Over the past five years Sherman Alexie has become the hippest, most popular Native American cultural icon we have ever seen. With a bunch of novels and short stories, a screenplay credit for an upcoming Miramax film, a popular stand-up act in his native Seattle, and spot on the prestigious Granta Best Young Writers list it is hard to imagine what could possibly be missing.
In “Indian Killer” Alexie transforms modern day Seattle into neo-noir landscape complete with a serial killer on the loose and a tenuous racial climate beginning to burst at the seams. Alexie’s modern Native Americans aren’t the headdress wearing teepee building warriors chasing after John Wayne, but more alcohol guzzling misunderstood people trying to fit into a modern American world.
“Indian Killer” is the story of John Smith, an Indian adopted by white parents in an affluent suburb of Seattle. His struggle with his heritage comes to a head as the serial prowls the streets brutally murdering his victims and leaving two feathers on them to mark his prey. This is a very well written page turner that tackles serious issues with a sense of humor, but always manages to make its point in a way that makes you think.