Blood and Bullets

I was jonesing for a Harry Dresden fix, and somebody mentioned Deacon Chalk might be just the man to tide me over. Whoever that was, thank you, thank you, thank you.

Now you’re wondering who the hell Deacon Chalk might be. Notice I didn’t say heck. Deacon Chalk would never be that mealy-mouthed.

Deacon Chalk is the monster-hunting main character of Blood and Bullets, the first novel by James R. Tuck in the urban fantasy series that is, of course, named after its protagonist. Deacon Chalk, Occult Bounty Hunter, that’s him.

There’s also a prequel novella, That Thing at the Zoo, which serves as a fantastic (fantastic in multiple senses of the term) introduction to the series and the characters.

Deacon hunts vampires, and pretty much everything else that goes bump in the night. Vamps murdered his family, and his mission in life is to stop the evil basty-assed-nastards from murdering as many other families as he possibly can.

He runs his monster-bounty-hunting business from the back of an expressway-exit strip-club. And every single one of the strippers is one of his assistants. Because they’ve all been victimized by the vamps at some point, and this is their way of getting some of their own back.

His sidekick is a Catholic priest, who also provides all the Holy Water Deacon needs for putting down the vamps. And is very handy with a rifle.

In Blood and Bullets, a lot of both fly around. Because an ancient vampire (there are ancient vampires and convoluted vampire politics in some of the best urban fantasy series) has set up Deacon, another vampire hunter, and one of her own vampires who got away from her(!) in a very nasty little war.

Of course she wants them to wipe each other out and save her the trouble. Or does she have a much deeper game? She’s a vampire after all. They always seem to be playing on twenty levels at once, all of them foul and blood-soaked.

This time, there’s more at stake than Deacon ever imagined. Even though he is literally on the side of the Angels.

Escape Rating A: Blood and Bullets is delicious in that “OMG please tell me there are more” kind of way. There’s a manic “Vampire Chainsaw Massacre” element that is just so much fun, but wouldn’t work in another genre. The vampires are unrelievedly evil, and you so want Deacon to plow them down without remorse, which he does.

I’ve never read another book that gets into the mechanics of vampire-slaughter in quite this much detail, and made it fun, but Blood and Bullets does it. The snark-fest aspects help tremendously!

Urban fantasy reads differently with a male protagonist, back to my comparison to Harry Dresden. Harry doesn’t finesse things, he sets them on fire. Deacon doesn’t either, he mows them down. They are also both big men who cast very long shadows, not just physically but also symbolically.

Start reading about Deacon Chalk with That Thing at the Zoo. It’s ebook only and definitely worth the 99 cents. Deacon’s adventures continue this summer in another ebook novella, Spider’s Lullaby, and later with Blood and Silver in August. I’m glad it’s not a long wait. I want to see what happens next!


4 thoughts on “Blood and Bullets

  1. Your review kind of reminds me of Jeff Strand’s books. Horror and humor. LOL! He just had a YA book release from Sourcebooks. When you’re browsing netgalley, you might want to keep an eye peeled for him. And now I’m trying not to take a look at this one. LOL! .99 though….
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  2. Pauline, let me tempt you some more. That Thing at the Zoo is only 99 cents and only about 75 pages if printed. Which, of course, it ain’t. Cheap and short. And creepy and snarky. And deadly.
    Jeff Strand, hmmm. Will look.
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    1. Well, I did it. Couldn’t beat the price. LOL! Jeff’s Andrew Mayhem books, well, you’ll find yourself laughing at things you never thought possible. His latest YA sounds pretty fun. Okay, looked it up. Its called A Bad Day For Voodoo. His ezine is a hoot, too. Here’s his pitch:

      It’s a Young Adult novel, but if you’re all like “I’m not a young adult! I’m old and set in my ways!” you can still enjoy the book, as per reviewer Elizabeth A. White:

      “Anyone concerned that Strand would overly tone down his trademark style for his first Young Adult novel need not worry; A BAD DAY FOR VOODOO is both gloriously gory and uproariously amusing.”

      New York Times bestselling author Jonathan “ROT & RUIN” Maberry calls it “Wicked, wicked fun. Dark, devious, and delicious!” If you were worried that this novel would only be worth a single use of the word “wicked,” fear not!

      Hope that was okay to post here. LOL! He just cracks me up. Your review reminded me of him enough to get me to click buy.

      I have one of Jeff’s early, early books: How to Rescue a Dead Princess. (grin)
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