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Blackbirds (Miriam Black #1)

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  4,765 ratings  ·  988 reviews
Miriam Black knows when you will die.

She’s foreseen hundreds of car crashes, heart attacks, strokes, and suicides.

But when Miriam hitches a ride with Louis Darling and shakes his hand, she sees that in thirty days Louis will be murdered while he calls her name. Louis will die because he met her, and she will be the next victim.

No matter what she does she can’t save Louis.
Mass Market Paperback, 381 pages
Published April 24th 2012 by Angry Robot (first published January 1st 2012)
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Community Reviews

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As seen on The Readventurer

2.5 stars

There have been a few conversations on Goodreads lately concerning the dangers of labeling and categorizing books, especially books written by women and especially calling them chick-lit or dystopian romance. Many eloquently and convincingly argued that giving fiction written by women these labels is dangerous and detrimental because it dismisses these books and alienates its potential male readers. On a logical level, I do understand these people's concerns,
Dan Schwent
Miriam Black has an interesting talent. Whenever she touches a person's bare skin, she can tell when and how they die. On the run most of her life, she gets by hitchhiking and stealing. When a good Samaritan picks her up, she finds that he dies a few weeks later, saying her name as a knife goes through his eye and into his brain. Can Miriam beat fate and save the man's life? And how does Ashley, the grifter with the mysterious briefcase and the two FBI agents that are after him fit into everythi ...more
You may not want to shake hands with Miriam Black.

By simply touching anyone, Miriam gets a vision of the exact date, time and circumstances of anyone’s death. The bitch of the situation is that she can’t do anything to change it. In fact, by trying to stop it, she may actually cause it to occur. Since she feels like a helpless puppet to fate, Miriam has taken up a nomadic existence of roaming America’s highways that she funds by being around to loot the wallets and purses of anyone who goes toes
I read a few reviews of this book before starting and I noticed that certain words kept popping up: gory, violent, action-packed, vulgar. Now that I’ve finished, I can report that those descriptors are completely accurate. This book is a non-stop ride of filth, blood, and death. Going in, I expected that I might feel a little disgusted. I expected to feel uncomfortable. I expected that this would be a fast-paced, fun ride. I’ve mentioned before that a large part of my inner psyche is a twelve ye ...more
I got about half-way through Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig and had to stop. Not because the writing was bad - it was excellent. Not because the story was boring - I was riveted. Not even because I didn't like the characters - they were wonderfully heart-breaking.

I had to stop because it felt like my mind and heart were being dragged through a cesspool. And I don't necessarily mean that in a bad way. Reality is that there's a whole lot of crap in life, and it deserves as much literary attention and
Jillian -always aspiring-
A few weeks ago, I came across an essay written by Neil Gaiman and titled "All Books Have Genders": the beginning of the essay touches upon the truth that, whether we (readers or writers) like it or not, most books can be defined as either girl books or boy books. What determines what a book's "gender" is? I'd say it's a mixture of things, particularly the main character, the mood of the story, the focus of the plot, and the narrative's voice. What does any of this have to do with the novel I'm ...more
Original review posted on The Book Smugglers

In Which I Am A Party-Pooper. Again.

Reviews have been mostly positive about Blackbirds and I can sort of see why. This is a fairly competent Urban Fantasy novel about a woman called Miriam Black who can – upon touching flesh – see how a person is going to die. Understandably, she is a majorly fucked up character who has basically given up on living a normal life. So she just roams aimlessly from motel room to motel room, sometimes making use of the inf
Apr 18, 2012 Jason rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jason by: Netgalley
5 Stars

I received this incredibly fun read from Net Galley and F#ck ‘n A, Miriam is one cool ass, strong, brave and extremely foul mouthed piece of trash that captured my heart and my interest as she let her first explicits fly. This is a very cool book… it was my first Wendig novel, but surely will not be my last. I loved that Wendig holds no punches back. He writes with a gritty and raw flare, without pussy footing around being politically correct. Yes, he can be vulgar, the language is rough,
I am absolutely baffled by the amount of people praising this book.

The second page of this book tells me that Wendig has written another novel, a novella, a collection of short stories and four books on writing. One of the latter is called 500 Ways to be a Better Writer. So I naively assumed the author would have some idea about how to write a readable book.

This book had a lot of potential; I love the concept, I love the theme of fighting fate and it promised some dark humour. It was a complete

Really 3.5 stars but since I enjoyed parts of it so much, I'm rounding up. What? A girl's allowed to feel generous every once in awhile. This book is not without its flaws, but goddamn, it has a gritty, modern noir sensibility that I just fell in love with.

Miriam Black is a damaged -- you could even argue deranged -- anti-heroine who isn't a very nice person. She's pretty fucked up actually, and she's just as likely to rob you as she is to spit in your eye. She fills her days (and nights) with
Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig is founded on a great concept: by touching a person, skin to skin, Miriam Black can see a vision of the moment when that person will die.

