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Chuck Wendig

Blackbirds

Chuck Wendig Blackbirds
$11.97 New
 
Out of stock but available. Should ship within 1 to 3 weeks.

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Series:

Miriam Black

Excerpt from book:

Blackbirds

ONE

THE DEATH OF DEL AMICO

Car lights strobe through busted motel blinds.

When the headlights come in, Miriam regards herself in the dirty mirror.

I look like something blown in off a dusty highway, she thinks. Dirty, torn jeans. Tight white tee. Bleach-blonde hair, the roots coming up, those dark, earthen roots.

She puts her hands on her hips and cocks them this way, then that. With the back of her hand, she wipes away a smear of lipstick from where Del kissed her.

“The lights need to be on,” she says to nobody, foretelling the future.

She clicks the lamp by the bed. Piss-yellow light illumines the ratty room.

A roach sits paralyzed in the middle of the floor.

“Shoo,” she says. “Fuck off. You’re free to go.”

The roach does as it’s told. It boogies under the pull-down bed, relieved.

Back to the mirror, then.

“They always said you were an old soul,” she mutters. Tonight, she’s really feeling it.

In the bathroom, the shower hisses. It’s almost time now. She sits down on the side of the bed and rubs her eyes, yawns.

She hears the squeaking of the shower knobs. The pipes in the walls groan and stutter like a train is passing. Miriam balls up her monkey toes and flexes them tight. The toe-knuckles pop.

In the bathroom, Del is humming. Some Podunk fuckwit country tune. She hates country. That music is the dull, throbbing pulse-beat of the Heartland. Wait. This is North Carolina, right? Is North Carolina the Heartland? Whatever. The Heartland. The Confederacy. The Wide-Open Nowhere. Did it matter?

The bathroom door opens, and Del Amico steps out, wreathed in ghosts of steam.

He might have been attractive once. Still is, maybe, in this light. He’s middle-aged, lean as a drinking straw. Ropy arms, hard calves. Cheap, generic boxer-briefs pulled tight on bony hips. He’s got a good jaw, a nice chin, she thinks, and the stubble doesn’t hurt. He smiles big and broad at her and licks his teeth—bright pearly whites, the tongue snaking over them with a squeak.

She smells mint.

“Mouthwash,” he says, smacking his lips and breathing hot, fresh breath in her direction. He rubs a scummy towel up over his head. “Found some under the sink.”

“Super,” she says. “Hey, I have a new idea for a crayon color: cockroach brown.”

Del peers out from the hood formed from his towel.

“What? Crayon? The hell you going on about?”

“Crayola makes all kinds of crazy colors. You know. Burnt umber. Burnt sienna. Blanched almond. Baby-shit yellow. And so on, and so forth. I’m just saying, cockroaches have their own color. It’s distinct. Crayola should get on that. The kids’ll love it.”

Del laughs, but he’s obviously a little confused. He continues toweling off, and then stops. He squints at her, like he’s trying to see the dolphin in one of those Magic Eye paintings.

He looks her up and down.

“I thought you said you were gonna be out here . . . getting comfortable,” he says.

She shrugs. “Ooh. No. Truth be told, I’m never really that comfortable. Sorry.”

“But . . .” His voice trails off. He wants to say it. His mouth forms the words before he speaks them, but finally: “You’re not naked.”

“Very observant,” she says, giving him a thumbs-up and a wink. “I got bad news, Del. I am not aThe first book in the Miriam Black series: “A sassy, hard-boiled thriller with a paranormal slant” (The Guardian) about a young woman who can see the darkest corners of the future.

Miriam Black knows how you’re going to die. This makes her daily life a living hell, especially when you can’t do anything about it, or stop trying to. She’s foreseen hundreds of car crashes, heart attacks, strokes, and suicides. She merely needs to touch you—skin to skin contact—and she knows how and when your final moments will occur. Miriam has given up trying to save people; that only makes their deaths happen. But then she hitches a ride with Louis Darling and shakes his hand, and she sees in thirty days that Louis will be murdered while he calls her name. Louis will die because he met her, and Miriam will be the next victim. No matter what she does she can’t save Louis. But if she wants to stay alive, she’ll have to try.

“Think Six Feet Under co-written by Stephen King and Chuck Palahniuk” (SFX), and you have Blackbirds: a visceral, exciting novel about life on the edge.


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