Review: Blood and Magick by James R. Tuck

Blood and MagickFormat read: ebook provided by NetGalley
Formats available: ebook, mass market paperback
Genre: Urban fantasy
Series: Deacon Chalk: Occult Bounty Hunter #3
Length: 352 pages
Publisher: Kensington
Date Released: March 5, 2013
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Taking out hellish creatures—not a problem. Armed with blessed silver hollow-points and the ability to manipulate magick, he’s ready for anything—except betrayal he never saw coming…

Deacon Chalk knows the biggest danger in fighting monsters is becoming one. Just another day at the office for your friendly neighborhood occult bounty hunter. If keeping three helpless were-dog children safe means battling a malevolent trio of witches by any means necessary, so be it. If that means partnering with a ruthless government agent to stay one step ahead of the allies and friends he must now suspect, he’s not going to cry about it. The only way Deacon can save humans and shape-shifters alike is to embrace a power beyond his imagining, putting his team at stake—and his soul on the line…

James R. Tuck’s Deaconverse is an absolutely fascinating version of urban fantasy. And so far, totally different from any other.

It’s ironic that I started reading it because I was looking for something to tide me over between Dresden Files books, because Harry Dresden would not be welcome in the Deaconverse. There does not appear to be any such thing as a “good” wizard in this world. Only bad ones and dead ones. Unless later on we find out there is a difference between witches and wizards. (I can dream…)

Deacon Chalk is the one who turns the bad ones into dead ones. Usually in a hail of gunfire. Deacon does love his guns. But axes work too. So do holy swords.

It doesn’t matter that the magick-user used to be a friend. In Deacon’s world, magick always involves a deal with evil. And there’s no turning back once someone starts down that road.

Blood and Magick is all about the price that has to be paid when someone Deacon thought was on the side of the righteous begins practicing magick and calls down a lot more trouble than even Deacon bargained on.

I’m not sure that anyone actually wins in this particular story. That’s not the point. This one is about revelations, possibly with a capital R, as in REVELATIONS, all religious contexts included.

There are enough left on the side of the righteous to fight another day. But when evil is very strong, and very powerful (not to mention that some of it is way too close to home), not everyone makes it home.

Especially if home isn’t there anymore.

Escape Rating A-: I could not put this one down. I almost missed my bus stop. I was even hoping for bad traffic on the I-5 bridge to work, and that’s a seriously dangerous wish at the best of times!

This story is a turning point. You can see things get more dangerous, and more serious. There’s a foundation being laid for the next books in the series, and it’s solid work. Deacon and his crew are settling in for the long fight.

At the same time, the revelations about Father Mulcahy (and I love that, Father Mulcahy, it can’t be the same guy from M*A*S*H, but it still gets me every time) and his past, and the seriously dangerous job he has for the Vatican is both cool and has definitely fascinating undertones of The DaVinci Code, only much more dangerous.

guilty pleasuresI loved the nod to Laurel K. Hamilton’s Anitaverse. Whatever anyone might think of the later books in the series, the idea that Deacon knows Anita Blake and Jean-Claude, and that in his world Guilty Pleasures is a biopic about her life is screamingly funny.

Deacon is the most righteous badass you’ll ever meet. He’s suppressing more awful stuff than most people do in several lifetimes. But he’s fantastic fun to read. I can’t wait for the next book!

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