Blackbirds

Blackbirds - Chuck Wendig 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 unfortunates whose time is almost up. She runs into a trucker named Louis and with some horror see's that she is there at his macabre killing. Thrown into turmoil, does she attempt to save him and divert fates hand or does she let it ride out knowing that if she gets involved she could well be the cause of his death, as has happened before every time she's tried to intervene.

Miriam is a compelling and likeable antihero, tough as nails, she drinks and smokes like there's no tomorrow, she's cold and has a sharp tongue with a wit to match. A truly riveting character with so many flaws, its hard not to be totally drawn in by her.

In fact all the characters are relevant, memorable and multi-dimensional, the lines between good and evil are definitly blurred to some extent. Everybody has a reason for doing what they do, everybody has a past and its an interesting, emotional journey discovering all their story's.

The story is laid out in short impact chapters, I'm a big fan of this as my personnel ocd is to always stop reading at a chapters end, not that I check my back doors locked 20 times before I go to bed its just the way I like to read
There are chapters containing Miriam's grim and vivid dreams, her past, the violence that surrounds her and the supporting cast, including some particularly nasty individuals as they chase Miriam and the people she runs with all in pursuit of a caseload of drugs. The change's between past, present and dreams give an amazing insight into Miriam and the different characters without breaking up the pace and flow of the story - a credit to the author.

I must admit I've never read anything like this, Wendig's writing style is sharp, distinctive and every word packs a sledgehammer of a punch, nothing's padded out and I have to thank the author for not toning anything down to fit a YA profile.

I don't read many Urban Fantasy novels but coupled with the horror elements make this a fantastic read. Highly recommended and straight onto the next in the series.