Rec a Series is a monthly post highlighting one of my favorite series, past or present. This month, I’m going to veer far, far outside my normal recs. Far away from romance or fantasy. Even far from the other urban fantasy titles I’ve recommended and into the dark world of a woman who knows how you’re going to die.
Miriam Black by Chuck Wendig
There’s actually a debate on what genre the Miriam Black series falls under. Is it Urban Fantasy? No, not really. There are UF elements—contemporary setting, a splash of magic, a cool kick-ass heroine. But, and it’s a rather large but, there’s also a huge dose of horror stirred into the mix.
Miriam Black is a young woman who, after a tragedy in her past, developed the ability to know how anyone she touches skin to skin is going to die. She also knows when and uses that knowledge to put money in her pocket before moving on to the next town and the next “victim.” She isn’t a killer…just an opportunist.
She isn’t a very likable character at the beginning. She’s brash and hard. She steals from those she knows is going to die and doesn’t do anything to prevent their deaths. “It is what it is” is a favorite phrase of hers.
Shit happens. Yeah, I’ve used that descriptor before but here…it’s some really crazy shit you’d have to read to believe. She meets a guy, one of her “marks,” and realizes that she can do more, can be more. Her growth over the three published books is an amazing rollercoaster of a journey.
So, if you like your UF tinged with horror, some crazy-inventive expletives (I mean, really, Chuck is the master of off the wall cursing), and a bleak heroine who might just manage to redeem herself, then give Miriam Black a try. Just don’t let her touch you unless you want to know how and when you’re gonna die.
A note on the author: Chuck Wendig’s writing style is uniquely him and it’s not for everyone. It might be better as an audiobook as he has a very storyteller style that’s in the now and sometimes comes across as choppy. Also, he jumps around the timeline a bit (different chapters, but still), going from what you think is the present but is really the past, from what you think is the future but is really the present, and the distant past which thankfully stays right the fuck where it should. It’s not a casual or comfortable read, but it’s extremely awesome if you can roll with the punches.
A note on the graphic used: these are the original Joey Hi-Fi covers that I think are so freakin’ amazing. The books got picked up by a new publisher who rereleased them with new covers. Those covers are…okay I guess, but these? Stellar. If you can find them in a larger format, check them out and just look at all the details included. If you read the books, check them out again and see all the shit you missed the first time around!
- “Did you just say shrug instead of actually shrugging?” ― Chuck Wendig, Blackbirds (spoiler: he did)
- “For the record,” Miriam says, “I’m a supremely vulgar human being and even I think bearded taco is a disgusting term. My vagina is a beautiful flower, thank you very much, not a pube-shellacked burrito. Uck.” ― Chuck Wendig, The Cormorant
- “Are you seriously pulling that nice-guy friend-zone crap? You little turd, how’s that supposed to make somebody feel? That my friendship is just a way station to my pussy? Is that what my companionship is worth to you, Jace?” […] “That because you’re a nice guy, my panties will just drop because you deserve to have my thighs around your ears? Fuck you, dude. Being a nice person is a thing you just do, not a price you pay for poonani. I’m not a tollbooth. A kind word and a favor don’t mean I owe you naked fun time.” ― Chuck Wendig, The Cormorant
Miriam Black –
Number of Books: Four
Number of Extras:
- Interlude: Swallow (#3.5) – published in the anthology, Three Slices
- Book Trailer – I’m not a huge fan of book trailers, but this is one done right. It gives you a feel for the writing style of the books, the characters, etc, without being specific to any one book in the series.
Complete? No. There is a fifth book in progress.