Author: Chuck Wendig
Publisher: Angry Robot
Publication Date: April 2012
Genre: Adult Fiction/Urban Fantasy
Miriam Black has some issues. When she touches you, she sees how you’re going to die. She’s tried to stop it. She’s tried to warn people. But in the end Miriam realizes that she’s just a toy, an instrument of fate, and she can’t change what she sees.
So when she meets Louis Darling, and sees how he is going to die, she isn’t shocked. That is, until her name is his last dying words. Now Miriam has to try to save Louis and figure out why he’s whispering her name in his last moments.
Blackbirds grabs you by the, um, hair, and doesn’t let you go. Miriam is smart, damaged and edgy. She’s a smart ass, has a smart mouth, and is a defensive, harsh woman. But do not misunderstand. I like her. A lot. She’s funny, morbid and sharp. Her inner monologue had me laughing quite a few times. The array of colorful supporting characters and building tension had me reading well into the night.
I loved the structure of the book, written in third person present. It really added to the tension and suspence, experiencing everything with Miriam. We go back and forth between her journey and a interview, where we get a glimpse of Miriam’s past. It was one of those frustrating books where you had to keep reading, because it changed scenes just when something big was going to happen.
There is some sex. There’s even more gore. Wendig does a fantastic job describing the gore too, so this may not be a book for the squimish. But if you have the stomach, and want a wild ride, pick up Blackbirds.
Rating 10, One of The Best
Author Interview with Chuck Wendig!
What inspired you to become a writer?
COLD HARD CASH.
Ha ha ha ha, that’s a joke. Because one’s early writing career often pays in buttons and dust bunnies.
I loved reading stories and loved telling stories and decided that to make my living that way was a powerful thing. So, I started working toward it from a very young age, and here we are.
What was the last book you read?
So You Created A Wormhole, The Time Traveler’s Guide To Time Travel. Phil Hornshaw and Nick Hurwitch. High-larious.
What was the inspiration for Blackbirds?
Death! Death all around me. And the lack of control that comes with that. Miriam is born out of that struggle of feeling like all of life is ordained, that we’re fighting against the tide of fate. She’s the rock that tries to divert the stream.
Miriam is one kick ass lady. She’s complex, wounded and strong all rolled into one. Her voice is distinct with a thick dark humor. How did you develop Miriam’s voice?
I don’t really know. I wrote some early journal entries in her voice from early on – and I took a little of my voice and a little from people I’ve known and somewhere in there her snarky, troubled, angry, sad, hilarious voice started screaming in the dark. It’s an easy voice for me to rediscover.
Harriet, one of the mysterious strangers searching for Miriam, is one scary woman. I wouldn’t want to be caught in a dark alley with her. Or even in broad daylight come to think of it. Do you think you could take her in a fight?
Oh, gods, no. Harriet would gut me from taint to temples. And she’d do it in like, six seconds. Harriet is a deadly little fire hydrant.
Miriam fights so hard to not save Louis, the man she sees is going to die. Then she fights even harder to save him. Their journey seems far from over. Will we learn more about Louis and his past in the next book, Mockingbird?
We’ll see Louis again – he’s as much a character in Mockingbird as he is here. Though his past is touched on, I don’t know that we explore it overmuch – he is who he is, and his past is pretty well laid out.
You are at a coffee shop and one of your characters sits down to have a drink with you. Who is it?
As in, not my choice, but theirs?
Miriam. For someone so anti-social she’s oddly very social. Plus, she’d probably sit down and try to scam me or something.
Describe your book in seven words or less!
Miriam Black knows how you will die.
How do you like your potato?
Filled with meat.
If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
Do you have a favorite literary character?
Not a favorite, but I’ll read anything with Joe Lansdale’s Hap & Leonard characters.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
Chase our toddler around, trying to dissuade him from sticking things into electrical outlets.
What is one thing you would tell aspiring writers?
Finish your shit.
What is your next book about and when is it coming out?
Well, Dinocalypse Now and Bad Blood both just dropped – the first is a pulpy two-fisted heroes-of-the-1930s-battle-psychic-dinosaurs fun-fest, the second is the sequel to my “Vampire In Zombieland” novel, Double Dead.
After that, it’s Mockingbird, the next Miriam Black book, hitting in Aug/Sept.