Blackbirds, review by Matteo Strukul

Blackbirds: With Miriam Black, Chuck Wendig created a powerful female character; his new urban fantasy series is really shocking!

Title: BlackbirdsBlackbirds
Author: Chuck Wendig
Publisher: Angry Robot
Pages: 384
Price: $7,99 (Mass Market Paperback)

Chuck Wendig is one big surprise for me, in fact a wonderful one and one of the best in the last two years. His Miriam Black series is a very strange and interesting gumbo of genres: urban fantasy, that’s for sure, but also noir, pulp and crime fiction. The whole story is brilliantly written with a lyrical voice and a dark, funny and psychotic sense of black humour.

Miriam Black has a gift: she knows when you will die. It’s simple, it’s true and it’s a fact. But she doesn’t care so much and, still in her early twenties, she has already foreseen car crashes, heart attacks, suicides and slow deaths by cancer. Recently, she met Louis Darling, a truck driver who gave her a ride, and she discovered that he’s going to be gruesomely murdered in the next thirty days, screaming her name. Now, her gift is an immense problem: she can predict deaths, but she can’t save the victims, and this time she really will have to try if she wants to stay alive.

Blackbirds has a very interesting structure, a razor-sharp plot and lunatic and entertaining characters, there’s nothing predictable in this book, every page contains surprises and tricks. Wendig is a wizard, he has no borders or schemes, everything sounds fresh and innovative and, for some reasons that can’t explain, this amazing novel reminds me of The Blonde, penned some years ago by Duane Swierczynsky: maybe because the prose is pop and lurid, maybe because the main character is a beautiful but disturbing female, maybe because this main character a has a particular gift.

But this is just an example, because Wendig is profoundly original and has a personal style, his prose is very cinematic and this book is a kind of grungy and amazing B-movie that you can read but also watch in your head at the same time.

So, read it before it’s too late and remember that more Miriam Black adventures are coming, with the already published sequel Mockingbird and the third, that will be out this January, entitled The Cormorant.

One last mention for the cover art: superb work by Joey HiFi.

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