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Blackbirds Mass Market Paperback – April 24, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


"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."
- The Financial Times

"Vivid and violent... a sassy, hard-boiled thriller with a paranormal slant"
- The Guardian

"Wendig's dark and twisty adventure is filled with misfit characters who defy easy stereotypes... despite fate being hell-bent on keeping her down, Miriam's stubborn struggle to change it makes Blackbirds take flight" - Elyse Dinh-McCrillis, Shelf Awareness

"Visceral and often brutal, this tale vibrates with emotional rawness that helps to paint a bleak, unrelenting picture of life on the edge." - Publishers Weekly

“In addition to a cast of well developed yet mentally unstable characters that enhance a fantastically horrifying plot, Blackbirds possesses a natural progression that doesn’t rely on convenience or contrived circumstances to move the story forward. Author Wendig’s distinctive, straightforward style is accessible and insistent; and the generous helpings of violence are strangely invigorating. Chuck Wendig has raised the bar of the urban fantasy genre . . .”
- Renee C. Fountain, New York Journal of Books

“Think Six Feet Under co-written by Stephen King and Chuck Palahniuk…” - SFX

“Wendig has taken the American roadside story and turned it into a tale of supernatural terror. This is a treat for those of us who like their horror vampire-free and swear-word heavy.” - Starburst

 “Blackbirds is a high energy, whiskey-fuelled ride, that will pull you along for the journey and have you questioning whether we can change destiny. A must-read book by an author that is worth watching.” - Fantasy Faction

  “Chuck Wendig has managed to take the best of urban fantasy and crime noir, twist ‘em together like barbed wire, and drag you right over the barbs. Blackbirds is gritty and violent, yet never loses sight of the light that might be at the end of the tunnel.” - My Bookish Ways

  “A gleefully dark, twisted road trip for everyone who thought Fight Club was too warm and fuzzy. I loved it, and will be seeking professional help as soon as Chuck lets me out of his basement.” - James Moran, Dr. Who writer

“Enchanting and drowned in blood, Blackbirds is a meaty piece of fiction, a non-stop mind-job where the first hit hurts and you keep going back for more. It’s the kind of gritty, unapologetic story that grips you long after the book’s done; dark, intense, utterly without mercy. Chuck Wendig spins one hell of a tale.”
- Karina Cooper, author of the Dark Mission series

"Trailer-park tension, horrified hilarity, and sheer terror mixed with deft characterization and razor plotting. I literally could not put it down."
- Lilith Saintcrow, author of Night Shift and Working for the Devil
"Blackbirds is a horror story, a traveling story, a story of loss and what it takes to make things right.  It's a story about fate and how sometimes, if we wrestle with it hard enough, maybe we can change it.  Blackbirds is the kind of book that doesn't let go even after you've put it down and nobody else could have made it shine like Chuck Wendig."
- Stephen Blackmoore, author, City of the Lost and Dead Things
"Mean, moody and mysterious, Blackbirds is a noir joyride peppered with black humour, wry observation, and visceral action. Fans of Chuck Wendig will not be disappointed."
- Adam Christopher, author of Empire State

“It’s a cliché in reviewing to say that you couldn’t put a book down, that you ended up reading all night because you couldn’t bear to leave the story. In reality there haven’t been that many books written – ever – that have that indefinable quality that demands your full attention. Blackbirds is one of the few I’ve come across in recent years.”
- SciFi Bulletin

"Wendig writes hard and fast and this is a slick noirish thriller."
- David Barnett, The Independent (December 9, 2012)

 “insanely good, acrid, burning prose … Wendig is a phenomenal talent, breakthrough of the last year. Absolute must-read.”
-Ray, Endless Falls Up 

"This book is and isn’t what I expected it to be. I did expect it to be good. But I didn’t expect it to be that good. This is book dark, gritty, and the elements of horror aren’t so terrifying that you wet yourself, but they are pretty damn scary sometimes."
-Write To Perfect

"I find myself taken with Miriam & her snarky foul-mouthed firebrand hellion devil-may-care badass ways."
-The BiblioSanctum

Blackbirds was named Runner-up for the 2012 THIS IS HORROR Novel of the Year Award 

About the Author

Chuck Wendig is equal parts novelist, screenwriter, and game designer - A.K.A. an all-around "freelance penmonkey." You can probably find him on the side of a highway holding a sign, "Will Write For Booze." He currently lives in the wilds of Pennsyltucky with wife, dog, and infant heir to the Wendig throne. You can find him dispensing dubious writing advice at his blog, Chuck was nominated for the 2013 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Angry Robot; Original edition (April 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780857662309
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857662309
  • ASIN: 0857662309
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (284 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #539,436 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author


