In Thunderbird, Chuck Wendig’s highly-anticipated sequel to The Cormorant (2013), Miriam Black sets out to find a psychic who might be able to help her get rid of her powers.
For too long, Miriam has been plagued with a power that, upon touching someone’s skin, allows her to see exactly how and when they will die. Her depressing ‘gift’ robs Miriam of her peace, and, if it’s possible to get rid of her visions, she’ll stop at nothing to find a way to make that happen.
Having heard of a psychic (who we first learned about in the last book) that may be able to strip her of her death-seeing curse, Miriam begins her journey to the southwest in search of a woman named Mary Scissors. However, Miriam becomes sidetracked when she encounters a woman and her son and, upon touching her, sees that the woman will be killed by a gunman.
To save the woman, Mary (accompanied by her friend Gabby) locates and kills the would-be shooter. That action, however, accidentally triggers a series of events that land Miriam and Gabby in the middle of a sinister plot hatched by a domestic terror group known as the Coming Storm, who, among other things, are hellbent on snatching the woman’s boy.
Surprisingly, Thunderbird is more of a crime or mystery novel than anything else. While there are some sci-fi/fantasy elements, they’re set in a darker world–which, while edgy, feels real (think more along the lines of the darker DC universe, as opposed to Marvel’s colorful universe) and authentic. And, while this is the fourth novel in Wendig’s series, it’s also a perfect place for new readers to jump into the action.
Miriam, for her part, is an interesting character. It’s not hard to imagine why she’d love to get rid of her powers, but newcomers to the series won’t fully appreciate all that she’s been through leading up to her breaking point.
While the story is very much about Miriam’s quest to find Mary Scissors, who proves to be much harder to locate than our hero anticipated, the bulk of the novel covers her journey–which doesn’t go according to plan at all. There are twists and turns throughout, and the pacing is fine, never going too slow or too fast. As for character development, readers will continue to learn new things about Miriam, who is constantly growing and learning about herself, while flashback scenes replay some of the highlights from previous books, allowing new readers to get up to speed.
In the end, Wendig mixes humor and fantasy, creating a crime-driven novel that explores multiple themes and still begs the question–is Miriam’s ability a gift or a curse? Readers’ opinions may differ on that, but one thing they will agree on is that Chuck Wendig knows how to serve up high-tension thrillers wrapped around intriguing characters.
Author: Chuck Wendig
Series: Miriam Black #4
Pages: 322 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Saga Press
Release Date: February 28, 2017 (Order Now!)