Book Review: Blackbirds (Miriam Black #1) by Chuck Wendig

I don’t often do book reviews because, well, I’m just awful at them. I never really know quite what to say, and I don’t want to give away too much. Usually I’m pretty concise, and can get everything out in a few sentences, but I find that a lot of book reviews are 500+ words. However, seeing as how Chuck Wendig is one of my favorite people (even though he doesn’t know it, until he wakes up tied up in my basement, eyes half-closed as the drugs wear off. He’ll spot a small table, speckled with dried blood, to his left, razor-sharp tools glinting in the dim glow of the dismal basement. And he will beg.  *evil laugh*) Ha! I like to think that’s a little Wendig humor, mixed with a little Kristen Lamb humor. Anyway, on to the review!

Title: Blackbirds (Miriam Black #1)

Author: Chuck Wending

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Back Cover Blurb: 

Miriam Black knows when you will die.

She’s foreseen hundreds of car crashes, heart attacks, strokes, and suicides.

But when Miriam hitches a ride with Louis Darling and shakes his hand, she sees that in thirty days Louis will be murdered while he calls her name. Louis will die because he met her, and she will be the next victim.

No matter what she does she can’t save Louis. But if she wants to stay alive, she’ll have to try

This book is and isn’t what I expected it to be. I did expect it to be good. But I didn’t expect it to be that good. This is book dark, gritty, and the elements of horror aren’t so terrifying that you wet yourself, but they are pretty damn scary sometimes. Maggots falling out of open eye sockets, balloons popping and spraying black, clot-filled blood everywhere, and the sorts like that. 

Probably one of my favorite aspects of this book is that you know it’s Wendig’s work. As a follower of his blog, I’ve learned what Wendig sounds like, and this is most certainly his voice. The main character, Miriam Black, slings vulgarities and has this off-color wit to her that, as I read her dialogue, I can almost hear Wendig whispering along with it.

The character of Miriam Black is excellent. She’s tough, and doesn’t give a shit about anything or anyone. She’s not a afraid of a fight, and, due to a less-than-pleasant, but not overall horrible past, she’s a little messed up. It was nice to see that she wasn’t a strung out drug addict, though. She stuck to her cigarettes and alcohol, but it was good to see that, aside from her intense sexual endeavors, she isn’t one of those people digging for pennies out of people’s pockets to go score some coke. She has morals, they’re just hidden beneath the grit of her past.

Another thing I particularly enjoyed about this book is that the story is told in a way I’ve never seen. Between the chapters there are what Wendig calls “interludes” that cut to an interview with a college reporter. These interviews provide a little in-depth look into Miriam’s life, and what it’s like having the ability to see when and how people die. Also, when Miriam is interacting with a character from the main story, and that character has a story of their own to tell, it cuts to a new chapter where that character is explaining it in the first person. It’s a cool way to organize it, and, while sometimes a switch like that can be confusing, Wendig did it flawlessly.

Overall, this book was (incredibly) fast-paced and well-written. I had such a hard time putting it down. It was convenient that the chapters were short, because it allowed me time to sneak in a few at work, and still get my job done. Ha! I’m looking forward to picking up the second book in the Miriam Black series, “Mockingbird.”

Rating: 5/5


3 thoughts on “Book Review: Blackbirds (Miriam Black #1) by Chuck Wendig

  1. Hi Chris. Good review of a good book. I read Blackbirds a couple of weeks ago, and loved it. Miriam is certainly a great character, and I enjoyed the ‘ticking time bomb’ aspect to the plot. Wendig takes it right to the wire at the end, and I really wasn’t sure what the finish would be.
    Have you read Shotgun Gravy? Not as good, but still worth checking out.

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