M, a bylaw officer, finds a red chesterfield with a running shoe inside and a severed foot—and suddenly finds himself in the middle of a murder investigation. At the same time, his older brother K works for a new seemingly suspicious political party, while younger brother J tries to navigate being a young adult. Throughout it all—and with two brothers causing him stress—M must find the owner of the red chesterfield as he navigates through a crime world full of Russian gangsters and biker gangs.
Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden
Virgil Wounded Horse is an officer on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota, fed up with being let down by the American legal system and the tribal council. When heroin makes its way to the community and Virgil’s nephew is one of the drug’s latest victims, Virgil decides to take matters into his own hands with the help of an ex-girlfriend to stop the drugs from coming into the reservation—and make sure they stay out for good.