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Book Review: Blood and Bullets by James R. Tuck

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Blood and Bullets may have provided the most fun I’ve had reviewing a book in years. Fast, funny, brutally and unashamedly entertaining it reads like the literary equivalent to getting your ass shot into space. For a short while you sit and see what’s going on and then the story kicks in and you are thrown back and helpless but to enjoy the ride. Then, for just a moment you feel the weightlessness and ease of thinking you have the book figured out and then reentry slams you back into your seat again as you come crashing to the final page.

With a plot that boils down to “try and kill ME, will ya?” James R. Tuck has crafted a beautiful little book that opens the door on perhaps one of the most engaging and (dare I say it) badass characters to situate itself in the fiction aisle in quite a while. Deacon Chalk, former tattoo-artist and current monster hunter slash owner and operator of Polecats (a dance club) is just 6-foot-plus of adrenaline.

Thrown into a situation where he finds himself nearly staked in the heart by another monster hunter only to find himself in the middle of 50 or so rather pissed off and determined vampires, Chalk sets out in Blood and Bullets to figure out just what the hell is going on.

Armed with enough weaponry to stun many small countries in the Middle East plus the bonus of angel’s blood coursing through his veins, Chalk relies on the help of his friends, such as Kat who runs his club and Father Mulcahy who provides him with all the holy water and spiritual guidance and general bad-assery he needs (Father Mulcahy may be my favorite character other than Deacon, by the way, as he comes across as a rather amazing mixture of Scotty from Star Trek, Sean Connery and the old priest in the original Exorcist).

Along the way he meets others of course – whether friend or foe is not my place to say at this moment as I don’t want to give anything away – but Chalk is not a guy who finds himself left alone much.

By the way, I’m well aware that this is just “one more” book dealing with vampires, lycanthropes, demons, angels, etc. and one or more scrappy humans (or vaguely human humans) who choose to fight them… and I don’t give a damn. Eventually you can get tired of genre if it is overplayed, I’ll give you that, but when true talent and ability to not only write but entertain shows up to the party… you get over your own prejudices real quick.

Blood and Bullets is not only the most entertaining book I’ve read in 2012 it’s probably my favorite “new addiction” read of the past five years. For every moment I thought Jim Butcher was branching himself out too thin and perhaps cheating me on Harry Dresden… I know for a fact that James Tuck has plenty of fuel in his tank and Deacon Chalk will be around for a while.

Without hesitation you should pre-order this now. Don’t wait for the release date…

Blood and Bullets is due to be released February 7, 2012. I suggest you pre-order it today. Also, feel free to drop by the author’s website and see what coming next.

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