February 15, 2012

Review: Blood and Bullets by James R. Tuck

February 15, 2012

Blood and Bullets (Deacon Chalk #1)
by James R Tuck
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Kensington Books
Release Date: February 7, 2012
Author Website 

Author Summary
He lives to kill monsters. He keeps his city safe. And his silver hollow-points and back-from-the-dead abilities help him take out any kind of supernatural threat. But now an immortal evil has this bad-ass bounty hunter dead in its sights. . .
Ever since a monster murdered his family, Deacon Chalk hunts any creature that preys on the innocent. So when a pretty vampire girl "hires" him to eliminate a fellow slayer, Deacon goes to warn him--and barely escapes a vampire ambush. Now he's got a way-inexperienced newbie hunter to protect and everything from bloodsuckers to cursed immortals on his trail. There's also a malevolent force controlling the living and the undead, hellbent on turning Deacon's greatest loss into the one weapon that could destroy him. . .

My Thoughts 

My inner goddess now calls out for Deacon Chalk!  This fearless and brave Bad Boy Hero that protects humanity is now one of my favorites.  Confidence and power radiates from his very essence.  He’s scary and intimidating with his goatee and tattoos.  The kind of man who will make you want to run and hide at first; but if you look a little closer, he’ll stir something deep inside that will no longer let you look away.  He’s a strong, hot, alpha male with a huge heart and not afraid to show it.

So, *shaking head to get back on track*, this story is action-packed and has a powerful theme of good vs. evil.  Early in the novel, we have to give Deacon a chance to talk about his passion for guns so it starts off a little slow.  But when he’s done, the story comes at you like a bullet. Pun intended. 

This novel is a little on the darker side of Urban Fantasy with only a smidgen of romance so it may not be for everyone.  However, I loved it.  To deviate from the customary romance novels on Valentine’s Day, I bought it as a gift to myself.  Not one regret.

It’s told in 1st person so we only hear the events from Deacon’s point of view.  I only mention this because some people aren’t that keen on stories told in first person.  However, I think the author’s choice to go this route is perfect for the story and he does a great job of it.  We still get a sense of what the other characters are feeling by their actions and obvious loyalty and respect towards Deacon.  It takes skill to convey the thoughts and feelings of other characters using first person POV and this author does so brilliantly.   

The Story

Just to add to the Author Summary above… 

Deacon is one of the top occult bounty hunters in the country.  His skill is impressive and has drawn the attention of powerful enemies.  Slayers and executioners are rare and things would be much easier for the bad guys if Deacon weren’t in the picture. 

Someone is out to kill him and they know enough about him to know his weaknesses.  They send in a young vampire girl knowing he will hesitate to slay her despite her being what she is.  She leaves a note that will lure him into what he knows is a trap.  Not one to shy away from a fight, he runs in with guns ablazin’.  And so starts his mission to unravel the conspiracy and find out who’s trying to kill him while protecting the innocents around him.

The Main Characters…
When Deacon sought revenge against the Nephilim (offspring of humans and Angels) who killed his wife and child, he also saved an Angel who was being held captive.  Actually he was killed saving her and she brought him back to life with her blood. By doing so, she made him faster and stronger and gave him the ability to sense magic and resist supernatural powers.  Basically the abilities he would need to continue fighting evil.

Deacon is motivated by vengeance and really doesn’t care if he lives or dies.  He kills with the conviction that monsters are evil and a man with nothing left to lose is a very dangerous man indeed.  However, he’s not so hell bent on his revenge that he’s lost his humanity so he does spare those supernaturals that aren’t evil. 

Actually, he’s not all badass.  He has a huge heart that he’s not afraid to show.  He cries when reminded of his loss and man enough to be ok with that.  He takes care of those he considers friends and has the undying loyalty of those he knows. 

