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on 6 December 2016
This isn't quite as good as BLACKBIRDS. There is a SLIGHT sense that the book is stretched out to fill the requisite number of pages. That said, it's still good. There is a proper story (albeit that it could have done with more developments, rather than delays to the conclusion), and an awful lot of second books in series really don't. The writing is still excellent, and there is decent characterisation, if not quite up to the standard of book 1. You don't have to mentally 'apologise' at any point, as you do with many writers in this genre. I will definitely carry on reading this series.

*****I originally gave this four stars, but that is to judge it in comparison to Wendig's best books: comparing it to the other books I have read since, it is a 5, so I am hanging my rating accordingly
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on 8 December 2012
Mockingbird is the second book in the Miriam Black series, picking up a year after the events of blackbirds.

Miriam and Louis have settled in New Jersey into a semi 'normal' life, Louis is driving the long hauls gone for weeks at a time and Miriam works at a seaside resort supermarket. A boring, mundane job that finds Miriam wearing gloves to harness her ability/curse, when finally she gets sacked and is just about to hightail it out of there, she 'sees' the death of her boss and a number of customers at the hands of a psycho with a gun. Fate and destiny averted, the old Miriam is back, itching to get back on the road with no ties.

Louise arranges a 'reading' with an old teacher friend of his, Katey, who thinks she is dying from a terminal illness. Whilst at the school for troubled teens, Miriam touches a young girl, Lauren and see's her murder at the hands of a brutal serial killer, troubled by this she later touches a second girl who's outcome is the mirror of Lauren.
Miriam investigates further and becomes intent on saving the girls and finding the killer.

An excellent second novel in the series and the 'reveal' is very well done, with the scale of the murders bordering on the insane.
We get to see more of Miriams past and the supernatural side of the visions/dreams she has is expanded further, making the book even darker if that was possible.
A slight change in tact with Mockingbird compared with the first book, we don't get POV chapters from the bad guy's as its all saved for the moment when everything is revealed to the reader and for me this didn't make the book as fast paced or compelling as Blackbirds, that said the last quarter of the book is fantastic.
There is alot more focus on Miriam however, which could never be a bad thing as she is one of the most engaging and strong characters I have read about.
The black humour and excellent characterisation coupled with a fantastic lead character make this a highly recommended series and I look forward to the next Miriam Black novel.
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on 29 August 2012
Chuck W. has pulled of that most difficult of things: a sequel that is every bit as good as the original.

If you've not read Blackbirds: (Angry Robot): 1 then I'd say, even though this book stands perfectly well on it's own two feet, it would be better to read that first.

Mockingbird is a gritty urban-fantasy thriller stuffed with good characters, plot, violence, naughty language - the way only Chuck can do foul-mouthed - but very little sex.

The protagonist Miriam, jaded with the idea of settling down, ends up doing 'her psychic thing' for a friend of Louis who works at a school. What starts out as a simple job spirals horribly out of control after she inadvertently touches one of the pupils.

As previously - the character of Miriam is as uncompromising as a brick wall and twice as hard.

If you've already read and enjoyed Blackbirds - you'll not be disappointed. Mockingbird has got everything Blackbirds had: excellent characters, a rocket-propelled plot and plenty of action. But even more than that - this one is at least three shades darker on the colour chart.

I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who likes gritty urban-fantasy.
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on 8 September 2014
When I grow up I want to BE Miriam Black. Not that she'd be impressed with anyone saying that... And I'm supposed to be grown-up already, but still.

Mockingbird is the sequel to Blackbirds, but can easily be read as a stand-alone, as Wendig tells you the bones of what you need to know in his trademark fast-track style. Rest assured, this is most definitely not a book that hangs around with lots of lengthy exposition - but you always know what's going on.

The star of the show is of course, Miriam. She's foul-mouthed and flawed - from experience and personal history, not just because the author thought he should write a "feisty" female (ick!) to appeal to readers with lady-parts.

She's also got heart - although she'd want to punch anyone who suggested it.

The action is unremitting and violent: sometimes a bit much for me, but that's a matter of personal taste. The dialogue is smart and quick-fire, with some killer one-liners as well as some knowingly terrible jokes that can't fail to raise a smile.

But there's more going on here. And it's hard to explain what without spoiling the plot. All I can say is there's something here about not just what people do, but WHY they do it... And how that can play out later on down the line.

One small gripe. And I can't work out whether this is intentional or not. Miriam sometimes refers to her on-off partner, Louis Darling (and oh, he so is!), as "Frankenstein, on the grounds that he is a very well-built fella, like the monster from the book and films. Now, surely she'd know that Frankenstein was the name of the scientist, the creator of the monster, rather than the monster himself? Ok, so there are gaps in Miriam's education - that's all part of her story... But, for me, it doesn't quite ring true that she doesn't know this.

As I say, it's a small gripe and I'm not going to quibble on it.

