‘Thunderbird: Miriam Black - Book 4’ - Advance Book Review

Miriam Black has a gift.

Well, she wouldn’t call it a gift.  She’d call it a goddamn, soul-sucking burden from Hell.  A gibbering, fiery monkey on her back, clawing at her face and screaming in her ears, day and night.  A curse that f*cks with her over and over and over again, teasing and taunting and tormenting her.

Oh yeah, Miriam drops the f-bomb.  A lot.  She gets them in bulk from Costco.  Okay, that’s not exactly true either.  You need one of the photo membership cards for Costco, and Miriam is not the pretty-picture-pose type.  No, she hangs around until the f-bomb truck rolls up to the loading dock.  Waits until the driver gets out and hits on her.  Kicks him in the balls.  Steals his whiskey and smokes.  Sends cell-phone pictures of the kiddy porn he has stashed under the seat to his wife.  Then, she has a cigarette, helps herself to a pallet or two of fresh f-bombs, flips him off, and continues on her way.

See, Miriam’s “gift” is that with a single touch… she can tell how you’re going to die.

Yeah, I’d be hoarding black-market f-bombs, too.

Author Chuck Wendig is having a banner couple of years.  Not only did he get hired to write the official bridge books from the original Star Wars trilogy (Aftermath), he finished off his stellar Heartland trilogy, started his YA Atlanta Burns series, and continues to push Miriam Black - his gothically twisted and tormented Cassandra-like heroine - deeper and deeper on the road to misery and salvation.  Not your typical feel-good tale, I know. But now, Miriam’s got something now she hasn’t had before…

… hope.

In the painful, heartbreaking conclusion to Book 3 (The Cormorant), Miriam’s curse took a toll on those closest to her, but gave her one small glimmer of hope, the tiniest sliver of a chance in dealing with her burden: a name - of someone who might be able to remove it.

Now, she’s on an epic journey to the American Southwest, seeking the psychic who can help her with her gift, but the deadliest vision she’s ever had will lead her into straight into a cult of domestic terrorists hellbent on retrieving a child messiah integral to their destructive plans.

Wendig’s take-no-sh*t protagonist leaps off the page in his clipped, hi-octane prose.  And as rough-hewn and raw as Miriam is, Wendig succeeds in imbuing this train-wreck of a girl with a surprising and touching humanity.  Even knowing that challenging Fate will have repercussions, Miriam chooses to do it anyway, knowing that she herself may pay the worst price for it. 

And after four books, when some writers would be struggling to keep up the pace, Wendig’s writing is fresh and immediate, and his tale is gripping from the first pages to the very end.  But his Road to Redemption is never smooth and straight, but twisting over arid deserts, littered with broken glass, rusted heaps, and used condoms, hiding rutted turnouts and jagged potholes.  Nope, he doesn’t like to make things easy on her.  Or the reader. And he shows no signs of stopping…

Which is a great thing for his fans.  Thunderbird: Book 4 will be released on February 28, 2017.


Verdict:        FIVE Apocalyptic Death Visions out of FIVE

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