Deathly comedy

Blackbirds, by Chuck Wendig, Angry Robot, RRP£7.99, 288 pages

Miriam has the ability to foresee where, when and how a person is going to die, simply by touching them. She has wandered the byways of the American south, using her gift to make money by robbing freshly deceased corpses. She’s a self-loathing loner who drinks too much and respects no one. That is, until she meets trucker Louis, a decent man, whose imminent murder is somehow linked to her.

Miriam knows from experience that she cannot save Louis. Her death visions always come true, no matter what. The question is, will she try anyway? Not if conman Ashley has anything to do with it. He wants Miriam’s help to shift a suitcase full of drugs that he has stolen from a trio of very nasty crooks.

Wendig’s second novel is a splendidly profane slice of urban fantasy – hard, dark and fast. Slick one-liners and laugh-out-loud descriptions pepper the prose, making Blackbirds a black comedy that even the Grim Reaper could smile at.

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