Review: Blood and Bullets by James R. Tuck

February 9, 2012 Review 5 ★★★

Review: Blood and Bullets by James R. TuckBlood and Bullets by James R. Tuck
Series: Deacon Chalk: Occult Bounty Hunter #1
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Published by Kensington on February 7, 2012
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Reviewed by: Abigail
3 Stars

Sexual content

References to rape. A scene of sensuality

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…

Talk about a book that delivers on its cover! BLOOD AND BULLETS kicks off a brand new urban fantasy series featuring a wicked cool protagonist who’s a cross between Batman and Snake from Escape From New York. Deacon Chalk, monster bounty-hunter, packs every type of heat known to man (and some that aren’t).  His arsenal is seriously impressive but no more so that Deacon himself.  After name dropping a few uber famous UF characters like Anita, Cat and Bones, and Sam and Dean, Deacon’s debut proves he’s more that capable of hanging with the big boys.

I did have a few grumbles with Deacon.  He’s a little too perfect, almost like a Saint.  He owns a strip club full of girls he has rescued from one heinous situation or another and every last one of them adores him to a degree that borders on worship.  They prance around him in g-strings, but he’s oblivious to them sexually.  No straying eyes, no wandering thoughts that he has to battle.  He treats them like an indulgent grandfather, bending down for kisses on the cheek and dispensing proud smiles. And that’s pretty much the way he is with every other non evil character in the book.  He’s rescued them in the past and now they revere him like a savior.  Yes, he was still in mourning over the murder of his wife and kids, but apart from one very random and uncomfortable breakdown in a club, it didn’t seem to have damaged him a whole lot.  I wanted one flaw, one vice, one thing that he battled with and, at least occasionally, succumbed to.

Another thing that grew a bit tedious was the number of little lectures from Deacon.  They started out very cool, almost like little side notes explaining various mythologies or Deacon’s well honed methods for killing, but they started happening too frequently and for everything.  There was a whole page describing the take out he got from a Sushi restaurant, the merits of one song on the radio over another, or he' started repeating things he’d already told us like how fire could kill most supernatural creatures, except for Demons.  These weren’t huge problems, but I did notice them and they did slow down the story for me.

Those complaints aside, I really liked BLOOD AND BULLETS.  Deacon brings a heavy dose of testosterone that the female dominated urban fantasy genre has been waiting for.  He carries a big gun, drives a beast of a car, and blows a fist sized hole into anything that gets in his way.  The action scenes are plentiful and adrenalin fueled, and we get lines like, “…vampires never sparkle unless they just ate a stripper.”  That’s reason enough to earn the next Deacon Chalk book, titled BLOOD AND SILVER and scheduled for publication on August 1, 2012, a spot on my To Be Read list.

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5 Responses to “Review: Blood and Bullets by James R. Tuck”

  1. sara

    Ugh. I love the cover and was looking forward to this one, but I'm pretty sure now that I'm crossing it off my list. I'm already sick of strip clubs & night clubs in UF, but this set-up with a too perfect hero 'saving' women in order to employ them at a strip joint and having them be grateful? It sounds like one of those male wank-fest fantasies that should stay inside a guy's head and never, ever be revealed in public.

    Are there other female characters in the book that are stronger and more fleshed out? I've been looking for UF with a male protagonist (other than Harry Dresden), but so much of the recent stuff that's come out seems incredibly naive about its misogyny. Too often, women in male-centred UFs are there just to be sexualized objects. Drives me nuts!

  2. Abigail

    Sara,

    Yeah, I rolled my eyes when he revealed his strip club ownership too. And really, there aren't any fully fleshed out female characters. There is the potential for Deacon's right hand girl (who isn't a stripper) to become more substantial in future books, but she just isn't a big enough presence in this debut for me to say 'yes'.

  3. sara

    Thanks for letting me know, Abigail. I really appreciate that you point out these types of issues in your reviews.