He’s also quite conceited which I found rather funny.  He thinks he’s all that and a bag of chips, and we know that he thinks that because he likes to tell us.  Often.  His ego should have put me off, but actually it didn’t.  It was just enough to make me want to know more about him.  Maybe it’s my fondness for bad boys.  I really can’t explain.  

I’m not sure if it was the author’s intention, but I found it kinda funny when Deacon yelled and screamed his head off and tried to intimidate when he didn’t get his own way.  He was like a 2-year old throwing a tantrum.  I probably wouldn’t think that if I had this character in front of me in real life, but behind the safety of my Kindle, I giggled.

Five paragraphs about Deacon…I think I’m smitten!

Deacon’s Team
So moving on…there are some excellent characters backing Deacon up in his pursuits. 

Larson came into the story as a wannabe monster slayer.  After researching what he could, he felt he was ready to take them on.  However, he had no experience.  Deacon figured he wouldn’t last 10 seconds against a vampire.  But Larson turned out to be a surprise.  Despite his lack of experience, he was smart and brave and turned out to be an asset to the team. 

His regular team includes an extremely loyal circle of friends - Father Mulcahy is very dedicated to the cause.  Excessive coffee-drinker and chain smoker, he provided some comic relief.  Kat is the computer genius in his circle that provides all the intel he needs to do his job.  Deacon saved her from a very bad situation when vampires kidnapped her a long time ago.   Tiff is a girl he just met that showed him a gentle compassion for his loss thus creating an instant bond of friendship and possible love interest when the time is right. 

We didn’t get too much detail about what motivated the immortal evil trying to kill him other than they’re evil and considered Deacon a major threat.

There are only a couple of things I found slightly off-putting about this novel.  I found that there was a little too much detail about the guns and bullets. However, given the title and the fact that Deacon is a slayer, I expected as much.  The other thing is that I wish Deacon had shown a little more emotion at the ending since he was not afraid to be open about his feelings other times in the novel.  


A Few Favorite Quotes

On Deacon…

“I smiled and tried to make it friendly. Really I did.  I can’t help it that on me a smile usually looks like the grin of a pit bull.”

 “If Larson has been “bad” company, then when we pulled around to the drive-through, Katsumi would have been holding an Uzi out the drive-up window to distract him (Larson) while one of the ninja sushi chefs came around to slit his throat.  The Takakage family takes my safety seriously.”

The Look…
“My hand came up to pause Larson.  “Wait, where did you read the Morbius Manifesto?” Larson got that look that scholars get when dealing with the uneducated.  You know that look, like the answer is so obvious they cannot even believe they are having a conversation with you.  It’s the same look teenagers perfect when dealing with anyone over twenty-two.  “Online.” The unspoken “duh” hung in the air.  See what I mean?”

Coffee & Smokes…
“Father Mulcahy leaned on the doorway and drank coffee.  I knew for a fact it was not his first cup; hell I was pretty sure it was not his first pot.  Father Mulcahy does coffee really well, which is a good thing, because he drinks it all day long.  He was holding a saucer that held his coffee cup when he wasn’t drinking and also served as an ashtray for his ever-present menthol cigarette.  He is the only man I have ever seen who could take a sip of coffee with a cigarette in his mouth.”  

Bottom Line
In my opinion, the author has delivered a spectacular first novel in the Deacon Chalk series.  If you like bad boy heroes that are rough around the edges while at the same time, big teddy bears, I highly recommend reading this one!  The next in the series – Blood and Silver – is coming out in August this year and I’ve already added it to my anxiously waiting list.

Happy Reading!

4 Bad Boys – Really Enjoyed It!!!!



  1. Hey girl! This sounds like my kinda book - especially if I'm not in full on smutty book mode. LOL. Tend to go through phases... :)

    Oh, and I stole your hot man button. Cause I like that guy's intense stare and I wanna have him looking at me on my site too. He's yummy.

    1. No problem luv! I think you would like Deacon. he's pretty cool. Hopefully we will get to read about him going full on smutty sometime in the future. lol!