Blood and Magick (Deacon Chalk Bounty Hunter)
Written by: James R. Tuck
Published by: Kensington
Blood and Magick
by James R. Tuck
Writers are known for being obsessive compulsives; that is just a characteristic that comes with the territory. After reading Blood And Magick by James R. Tuck, I have to wonder if we are hitting the age of the books for people with attention deficit disorder. Are we going to start seeing multiple books where the action constantly jumps around?
Deacon Chalk, our occult bounty-hunting hero, is having a nice dinner with his friends when a trio of witches attacks the restaurant. Deacon and friends jump into action with bullets and bravado flying. We are beat over the head with the types of guns used and with all of the training and experience that Deacon has fighting. And we are shown that Deacon is a real man, oozing with machismo from every pore. The good guys prevail and the bad guys regroup for a bigger, badder attack.
Deacon is knocked unconscious near the end of the battle (and it is completely beyond me why the witches didn’t just kill him or maybe cut his arms and legs off at this point). When he wakes up he finds that there is a government-sponsored monster-fighting agency there to request his help to stop the witches. A few phone calls to his friends reveal that Special Agent Heck is A-Okay and they all know him but have forgot to mention it up until this point in the series.
With the new soldiers on their side, Deacon and his Scooby gang figure out that the brood of witches needs the blood of the were-children born between a were-dog and a were-lion. Is their plan a world dominating or world-destroying trope? No, they just want to bring their friend back to life, not nearly as exciting as world destruction. Again it begs the question as to why the witches didn’t dispose of Deacon and company as soon as they figured out where the were-children were (say that three times fast). Since he is one of the few people that could stop them, maybe it would have been a good idea to shoot him in the face or something.
Deacon gets the most powerful weapon that he has at his disposal (wouldn’t it have been wise to be using this all along?) and sets out to find the witches. Through multiple battles there are sacrifices on both sides. Everyone is just too fixed on the end goal to stop and ponder on the weight of these losses. Building to a final fight between the main hero and the main witch, big shock there.
Overall the novel is formulaic with plenty of bravado-drenched dialogue. As I stated earlier we are constantly thrown around in a tilt-a-whirl novel that can’t focus on one character for very long because something cool might be happening with one of the others. It is as if the author is flipping channels between what is happening at any given point in a battle. And the high ringing testosterone thing gets old fast as well. Hemingway was a manly man but we didn’t have to be reminded of it constantly. There is also constant reminders popping up, like that annoying paperclip in MS Word, telling us about the previous novels and how these things are related.
The character of Deacon is hard to sympathize with. We are supposed to like him because he is the good guy fighting the evil but overall he is quite despicable. He is always right and everyone else is wrong just because. And if anyone disagrees with him he either intimidates or uses violence against them. The problem with this is that he isn’t really painted as an anti-hero. He is supposed to be the knight in shinning armor but he is a real jerk and almost impossible to like.
All that aside, the novel does deliver exactly what it promises: lots of action. It is an action-film type of novel with a simple plot, plenty of action, and closure. If your looking for a quick easy read, pick it up.
Reviewed by Adam Armstrong
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