Chuck Wendig continues to enthrall us with the third tale in the Miriam Black series – in the same vein as The BlackBirds and The Mockingbird. Foul-mouthed, quick-witted Miriam Black having graduated from ‘thief’ to ‘killer’, finds herself up against a shadowy ‘stranger’ in the humid swampy Keys of Florida, trying to outwit this mysterious foe who seems to be always one step ahead, sending her messages written in blood from her futuristic visions.
Reading this book is like having a crunch-ball of a fist slamming into your head – that sends you reeling into some crazed-out mad world drenched in dripping darkness. The dark recesses of human mind soaked in blood-red insanity. Classic Vintage Wending. He pulls out all plugs on this ride – lassoing you to the back of a runaway train till the end of the book.
It’s like Wendig decided to outdo himself by going one notch up on that lever of insanity and grim darkness – then suddenly the winch breaks loose and then we are ratcheting up the levels till the end of the book. Packed with all the goodness that we’ve come to expect from Wending based on his previous Miriam Black editions, the chain-smoking, hitch-hiking, sharp as a switchblade bad-ass heroine is in top form in book#3. But this time, it gets down dirty and up close and very personal. For Wendig finally gets Miriam face to face with her mother, Evelyn Black. Whom in more ways than one, Miriam blames for her “FUBAR”-ed existence. And needless to say – it ain’t pretty. It’s hard edges, bleeding cynicism and rancor all over. So get ready for a self-examination this time as Miriam faces her personal demons, in both the dreams and reality. The unraveling of self for Miriam has been deliciously put forth by Wendig – powerful, intense and guaranteed to shock and awe. It worked for me, though am not sure if the same can be said of others.
But don’t get me wrong – in spite of all this ‘all dark, no stars’ approach, Wendig’s prose is unparalleled and an absolute gem. Guaranteed to bring a smile even as you wade through the slime and muck of the Keys of Florida, trying to stay ahead of a blood-crazed mad-man on her trail.
The Cormorant has no redemptions in store for Miriam. And Wendig promises us that she will be back in “Thunderbird”. It can’t come soon enough for us foul mouthed miscreants and deviants who are fans waiting to sink back into this now familiar twisted beastly fairy tale. We can’t wait to see if our princess locked in her own tower of bad dreams and psycho-dark horror will ever get her prince charming and live happily ever after. We hope not. Smirk.