Miriam Black can see the future. With a simple touch she’ll witness, like some sick Hollywood production, when and how the touched will die—right down to their last gurgling breath.
When a chance encounter with a late-night trucker reveals an unexpected twist, her life’s downward spiral loses control until she’s forced to confront her past, present and future—whether she wants to or not.
And thus begins Chuck Wendig’s story that will drag you kicking and screaming to its twisted and violent end.
Books come and books go. Some of them I’ll soon forget while others, like BLACKBIRDS, I’ll remember long after they've been tucked away in the attic.
What makes a book memorable you ask? For some it may be a complicated process: literary depth (blue curtains meaning more than just blue curtains), the number of syllables in a word, an author’s extensive use of every word in the dictionary, how many times the word “suddenly” appears, and the list goes on.
Fortunately, I’m simple. I don’t care if you have an extensive vocabulary, or spend your days writing literary prose with words that no human being will ever speak. I want to be entertained. Entertain me with clever characters and clever scenes. Like Stephen King once said: I can read a clunker as long as the engine runs.
Wendig’s BLACKBIRDS is not only clever, but filled with witty writing, great characters and an outstanding female lead. Many scenes stood out, but my personal favorite is when Miriam is first introduced to Frankie and Harriet:
Miriam crumples it up, goes to throw it, and finds herself face-to-face with a gawky, bony Italian-looking dude in a trim black suit.
"Jesus Christ," Miriam says.
The Italian nods, though he is clearly nobody's Lord and Savior … Miriam sees a small woman approaching, a short chubby thing with black eyes like hot coals and a set of bangs that look like they were cut with a hedge trimmer and a ruler.
"Evening," the woman says.
"Scully," Miriam says to the woman. To the man, she nods: "Mulder."
Simple. Funny, easily recognizable and the scene before sets it up perfectly. I loved it and laughed out loud. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy a witty reference to unrelated characters they know and love?
So let’s talk about the elephant in the room for a minute. You did see the elephant, right? How can a guy, who’s a guy’s guy none-the-less, write a female lead and pull it off?
Probably a lot easier said than done. While some readers may not see past a man writing a female lead, Wendig does it with a style and class that’s certain to please those who give it a chance. Miriam is a strong, witty (tired of the word “witty” yet? Tough. It’s my blog: witty witty witty witty witty) and self-aware woman. And while most women can’t see the future, I’m certain they’ll be able to relate to her being misjudged as a weak individual and the strengths she’s been forced to gain as a result. Miriam is NOT a pushover. She will fight when confronted, be sexual when it suits her, smoke cigarettes and drink beer when she damn well feels like it. She’s not one to be fucked with and Wendig does a great job bringing her to (believable) life.
BLACKBIRDS is a riveting and fantastic read that will keep you glued to the pages and longing for more. This is a MUST-HAVE on your summer reading list.