Indian Killer

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Indian Killer
First edition
Author Sherman Alexie
Country United States
Language English
Publisher Atlantic Monthly Press
Publication date
September 1996
Media type Print, e-book
Pages 420 pp[1]
ISBN 0-87113-652-X

Indian Killer is a novel written by Sherman Alexie, featuring a serial killer in the city of Seattle, Washington, who scalps white men. Because of this technique, he is called the "Indian Killer" and rising fear provokes anti-Native American violence and racial hostility.


A serial murderer terrorizes Seattle, hunting and scalping white men. The crimes of the so-called 'Indian Killer' triggers a wave of violence and racial hatred. Seattle's Native Americans are shaken and confused.

John Smith, born Indian ao claims to be part Indian. As a bigoted radio personality incites whites to seek revenge, tensions mount and Smith fights to slake the anger that engulfs him.[2]


Publishers Weekly wrote, "this novel offers abundant evidence of a most promising talent extending its range." The editorial review on said, "Alexie's new novel is a departure in tone from his lyrical and funny earlier work" and that "Alexie layers the story with complications and ancillary characters".[3]

The New York Times wrote, "It's difficult not to make Indian Killer sound unrelievedly grim. It is leavened repeatedly, however, by flashes of sardonic wit, the humor that Indians use to assuage pain.[1]

Sherman Alexie has said Indian Killer is "a feel-good novel about interracial murder".[4]

Film version[edit]

In the 1990s, Alexie was to direct a film version of Indian Killer yet the film was never made.[4]


Major characters[edit]

  • John Smith
  • Marie Polatkin
  • Jack Wilson
  • Clarence Mather
  • Truck Schultz

Minor characters[edit]

  • Reggie Polatkin
  • Mark Jones
  • The Foreman
  • Aaron Rogers
  • David Rogers
  • Olivia Smith
  • Daniel Smith
  • Erik Clancy


  1. ^ a b Nicholls, Richard E. (November 24, 1996). "Skin Games". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ " Indian Killer". Retrieved 2010-12-13. 
  3. ^ "Indian Killer (9780446673709): Sherman Alexie: Books". Retrieved 2010-12-13. 
  4. ^ a b Egan, Timothy (January 18, 1998). "An Indian Without Reservations". The New York Times.