Not Yet Published - Subject to changes in release date
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?
About the Author
JESSICA JOHNS is a Nehiyaw aunty and member of Sucker Creek First Nation in Treaty 8 territory in Northern Alberta. Her writing has been published in numerous literary magazines, and her short story “Bad Cree” won the 2020 Writers’ Trust McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize.
"Bad Cree deftly explores the permeable boundaries of dreams, reality, and culture, as well as complex family dynamics and relationships. A compelling novel that is a mystery and a horror story about grief, but one with defiant hope in its beating heart."—Paul Tremblay, author A Head Full of Ghosts and The Pallbearers Club
"Both tactile and dreamy, terrifying and beautiful, Bad Cree will wrap you up and pull you along for the journey -once it starts, there’s no backing out, no pause, no stall. I have been waiting years for Jessica Johns’s books – I say books because there had better be more! She did not disappoint."—Cherie Dimaline, author of The Marrow Thieves
"Bad Cree is a masterwork of creeping tension. Wry, moody and subversive, Johns explores the power of connections, both the harm and the healing, with characters rich and warm, tangled in each other, to the land and to the supernatural. Couldn't put it down."—Eden Robinson, author of the Trickster Trilogy
"In evocative yet understated prose, Jessica Johns weaves a captivating tale of love, loss, the violence of greed and the healing power of family. In Bad Cree, Johns delivers a suspenseful and thought-provoking page turner you won’t want to put down."—Michelle Good, author of Five Little Indians
"With creeps that are ever-creepy and love flowing like beer at a bush party, Bad Cree is a book about the power of dreams, home and family. It reads like a tribute to the ones who came before us Lee Maracle, Jeanette Armstrong, Eden Robinson. This book is tough iskwew in flannel shirts with long unbrushed hair, just looking good. It’s tea rings on Formica tables, cigarette smoke wafting through windows, and an eerie magical realism that only belongs to the bush. Full of Auntie power, Jessica Johns is really coming into her own immense storytelling ways."—Katherena Vermette, author of The Break