Wendig writes Blackbirds in such a manner that you just want to sink you teeth into it, let it clog the arteries, and die a peaceful death with a big grin of satiation on the face.
When Miriam Black touches you skin-to-skin she instantly is privy to very personal information about you. She knows how you die. She lives the event within her mind. Now whether she tells you or not, that’s a whole ‘nother ballpark. If she does decide to tell you, you’ll likely either not believe her or if you do, it’s already too late. This is the case as you turn that first page and enter into Miriam’s life. You are immediately thrust into her world. And after the show is over, Miriam sits back, lights herself a cigarette, and writes. Dear Diary: I did it again.
She is a traveler. She is a ‘give-me-a-ride‘ thumb-pushing, truck stop visiting, cheap motel hopping, and cheapest bar-booze drinking traveler with no place to call home. She doesn’t keep friends. How can one have friends when all she sees is their ultimate and final departure? And then she meets Louis.
Louis. Truck driver. One of those soul-searching, quiet as you talk while they ponder what you say, tall ass truck drivers; but at least he’s clean. Miriam is sure he’s a closet rapist or something. And somewhere inside her there is a bit of ‘fight or flight’ and she fights. We see her work her magic. Not the ‘I see your death’ magic. No. Her mad skills of lying. She lies. And she does it well. Rolls off her lips like butter rolls down a hot pancake. And after it is all said and done, while waiting for Louis’ reaction, she realizes that she is pulled to him. Something about him draws her in and when she sees that it is his death and her connection to it, she hightails it out and tries to put as much distance as she can between them. She quit trying to save people a long time ago and she isn’t looking to pick that ol’ habit up again.
While looking for something to take the pain away from the reality that is her life Miriam gets trapped in the snares of drug dealers, power hungry crime lords, and the sniveling leeches who work for them, She struggles to stay alive. Death, however, seems to like her way too much. Haunts her even, in the shape of a talking dead Louis. The characters are powerful. The story rakes you in and just when you are comfortable uproots you and tosses you into another story. This sometimes causes a feeling of disruption and confusion however it isn’t terribly difficult to find your way back. Miriam’s sordid view, her cynical ways are hard to relate to on her level and yet you get drawn in and feel terrible for her. Chuck has created this woman. She can talk trash with the best of them one minute and then turn around, dazzle you with her witty and knowledgeable no nonsense, matter of fact style the next. You get to grab her shoulder and go on the wildest ride of your life…all through the eyes of a woman who has strapped on tight a construed view of life and death. You see through her eyes; the battle over whether her presence initiates the process of death; her argument with fate itself.
Readers will enjoy a fast read, vivid details, and often disturbing visuals of death. This book is not for the reader looking for light and whispy. Instead, down-right dark and often profane scenery carries the reader through to the very end. With everything said and done, this is a book I would pass along to those with strong stomachs and who desire a unique read that is hard to get your hands on. I can’t wait for the next installment!