Title: Blood and Bullets
Author: James R. Tuck
Pages: Paperback; 352
Release Date: February 7, 2012
Intended Reading Group: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Urban Fantasy lovers, as well as those with the ability to accept copious amounts of good old fashioned violence and cussing.
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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…
Let's get one thing straight, right off the bat. I am not a girlish person. I love bad-ass heroes and heroines who risk their necks to save the day. Blood and gore don't phase me in the slightest. In fact, if a vicious baddie happens to die in a particularly gruesome way, I might actually applaud! That is the type of reader I am. I appreciate it all, especially if it's telling me one hell of a story.
That being said, Blood and Bullets definitely sated my need for a good, old fashioned, violent romp through some baddies. Deacon Chalk is the type of character who kicks butt now, and asks questions later. Much later. James R. Tuck weaves a story that pits Deacon against vampires of all shapes and sizes. I absolutely loved the twist that he put on the final villain. Bullets fly, blood is spilled, redemption is had. This is a book that unabashedly grabs you by the shoulders, straps you into a chair, and keeps you there until the final page is read. It's fast. It's furious. It's pretty damn awesome.
However my gripe over everything else? Deacon himself. The story line was fantastic, and ran at a breakneck pace. It kept me reading. Still I would have liked it so much more if it wasn't for Deacon's character. I'd describe him as a man's man. Again I state I'm not against men like this normally, but Deacon is a bit over the top. He fights to the death, he cusses up a storm, he loves his guns like they were his children. On top of all of that he is extremely vain at times, and manages to be so repetitive in certain areas that it drove me mad. Overall? He broke the book for me.
As a reader who is very big on character development, I just felt like there wasn't any saving grace to Deacon's character. I saw that James R. Tuck tried to give him a family background and make me, as the reader, empathize with him. I appreciated that but it didn't help my relationship with him. It's probably just my opinion and I admit that! In fact, I gave this book to a male friend of mine who is devouring it as we speak and loving each and every minute of it. Hey, Deacon is a man's man! I don't doubt there are plenty of people out there who will love him.
At the end of the day, Blood and Bullets is an entertaining read with some fantastic twists and turns. I see that James R. Tuck is an amazing writer and I look forward to more books by him. I'm just not sure I'll be visiting Deacon's world again. Still, give this a shot! It's a great example of what good Urban Fantasy really is. Prepare yourself, you're in for a ride.
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.