The Cormorant by Chuck Wendig (Angry Robot Books, Dec. 31st, 2013)-If you’ve kept up with this series, then you know what Miriam went through in Mockingbird. To say that she’s physically and spiritually exhausted is an understatement, but she’s a survivor, our Miriam. When she saves the lives of two young men at the hands of a deranged homeless man, she finds a temporary home, but not paying rent is not a good thing, and her “work” as a street psychic isn’t bringing in nearly enough cash. Soon it’s eviction time, but it turns out one of her roomies has hooked her up with a job in Florida: a man who will pay her $5,000 to tell him how he dies. So, with reservations, but no other options, to Florida goes Miriam, and when she takes the hand of the man waiting for her, she’s shocked to see a message for her written in the man’s blood. Turns out someone from her past is expecting her, and is out for revenge.
So begins Miriam’s journey through the Florida Keys and beyond, trying to stay one step ahead of a killer that seems to be out to get everyone that Miriam cares for, but staying ahead of him proves to be pretty darn difficult, because he always seems to know what Miriam’s next move is. Also in pursuit is a pair of FBI agents that have suspicions of their own and are determined to interrogate Miriam…off the books.
Miriam is her usual bitingly sarcastic, scrappy self (seriously, the girl is like a Timex), but it’s the underlying layer of seething emotional pain, and the desire to do the right, and good thing, that makes her such a sympathetic girl, in spite of her own efforts to make herself as unlovable as possible. She’s torn and ragged and pushes everyone away, but ultimately is desperate for the love that she doesn’t think she deserves. This is part of what makes her surprising reconnection with her mother, who has relocated to Florida, all the more poignant. On the surface, the Miriam books are, at times, unrelentingly grim, but if you pick back the scabs, they’re the chronicles of a very damaged girl on a constant search for redemption while struggling to stay sane in the face of her unwanted physic “gift.” Cormorant, as is usual for this series, delivers action and creeps in spades, but the dim light at the end of the long dark tunnel of Miriam’s life is now just a little bit brighter. Miriam’s story remains an undeniably addictive one, and I finished this in one sitting. Wendig’s writing is better than ever, and this series continues to surprise and terrify in equal measure.