Author: Chuck Wendig
Publisher: Angry Robot
Published: Out Now
RRP: £7.99 (Hardback) – £5.49 (Kindle)
Miriam is trying. Really, she is.
The whole “settling down thing” that Louis has going on just isn’t working. Living on Long Beach the whole year long. Home is a double wide trailer. She has a full time job. And her and Louis, Louis who spends most of the time on the road, well they’re relationship is subject to the same old piss and vinegar Miriam brings to everything she does.
Life isn’t going well, she’s struggling with it and trying to keep her psychic ability in check. But that feels wrong, like she’s keeping a tornado trapped in a bottle.
Then comes one bad day that turns everything on its head.
Miriam tried to do the right thing and it’s turned round and bit her in the butt. Events from the first book – Blackbirds – still haunt her, not only the eye Louis lost, but the scars she earned saving him, and the promise she tried to keep. But one inadvertent touch and the house of cards comes tumbling down, futures are revealed, death is abroad and Miriam is drawn into the world of a serial killing family with a penchant for young girls.
It’s good that this second book draws back the curtains on Miriam’s world more. There is more of the powers that surround her and seem intent of guiding or stopping her. It’s nice that we learn there is another – and possibly others – like her with varying degrees of sight. But moreover it’s good that Chuck Wendig chose not to take the easy route and settle Miriam into a Buffyesque role of champion of light and all round equalizer.
She has flashes of that character, she chooses to do the right thing and see her visions through to the end. But she chooses to do it her way, the Miriam Black way, and that way takes her through pain and heartache and lavish helpings of sticking-it-to-the-man.
It’s been said that male authors cannot write decent female characters. Wrong. Chuck Wendig has not only created a believable, three dimensional character in Miriam he’s also put her in a world populated with similar characters that jump off the page and make a grab for your throat.
If there is a downside to this second outing, it’s Louis. He fitted into the frame of the first book, but for me with its resolution his story was told. Here it’s like he’s been kept around just so Miriam has an in to the main setting of the story. Sure he has other stuff to do, saving Miriam for instance, but keeping him around just for that didn’t fit into the whole Miriam Black world view for me.