Ferndale author's smash 'Bird Box' is Netflix phenomenon

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The Netflix phenomenon "Bird Box" was viewed by 45 million accounts in the first week.

It is the biggest hit for the streaming service yet - and also the first novel published by metro Detroit's own Josh Malerman.

"What's happening right now has reached sort of a surreal, surreal tone. I mean, I'm thrilled and having the time of my life with it," said Josh Malerman.

It has led to the red carpet: Sandra Bullock, Hollywood. But Malerman is so down to earth. He's 43, lives in Ferndale with his fiancé and is friendly and easy-going. He's even in a band.

The band, The High Strung, is already successful with the theme song for Showtime's hit "Shameless" but this Bird Box success is a whole new world.

"You can set out to write a great book and make a great movie and promote it but I don't think you can set out to accomplish what is going on with Bird Box right now," he said.

Malerman wrote Bird Box in 2006. After many re-writes, it was published in 2014 but the book was optioned before it was even released.

And even Malerman was surprised at what he watched on screen. The film was directed by Susanne Bier, and starred Sandra Bullock and two of the cutest kids around.

"By the end I'm like, what's going to happen to these kids - are they okay?" Malerman quipped. "I cried in the movie of that book, yeah that was, wow."

Malerman says he had no say in the script for the film.

"It was funny when I watched the movie. At the end of the movie I wanted to know what was going to happen to Sandra Bullock and those kids at the end of the movie I thought, I hope they make a second one," he said.

So maybe there's another book and movie - a Bird Box sequel? We don't want to spoil the first one if you haven't already read or seen it. And if that's the case, be prepared to be on the edge of your seat.

"What's behind the door? Well what if you never ever found out what was behind the door," Malerman said. "And that to me, [that concept] is more chilling than anything I could have seen, had I opened that door. I love that horror just admits it's fiction. I love that it just admits it's imagination. If you're into reality, there are many outlets - but if you want to see how far we can imagine - this genre's a great place to go for that." 

Malerman’s new book, “Inspection” will be released April 23 and his band has a release show Saturday, Jan. 12 at The UFO Factory in Detroit.