Say it isn’t so! The second novel in the Miriam Black series opens with our heroine jockeying the register of some terrible shore-store on Long Beach Island. She now spends her days swiping cheap flip-flops, bags of pretzels, and plastic shovels across her register, before going home to her trailer park of meth-head misfit neighbors and derelicts. The job is something Louis was able to garner for her in an effort to possibly domesticate Miriam, to bring her into the calm that he once enjoyed before all of the fall out in Blackbirds. It’s endearing, somewhat, but when you cage a wild animal, one of two things happens. Either that animal bends to your will, becoming a shadow of its former self, or it rages until it either dies or is free.
Fear not! Miriam escapes her cage within the first few pages. Otherwise, it would make for a rather boring book, considering what happened in the first. And of course, this freeing shit show that author, Chuck Wendig, uses as the catalyst for Mockingbird‘s story is something straight out of horror’s nightmares. It isn’t long before Miriam finds herself on the grounds of a school for girls, using her psychic ability to, once again, save the day, much to her chagrin.
As stated in the Blackbirds review, Wendig’s Miriam is a strong female character like no other. She was compared to a very real person, trapped in the world of very unreal circumstances. Mockingbird is able to somehow achieve more, here. Not only is Miriam still this very life-like person with supernatural ability, but Wendig is able to make you care. There’s a scene about midway through the novel where she returns home and finds her uncle. Without spoiling what happens here too much, Wendig stirs in the reader’s heart emotions of hope, terror, heartbreak, and brings you safely back to hope, before Miriam goes stomping down the road to her next destination. Black plays less of a victim of circumstance in Mockingbird and more of an antihero, a bit of a detective, which makes it easier to root for her. You’re going to find yourself peering less around the next page and turning it faster in an effort to see what happens next. She’s stronger now, and you want her to moreso thrive and stand tall, than barely survive.
If this book series isn’t even on your radar yet, I implore you to make swift changes to make it so. These books have a little bit of everything: action and horror, love and suspense, sex and mayhem. Moments of unadulterated horror are punctuated with tongue-in-cheek comedy, as Wendig’s foul-mouthed Miriam wanders the highways and byways of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. I look forward to the third installment, The Cormorant, and you should join me in the excitement of getting this series and reading along.