Bad Cree by Jessica Johns #bookreview #supernatural #horror

In this gripping debut tinged with supernatural horror, a young Cree woman’s dreams lead her on a perilous journey of self-discovery that ultimately forces her to confront the toll of a legacy of violence on her family, her community and the land they call home.

When Mackenzie wakes up with a severed crow’s head in her hands, she panics. Only moments earlier she had been fending off masses of birds in a snow-covered forest. In bed, when she blinks, the head disappears.

Night after night, Mackenzie’s dreams return her to a memory from before her sister Sabrina’s untimely death: a weekend at the family’s lakefront campsite, long obscured by a fog of guilt. But when the waking world starts closing in, too–a murder of crows stalks her every move around the city, she wakes up from a dream of drowning throwing up water, and gets threatening text messages from someone claiming to be Sabrina–Mackenzie knows this is more than she can handle alone.

Traveling north to her rural hometown in Alberta, she finds her family still steeped in the same grief that she ran away to Vancouver to escape. They welcome her back, but their shaky reunion only seems to intensify her dreams–and make them more dangerous.

What really happened that night at the lake, and what did it have to do with Sabrina’s death? Only a bad Cree would put their family at risk, but what if whatever has been calling Mackenzie home was already inside?

On page one, a young Cree woman awakens with a crow’s head in her hand. Tell me that doesn’t get a horror fan’s blood pumping. When Mackenzie blinks, the head disappears. Was it real? Just her imagination? Something she carried over from her nightmare?

Mackenzie is still grieving her sister’s death a year ago. She’s also carrying guilt from not traveling home for the funeral. Soon the dreams about a night before her sister died become overwhelming, and Mackenzie goes home for help in dealing with them. I immediately loved her family – loud, occasionally obnoxious, a little pushy, and unconditionally loving and supportive. The dreams don’t stop, but at least she’s surrounded by people who can help her work through them and offer insight. The mention of Cree beliefs, customs and traditions fascinated me, and I wouldn’t have minded more.

Gold stars to the author for the creepy imagery – it really grabbed me. The crow’s head in chapter one started with a bang, but pacing ebbed and flowed for me in places. Occasionally the plot lingered too long in a certain scene, and it pulled me from the story. But not the ending. It was very vivid and atmospheric – and also bittersweet.

Bad Cree is undoubtedly a horror story, but it’s also about a loving family dealing with overwhelming grief. I’ll definitely be looking for future titles by this author.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

23 thoughts on “Bad Cree by Jessica Johns #bookreview #supernatural #horror

    1. I’ve been a horror fan since I was in grade school, Wendy – which is strange because no one in my family ever read that genre. The horror in this one features some gore, and some readers aren’t fans of that brand.


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