Bad Cree by Jessica Johns: Gripping and Captivating

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?

Bad Cree, the debut novel by Jessica Johns is immediately gripping and captivating. From the first sentence, Jessica Johns weaves a story of family, self-discovery and dreams. It is a story steeped in culture and expresses dreams as authentic tools. The power of connection, the healing of family is interwoven with a creeping tension and terror. The family dynamics and relationships focus the novel and the voice of the main character is powerful. 

I love how vibrant and beautiful the story is at times and messy just like life. The exploration of grief and how it impacts each of us in different ways is brilliant. I also love the way real life blends with the supernatural in this novel, how deftly the author weaves the narrative. It is authentic and truthful. I also love the insight into the author’s own culture and how that makes the story more impactful. 

If you like supernatural horror that still holds a touch of hope, a story that is gripping and captivating, I highly recommend you check out Bad Cree by Jessica Johns. It is powerful, real, complicated but mostly it is about grief, family, and connections and all of us can understand those elements, no matter our background.

Rating: 5 out of 5 crows. 

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