Two things you should know about Stephen Graham Jones and his work: he is prolific, and his work covers a lot of ground. His debut novel, The Fast Red Road: A Plainsong, was a surreal road novel like no other, and it also gave the best sense of what you could expect in one of Jones’s books: literally anything. Night of the Mannequins is Jones’ second book to be published this year; it follows the excellent The Only Good Indians, a tale of supernatural vengeance that haunts a group of Blackfeet men.
Taken together with Jones’s earlier novella Mapping the Interior, these works suggest that Jones has found an unsettling register for a kind of North American folk horror. How does one follows those up? Well, if you search a little further back in in Jones’s bibliography, you’ll find the memorably-titled The Last Final Girl. Jones is an acutely talented practitioner of horror fiction, but he’s also a student of its tropes, its formations, and its endless variations. And while there are certain things about Night of the Mannequins that are best left unspoiled, the title makes one thing pretty clear: this one’s tapping into a strain of horror direct from the grindhouse.