Blackbirds is about a girl, Miriam Black. She has the unfortunate ability to touch someone and know exactly how and when they'll die. In fact, she sees their deaths in gruesome detail. Miriam is a hardened loner. She lives a nomadic life - traveling from place to place - and survives by being at the place of the people she's touched deaths where she relieves them of their money after they're dead. Yeah. She's not exactly a nice person. But she's understandable. Sympathetic, even. Most definitely tragic.
Despite her scavenger lifestyle, self-depricating behavior, and angry brittle wit, I couldn't help but feel horrible for Miriam. She's deeply troubled, thoroughly damaged and so very lost. Enter Louis, a truck driver, big and genuinely likeable, who helps Miriam out of a bad situation. Miriam touches Louis, she sees his death - and he's calling out to her. For the first time in a long time, Miriam doesn't want fate to win. Then there's Ashley, a total fuckup and smooth talking con man who has discovered Miriam's secret talent. He has a plan and a past - and neither is good. Mix in a lot of dark, action-packed bad shit and you have Blackbirds.
Miriam is a strong believer that she can't control fate. She's tried to stop deaths from happening, but it never works. She believes she's cursed - that she's the catalyst for the deaths. Maybe she is. Maybe she isn't. Either way, she is broken. Chuck Wendig draws you into Miriam's head - into her darkest thoughts and her deepest fears. It's so intense, I swear I could feel the words. Miriam hurts. This book hurts. And that's what makes it so incredibly good.
It's a dark roller coaster through the hell of Miriam's mind - doused with other, darker minds that make her seem like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. And through it all is Louis - hope - light - redemption maybe - if only Miriam can stand up to fate.
I don't think I've been so haunted by a character since the first time I read Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz (Odd haunts me to this day - and I have a feeling Miriam is gonna snuggle right up there with him in my brain).
Blackbirds earns the 6 stars of excellence. That means, people, that if I could I would own it on e-reader (done), paperback (done), and hardcover (damn - no hardcover??). It's a book that I'll read over and over. It's a book that might just sit on my nightstand for a while so I can pick it up and feel the emotion from it again. (Okay, that sounds creepy but it's really not. I just honestly loved the story.)
And the artwork on the cover?? Amazing.