Wendig ups the ante in this second novel about a psychic girl pitted against dark forces, malevolent humans, and the twisty nature of fate.
If readers were intrigued by the introduction of acid-tongued, supernaturally gifted Miriam Black in Wendig’s last novel, this book will really sink its teeth into them. She’s recovering after the traumatic events of Blackbirds (2015), holed up in an old Airstream trailer owned by the truck driver who saved her life. But she’s getting itchy, and the visions she’s having of a dark entity she calls “The Trespasser” aren’t helping. Eventually she’s introduced to Katey, an English teacher at an exclusive all-girls prep school. Katey thinks she’s dying, and Miriam quickly confirms this truth. But when she accidentally bumps into young Lauren “Wren” Martin, a much darker vision occurs to Miriam. “Here’s the poop, little bird,” she says. “I have this power. Like a psychic power? Except not your everyday psychic hoodoo. I can’t levitate shit, I wouldn’t know palm reading from a pile of donkey guts, and tarot cards weird me out a little. But what I can do is touch a person and see how they’re going to die. I saw how you’re going to die. And I don’t want that to happen.” With each turn of the screw, the book pushes readers deeper into the dysfunction of a small town and ratchets up the horror, both paranormal and startlingly human. As before, Miriam isn’t for everyone; she’s extremely profane, her creator absolutely punishes her physically, and she’s not exactly someone to root for. But it’s apparent that Wendig is getting more skilled at his craft here, using better characterization and the same whiplash prose to carve out a story that is not only creepier and equally as propulsive, but is also pushing its heroine toward even worse events in future installments.
Lurid but wildly entertaining urban horror that falls somewhere between Flowers in the Attic and Joe Hill.