Chuck Wendig is a novelist, screenwriter and game designer. He's the author of many published novels, including but not limited to: Blackbirds, The Blue Blazes, and the YA Heartland series. He is co-writer of the short film Pandemic and the Emmy-nominated digital narrative Collapsus. Wendig has contributed over two million words to the game industry. He is also well known for his profane-yet-practical advice to writers, which he dispenses at his blog,, and through several popular e-books, including The Kick-Ass Writer, published by Writers Digest. He currently lives in the forests of Pennsyltucky with wife, tiny human, and red dog.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Dave Versace on October 2, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Chuck Wendig's Blackbirds is the story of Miriam Black, a young woman afflicted by the unfortunate ability to see in precise and accurate detail the manner in which anyone she touches will die. Living a transient lifestyle from one cheap motel to the next, Miriam makes a ghoulish living by hovering close to people whose deaths are imminent and scavenging from their corpses after the event. She's callous, abrasive and bitter, keeping the world at arm's length with a steady stream of sarcasm and profanity. And yet -

Miriam meets someone in whose death she may be implicated. As she struggles to change what horrific experience has taught her is an inevitability, Wendig peels back the layers of his misbegotten heroine. Miriam's fearsome misanthropy is the shell of a heart sorely hurt. The great tragedy of her past is compounded again and again by misguided attempts to atone for her mistakes, attempts with invariably horrible consequences. Years of cruel experience have taught her that she is nothing but a poisoned chalice. Despite that, Miriam spits in the eye of her own completely justified fatalism and sets out to change the future.

On one level, Blackbirds is a snarling, vicious crime thriller populated by con men, druglords and psychotic assassins up against a prickly psychic heroine hauling a truckload of emotional baggage. It stinks of cheap booze, bad sex, greasy food, tire smoke, festering wounds and smouldering cigarettes. You don't have to dig far beneath the surface to get at the good stuff, though. Blackbirds is upfront about asking big questions about free will and destiny, but more intimate subjects, like death, loss and the harmful consequences of deliberately becoming physically and socially distanced from humanity, are laid bare as well.
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39 of 46 people found the following review helpful By SQT on April 24, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
When you look at a cover for a book like "Blackbirds" you think you're going to get something in keeping with the ethereal image; but Chuck Wendig offers something else entirely-- and that's not a bad thing at all.

Miriam Black can see a person's death whenever she makes skin-to-skin contact: she knows the exact moment and circumstances and sees it all with disturbing clarity. Miriam has adapted to her strange life by becoming a scavenger of the dead. Knowing when someone will die alone doesn't provide Miriam with a living much beyond subsistence level, but it enables her to drift along the margins of society without having to interact with people beyond a superficial level-- which is just how Miriam likes it.

Miriam knows that interference with fate is not an option-- she's tried to help people in the past but it only seems to cement the final outcome. But when Miriam shakes hands with Louis Darling and sees that he will die in 30 days, while calling her name, she realizes that fate might be choosing to involve her this time around.

I first became interested in "Blackbirds" because of its evocative cover, so beautifully done by Joey Hi-Fi, and I had the expectation that Miriam would have a dreamy way of looking at the world as one of those people who accepts their life with calm stoicism. But Miriam is anything but complacent and that fact is made clear right away as she springs to life, full of piss and vinegar, in all of her chain-smoking, swearing glory.

Miriam is a reflection of the world she inhabits. Any casual contact with another person brings visions of death that can be as benign as a heart attack or as graphic as a gunshot to the head.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Camuspam on October 9, 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of those books that I set out with every intention to "adore," but it fell really short.
Woman can see how a person will die (as decided by "fate") upon touching said person-skin to skin.
The concept was certainly not a novel one.
Hearing over and over again that "fate is a bitch."
Not a novel concept.
What was somewhat novel was the presentation of our "protagonist," Miriam.
She is a foul-mouthed, foul-tempered, nihilist.
She uses language that would make a sailor blush.
OK. This I like.
This I love.
I also love that Wendig made her pretty bright and intuitive hiding behind the 'street' facade.
What I disliked is that the author made her ignorant and unlikeable. At least to me.
Her language I can deal with. Her conceptualization of certain things...not so much.
"As stupid as a bag of retards."
This is a quote from the book that turned me off for the rest of the novel.
Yes, I know. I am being a "PC" a-hole.
Unfortunately, we all have our lines.
She uses the "R" word more times than I can count.
For me, this ignorance became intolerable and it is prolific throughout the novel.
Additionally, in an effort to come off intelligent, the author continuously uses words that fall so out of place as to disrupt tone.
A concrete example: I counted five uses of the word "purchase" in less than 20 pages (as in, "Her foot found no purchase there.").
This was in the mind of our street urchin gal?
So out of place that the tone could not be set.
The ending was broadcast.
The resolution quite clear.
My two stars stem from some very specific things:
1. The villains were great. I really enjoyed them.
2. It was not too drawn out.
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