cover image Mockingbird


Chuck Wendig. S&S/Saga, $26.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-4814-5700-2

Wendig sends his potty-mouthed dysfunctional psychic heroine, Miriam Black, out on her scathing second adventure (after 2012’s Blackbirds), equipped with the eerie ability to see the death of anyone she touches, except her long-suffering lover, Louis. In a grungy corner of New Jersey, this unlikely pair, “cautious guardian” Louis and “frazzled lunatic” Miriam, plunge into a grisly school for bad girls that conceals a horrifying scheme of kidnapping, torture, and murder. Wendig takes mythic bits from Egyptian, Greek, and Norse avian legends, pads his creepy narrative with allusions to T.S. Eliot’s Waste Land, and loses no opportunity to attribute Miriam’s unusual insights and abilities to her adolescent angst, brought on by her religious-zealot mother and a wallop to the head with a red snow shovel wielded by the mother of the boy who got teenage Miriam pregnant. Not for the squeamish, this attempted exploration of primal fears loses much of its intended impact through injudicious overkill. Agent: Stacia Decker, Donald Maass Literary Agency. (Oct.)