Pretty damn freaky, but an awesome idea for an edgy, gritty story.

Beginning here and moving on to a tight, lean and very dark narrative, Wendig tells a solid paranormal fantasy.

Maybe the greatest strength of this book is the author’s spot on characterizations. Miriam is a psychological train wreck dealing with this “gift”, but Wendi
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A story featuring a main protagonist Femme fatale, I can see the future kind of gal.
She knows how you will die, when you will die year, day, hour and minute, but she does not know where it will take place exactly. The location is a mystery for her to solve.
She considers herself in this story as a hideous little no good-nik. She says she does horrible things and has horrible thoughts. Curses, drinks and smokes.
I reckon she still has heart and guts.
Change the course of fate can it be?
This dwindl
I read Chuck Wendig's book The Blue Blazes last year, and I really enjoyed it. Based on the success of that experience, I vowed to read more of his books... though with the half-cringing knowledge that I might have my OHGODWHY?? button pressed a couple times. *Shudder*

I really enjoyed Blue Blazes. I loved the setting, the characters, the monsters, the grime and the crime and the feel of it. So I went into Blackbirds fully expecting to love it as well. Maybe not in the same ways, because this sto
Three and a half stars, but I'm feeling withholding this morning.

The Rules of Engagement:

I'm a bit of a noob when it comes to the genres of science fiction, fantasy, speculative fiction, horror, thrillers and the like and am (despite a lackluster attempt at googling it) decidedly unclear on the differences among the supernatural, preternatural, paranormal and ultranatural (if that's even a thing). The point of my rambling about this, is that what Ido like is worlds in which abilities that are b
Joe Valdez
Blackbirds is a paranormal thriller filled with harsh language and writing about a drifter named Miriam Black who has the ability to see the death of anyone she touches. The novel gets two stars because I did finish it.

I enjoy stories about psychics, about people with a gift they didn't ask for and can't return. Their gift gives them them godlike powers on the one hand but the very mortal weakness of loneliness due to their inability to connect with others, at least in the way that really matte
Miriam Black doesn't want your help. She’s a loner by choice. Why? Well, Miriam can tell you with 100% accuracy when and how you’re going to die. With a little simple skin on skin action, she can peer into the future and find out when you’re going to meet your maker. Big deal right? If Miriam knows how you’re going to die, why doesn't she just become a superhero and save the day? The thing is – fate ain't got time for superheroes. What fate wants, fate gets and avoiding the grim reaper isn't som ...more
Jan 31, 2014 Carol. rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: meh.
This is a tough one to review. Not because my reaction to the read wasn’t particularly clear –it was– but because my good friends over at Shelf Inflicted and I differ significantly in our opinions.

No doubt, most of the issue is simply motivations and taste; why we read and what our preferable types are. I tend to love both complexity and subtlety, and my diversionary reads need to come with straight-up happy endings. As the child of police officers, I find violence all too common in real life. A
David Sven
For some reason I thought this was supposed to be horror - it's not. I also thought the main protagonist was going to be black - but that's not really an afro on the cover...apparently.

Anyway, Miriam Black has a gift...or maybe it's a curse - when she touches people skin to skin she sees there moment of death and knows when it's going to happen. So with great power comes great responsibility right? No, Miriam uses her powers to turn up at the right moment so she can rifle through the dead person
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4.5 stars. Oh man, what can I say about Miriam Black? Funny how Chuck Wendig was able to hook me on his Blackbirds female protagonist the way he couldn't with Mookie Pearl in The Blue Blazes, my first book by this author. I may have mentioned my aversion for rough, brutish, brawn-over-brains characters like Mookie in my review of that book, but here I find myself completely taken with Miriam and her snarky, foul-mouthed, firebrand hellion devil-may-care badass ways. This chick had me at, "That's ...more
Oct 29, 2014 David rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: foul-mouthed psychics, dismembering housewives, nice guys who shouldn't pick up road trash
Miriam Black has the power (or curse) of knowing exactly when and how someone will die. The moment she touches someone, she sees a vision of their death and knows to the hour when it will happen. And she can't change it - she's tried. As with any story about time travel or precognition, the story comes around to the inevitable question of causality. Miriam knows, from past experience, that trying to interfere with someone's death just means she ends up playing a role in it. Then she meets someon ...more
2.5-2.75 stars

review before/while reading: readalong with jessie!


review after reading: EXCITEMENT!

but unfortunately, this excitement was of a drastically different sort than the first one. as in, OH MY GOD I'M SO GLAD I HAVE SUCH GREAT SKIMMING POWERS OR I'D HAVE NEVER GOTTEN THROUGH THIS BOOK! kind of excitement.

this book starts off wonderfully well. you have this broken-and-jaded-yet-filled-with-hilariously-witty--and-wry-quips main character and a great premise, and a general premo
"Animals are vile and cruel. Cats rape each other. Ants enslave other insects, including other ants. Chimps fight in massive gang wars – they kill wantonly, they piss and shit on the corpses of their enemies, they take the babies of their genetic foes and dash them against rocks. They steal the females and force them to breed. They sometimes eat the defeated males."

