BLACKBIRDS by CHUCK WENDIG
Miriam is so damaged, it's hard not to feel sorry for her. Anyone so linked to Death couldn't be any other way. But, whoa, her negativity and self-destruction overwhelms the reader so rapidly, it is hard to turn the pages for more. For instance, Chapter Ten, titled "The Sun Can Go Fuck Itself"(p.83), where Miriam "reminds herself to one day get drunk and urinate on a Norman Rockwell painting"(p.87).(1) This kind of chin-up bravado remains delightful to author Wendig as he alligns his prose accordingly. And Miriam is constantly chattering away in potty mouth mode, always going for the Oscar Wilde witty "clever roadside banter"(p.22) firmly attached to vulgar slurs and physical outrages. I mean, characters here can't just go to the bathroom, they have to "paint the urinal a prettier shade of yellow"(p.54). Lots and lots of similies and metaphors—"I'm going to hit on you like kids on a pinata"(p.55), or "vampires are slicker than goose shit on a glass window"(p.76), or "wheels squeal like they're driving over a ghost. The car's back end sways like the waitress's own wide bottom"(p.94)—and hip, grungy prose like "while Miriam legally qualifies as an adult, she ceretainly doesn't count as one with even a dram of self-respect, does she? H-e-double-hockey-sticks no"(p75). Which is fine and similar to peppering in current cultural touchstones like Indiana running from the boulder ball to illustrate, say, peril. And, as every druggie knows, the perils of addiction are because of overuse, over-indulgence, over-the-top.
This is not a bad book. It's got a nice, twisting plot and cinder block-strong characters. The book needs to travel in your Levis' back pocket to be read during a greasy-spoon dinner. Author Wendig has written 2 more in the series—2012's Mockingbird and 2013's Cormorant—but Miriam's electric shock intensity didn't match my current funkiness for more than a quarter of this one.
Dead at 97 out of 381
Author Webpage: www.terribleminds.com