Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Miriam is trying. Really, she is.
But this whole “settling down thing” that Louis has going for her just isn’t working out. She lives on Long Beach Island all year around. Her home is a run-down double-wide trailer. She works at a grocery store as a check-out girl. And her relationship with Louis–who’s on the road half the time in his truck–is subject to the piss and vinegar Miriam brings to everything she does.
It just isn’t going well. Still, she’s keeping her psychic ability–to see when and how someone is going to die just by touching them–in check. But even that feels wrong somehow. Like she’s keeping a tornado stoppered up in a tiny bottle.
Then comes one bad day that turns it all on her ear.
It’s the second book in the series but it can be easily read as a stand-alone. The author managed to create one feisty heroine with a very grim gift and made her compelling even though in real life you most probably wouldn’t like to meet her at all. It wasn’t bad for dark urban fantasy novel, not bad at all. After reading several disastrous books of that genre I did appreciate that fact more than I should.
Miriam Black can tell you when and how you’ll die by just touching even the smallest fragment of your skin. It is the sort of knowledge most normal people can live without so she is trying very hard to stop using her ‘powers’ and live an ordinary life working as a checkout operator in a supermarket. It doesn’t work – Miriam is bored out of her mind. When she almost despite herself is pulled into a vicious vortex of crimes she really enjoys the ride – up to a time. Soon enough it becomes clear she has bitten far more than she can chew. Still how would you react if you were pretty damn sure young girls are going to die in a horrible way after a period of mind-boggling torture? Would you be able to stand by and just watch? Would you be able to turn round and forget about it?
That premise made it possible to create a woman who is so flawed that she seems almost unredeemable. Almost. Then we see a splendid character development – she acts with unusual compassion, risking her own life many times over even though it would be far better and safer to inform the police and leave it. She stays true to herself and such a character can always count on a lot of sympathy. Overall I admit I liked Miriam far more than I imagined it possible at the beginning. Yes she had a bad case of potty mouth her sense of humour was sometimes straight from the dirtiest lavatories (an example of her witticism: “Ah. I like my coffee like I like my men. Hot, black, and coming down my throat”), yes, she treated Louis, her love interest and almost boyfriend, abominably from time to time. Yet she was honest and she sounded honest too.
Still I couldn’t remain blind for long when it comes to plot holes and inconsistencies. What’s worse near the end of the book Miriam Black simply jumped the shark – several times. My warning bells started to ring when she sparred – and almost won – with Beck, a martial arts tutor in a private school, a man in top form and muscled like a Grecian god. Then it went from bad to worse: Miriam, injured, concussed, underfed and undercaffeinated turned into an ultimate killing machine, just like that. Oh, and I wish the baddies got more exposure and they were of a less predictable sort.
Despite its weaknesses I am going to continue that series as it was far better than other UF books I’ve read recently. Yes, I like Miriam Black too much to leave her alone and I hope her life will take the right turn after so many wrong ones.