Miriam Black knows after one touch when a person will die. She shakes the hand of a truck driver and sees his impending murder, wherein he calls her name. She has tried in the past to change the deaths she sees and resigned herself to failure. This time she tries again.
Miriam is an exemplary character: a nihilist, wit and creative swearer, she is a pain and a delight. There are psychopathic antagonists in Ingersoll, and his henchperson, Harriet. I very much enjoyed how his other henchperson, Frankie, just wasn’t that into it and dreamed of a quieter life. Fully rounded characters for henchpeople is my new editorial campaign.
Present tense can be tiresome, but in this case was essential and used effortlessly. Blackbirds is grim, gritty and violent, in an accomplished, crafted way. I skim read over some bits I didn’t want to haunt my impressionable dreams. Read it when you’re feeling robust.