I highly recommend you read this if you want a quick and quirky read that challenges you a little bit more than you might think it would from the outset. Very enjoyable.
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on 10 January 2013
This is the second book in the Miriam Black series, the first being Blackbirds (A Miriam Black novel) and it's clear Wendig has hit his stride with this character. It's another rapidly moving adventure which I read in one go. I like the way there's a supernatural element to the stories but it only forms a relatively small part of the way the plot is driven... it's the central spine for sure but the bulk of the story is a combination of a mystery and a thriller... I can't wait for the next one...
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on 30 August 2012
Chuck Wendig can seriously write a great metaphor - his language is stunning and original and I'm always re-reading lines to try and fathom the layers. This is definitely horror with a suitably violent and nasty serial killer hunting young girls, mutilating and murdering them. Miriam Black, with her visions of how people die tries to change the fates of the girls she meets by hunting down the killers. But is her gift, or curse, beginning to twist her mind into madness? It's hard to tell as Miriam is one crazy chick, but a brilliant character. There's kick-ass action scenes as well as psychological weirdness. Highly recommended, but don't read last thing at night ...
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on 4 October 2015
I came to Chuck Wendig via his excellent writing advice books, and thought if he wrote fiction in the same irreverent, sweary tone that he writes his non-fiction that it would appeal to me. I wasn't disappointed. When you finish a book, you remember the characters more than the plot. Miriam Black is an excellent character, sassy, funny, brave, flawed, oh and with a supernatural talent to see how people die. This sequel to Blackbirds is an exciting read, and the Cormorant is on my extensive to read list now.
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on 10 February 2013
As with 'Blackbirds' (the first entry in the Miriam Black series of novels), 'Mockingbird' is a fantastically written book, filled to the brim with sharp, witty dialogue and instantly likable characters. And profanity. LOTS of profanity.
Prose is razor sharp, and Chuck's ability to make you hate and love characters is truly remarkable.
Aside from some sloppy editing, this book is a solid read with an intriguing tale.
Recommended for anyone who likes their fiction dark, their protagonists complicated, and their profanity in abundance.
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on 27 January 2015
Brilliant
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Earlier this year I read and reviewed Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig and if I'm being honest I have to admit that it did blow my tiny little mind just a bit. Like a David Lynch directed version of The Littlest Hobo (if the Hobo was a young women with supernatural powers rather than a dog) I really enjoyed this dark, nightmarish tale. When I heard there was another novel featuring the same character, I was keen to give it a whirl.

Once again I found myself amazed at how quickly I was hooked. Damn your black heart, Wendig! Miriam continues to be delightfully antagonistic with everyone that she meets. With a mouth on her like a longshoreman and a tough as nails exterior it's difficult not to immediately full in love with her. Her shocking language and her pragmatic approach to life are just so much fun. The phrase `brutally honest' may well have been invented with Miriam in mind. For all her foul mouthed bluster though, Miriam does actually care. Somewhere, way WAY deep down, there is a good person who does want to try and help people. The help she provides might be a little unconventional at times but she does try.

What of the plot then? Serial killings, a private girl's school and a ballsy heroine with more attitude than you can shake a wide variety of sticks at. I ask you what's not to love? Wendig is the sneakiest of authors. On the face of it Mockingbird is a straight forward urban fantasy but delve deeper and it's actually so much more than that. The narrative deftly explores themes like revenge and the nature of redemption while still managing to be entertaining but never preachy. In this novel Miriam is forced to confront some harsh truths about the power she lives with. During Miriam's continuing journey she has to try and learn how to live with what she knows. She also has to try and learn how to exist with others in her life rather than trying to shut the entire outside world out. I love the fact that the reader is privy to the thoughts going on in her head. It is so much easier to empathize with a protagonist when motivations are clear. There is a genuine sense that Miriam's character is evolving as the plot unfolds. The Miriam the reader meets on page one of Blackbirds is most definitely not the same Miriam on the final page of Mockingbird.

Some may find Mockingbird too much. There is no denying that at times things get pretty extreme, but personally I found it pitched just right. I've read other authors in the recent past who have attempted to write in a similarly graphic style and I have found their work unpalatable. I never felt that way while reading this novel. Wendig knows exactly when to shock and when to leave your imagination to fill in the blanks.

I don't often bring up the topic of book covers but once again I feel compelled to mention the truly striking covert art created by Joey Hi-Fi. A complex portrait of Miriam that uses basic black and white with just a splash of red to very effectively capture the spirit and tone of the entire novel. It's the sort of thing I could see myself getting framed and hanging on a wall. Actually, if anyone at Angry Robot reads this review I've said before that you guys know good cover art, how about creating some posters?

In conclusion, I will offer these following words of warning. I think we may have to start collectively fearing this author. I mean, I can only assume that Mr Wendig has made some sort of Faustian deal with the Dark Gods. Perhaps his books, and their addictive crack-like quality, are only the first step in some far more diabolical scheme? It appears that the dark side doesn't only offer cookies, they also have Chuck Wendig. Mockingbird is a darker-than-dark adult flavored urban fantasy that will mess with your head in the best of ways. Seek it out now (or after reading Blackbirds if you haven't already done that).
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