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(Miriam Black #1)

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  7,614 ratings  ·  1,369 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 April 22nd 2012)
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Apr 17, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, urban-fantasy
Blackbirds is a book, that, I believe, I would have liked more if it didn't have so much dude in it.

Blackbirds has all the elements of an excellent urban fantasy novel. And it would have been one, if it were written by Stacia Kane, for example. The book's main character, Miriam, has an ability to know how a person will die by having a skin-to-skin contact with him or her (this reminds me of some other books with similar powers, maybe Harper Connelly series by Charlaine Harris?). She uses this ab
Dan Schwent
Sep 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013, angry-robot, wendig
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
Feb 20, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Apr 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Sh3lly (

Dis wuz good - if you like twisted, crass, dark books. Luckily, it's right up my alley. Miriam has a sort of "psychic" ability: when she touches someone skin to skin, she sees how and when they die. She's a drifter/grifter, lives on the road, smokes a lot, drinks a lot, cusses a lot, and is generally not a very good person (not that drinking, cussing, and/or smoking has anything to do with what type of person you are *goes to get a beer and curses along the way* but it is de
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
The Only Thing I Liked about this Book is its Cover Buddy Read (TOTILatBisCBR™), over at the MacHalo Asylum Mansion ☢

Disclaimer #1: Petronilla, my reviewing mojo (view spoiler) is currently holidaying with the murderous crustaceans' cousins in the Andaman Sea. Being quite totally unable to write semi-passable crappy non reviews without her most wondrous help, I had to resort to hir
Feb 12, 2014 rated it liked it
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 up
Ɗẳɳ  2.☊
Miriam Black has been given a gift, or is it a curse? With merely the slightest touch, she’s able to see the exact moment and method of your death, but oddly not the where. Such a gift has the potential to be quite useful, right? With a bit of detective work, perhaps she’ll even be able to prevent your untimely demise. Unfortunately, she’s learned the hard way that fate is a fickle bitch, and what fate wants fate gets.

She’s haunted, in particular, by one devastating incident involving a young bo
Jun 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I had some pretty darn strong reactions to reading this. I mean, I already know that Chuck Wendig writes some gritty and hard-hitting unlikable crap-like characters that wallow around in the muck and make even more of it, but that wasn't really where my strong reactions were coming from.

Or were they?

Let me back up. Reading this is like reading the lovechild of Chuck Palahniuk and Seanan McGuire. One half of it is an emotional and vivid supernatural UF ride with a strong female who is on the way
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
Mar 14, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: urban-fantasy
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
Apr 17, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
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
Feb 05, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
Ashley Daviau
Dec 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Holy freaking cow, this book is goddamn brilliant!!! From the very first page I was totally enthralled by both the story and the characters. Miriam has immediately become one of my all time favourite characters ever. She is foul mouthed and rude but she also has heart and is just so badass that I couldn't help but love her. Not to mention her awesome ability to see how people will die with a single touch. And then when have Louis who is just such a sweetheart that you can't help but love him too ...more
Feb 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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

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
Sep 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014, ebook, favorites, fiction
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
Joe Valdez
Dec 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Dec 09, 2016 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
DNF 50%

As much as it pains me to do this, I'm going to have to put a DNF stamp on this. I love Chuck Wendig and the premise sounded interesting, but I got 50% in and it's still not my thing.
2* - It is what it is Stars

*That awesome cover is saving your ass a star

I really don't want to fill my review with the things I didn't like about this book. It's not a bad book. It just didn't work for me like it did soooooo many of my other friends and buddy readers. Like:
Shelby, Kelly, or Sh3lly.
They all liked this way better than me and their reviews make sense. As opposed to mine. Obviously.

So right, the book...
In all honesty, this is a great concept...
Young woman can touch you and know ho
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
Feb 03, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Apr 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

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

Thanks to a few like-minded weirdos I stumbled upon this little gem. I was supposed to be apart of a buddy read but everyone knows I’m a slow poke and everyone was finished with the book before I even got through chapter one.

EITHER way, I was able to enjoy this book a great deal, and I have a forespecial thank you to hand out to Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan for gifting me a kindle copy of this here book. (I promise, we will get to book two before 2017. Scout’s honor.) And a few more thank-you’s go
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
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
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
Nov 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
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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

Other books in the series

Miriam Black (6 books)
  • Mockingbird (Miriam Black, #2)
  • The Cormorant (Miriam Black, #3)
  • Thunderbird (Miriam Black, #4)
  • The Raptor & the Wren (Miriam Black, #5)
  • Vultures (Miriam Black, #6)
“Did you just say shrug instead of actually shrugging?” 18 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.” 7 likes
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