Harriet looks back at them, and Miriam sees in her eyes a manic gleam.

"Nature is brutal and grotesque. That is the only benchmark.
Tabitha (Pabkins)
What have I to say about Miriam? I LOVE HER!! She is a A STOMP ASS, FOUL MOUTHED, ALCOHOL DRINKING, CIGARETTE SMOKING, FIRECRACKER OF A CHICK WITH DEATH DOGGING HER EVERY STEP!!! Haha, now not that those are especially iconic characteristics to have as a person. But hey, sometimes the good guys aren’t always “good” right?

I don’t feel the blurb on Blackbirds is completely accurate after having read the book. Though it and the cover definitely were what drew me into reading it. Let me just say ins
Paul Nelson
Blackbirds is a dark, brutal, intensely written joyride of a book. Enjoyed it so much after the first 10 chapters I bought the second book of the series.
Miriam Black is a young woman with an extraordinary curse, by touching someone skin to skin she can immediately see their final moments before death takes them, in such explicit detail that every moment is memorable.

Miriam lives from day to day at the arse end of society, drifting from town to town, reduced to finding scores from the unfortunate
Blackbirds is a very dark, very funny story about a young lady named Miriam Black. Miriam has a special gift. She sees dead people. Or rather, she sees death. One touch and she will visualize the person she's touching in the their final moments on this earthly plane. She knows exactly when and exactly how they die. But Miriam's gift is limited in that she knows all the details EXCEPT where the event takes place. So she kicks around the country thumbing rides and following those who are soon to b ...more
I really Like Miriam Black! Caustic, full of attitude, feisty, tells it straight, certainly isn't shy on her P's & Q's & humour stacked throughout to boot - that is if yer appreciated gallows style & dark humour.

I found myself chuckling a LOT throughout this read, mostly with Miriam & her observations on "life" - yes an oxymoron if I do say so myself - as well as the bad cop & even badder cop duo of Frankie & Harriet especially Harriet who goes about her profession with g
Mr. Matt
Miriam Black is a train wreck. She's cursed. When she touches someone - when skin touches skin - she can see and know the moment of someone's death. It's about as pleasant as it sounds. With every human contact - no matter how incidental - she experiences death. Sometimes it's almost bearable: she's with an old man as he dies with a grandchild on his lap - but never-the-less she is still a witness to death.

And death leaves it's mark. She's isolated. How do you get close to someone when you know
This review originally appeared on Clear Eyes, Full Shelves.

FNL Character Rating: Tyra during the Powderpuff football game when she stupendously goes all HAM on Lyla Garrity.

The only thing I truly know about my future is the inevitability of my death. Like everyone else, I’d prefer that the time and manner of my death be peaceful, painless...and postponed for as long as possible. But perhaps that’s not to be. I don’t know the future.

But what if we could know the future?

In the case of a fluid fut
I found this book emotionally captivating right from the get-go! Miriam Black is a character that you can't help but root for. A woman who is able to "see" the deaths of everyone who's skin she comes in contact with, her life is edge-of-your-seat material at all moments.

The writing flowed perfectly--language and situations fit the characters in every way. I had no idea what to expect at the end of the book, until I actually read it. At that point, I was left eagerly wanting to read more from th
⊱ Irena ⊰
How to create an urban fantasy heroine as unlikeable and trashy as you can, see Blackbirds. The unlikeable part is completely personal. Some will love her. I couldn't. She calls herself garbage twice. That is two times too many.

Miriam Black has a misfortune to see how people are going to die when she touches them. As she herself says, she is a vulture. She waits it out and takes their money and moves on. The ability is not explained though. I am assuming it will be in other books in the series.
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Chuck Wendig is a novelist, a screenwriter, and a freelance penmonkey.
He has contributed over two million words to the roleplaying game industry, and was the developer of the popular Hunter: The Vigil game line (White Wolf Game Studios / CCP).

He, along with writing partner Lance Weiler, is a fellow of the Sundance Film Festival Screenwriter's Lab (2010). Their short film, Pandemic, will show at th
More about Chuck Wendig...

Other Books in the Series

Miriam Black (6 books)
  • Mockingbird (Miriam Black, #2)
  • The Cormorant (Miriam Black, #3)
  • Thunderbird (Miriam Black, #4)
  • Miriam Black #5
  • Miriam Black #6
Mockingbird (Miriam Black, #2) Aftermath (Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens) 250 Things You Should Know About Writing The Cormorant (Miriam Black, #3) The Blue Blazes (Mookie Pearl, #1)

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“Did you just say shrug instead of actually shrugging?” 9 likes
“She thinks, I want an orange soda. And I want vodka to mix into the orange soda. And while we're at it, I'd also like to stop being able to see how people are going to bite it. Oh, and a pony. I definitely want a goddamn pony.” 6 likes
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