James R. Tuck does not write great literature, but what he does write is absolutely great fun. Tuck writes the Deacon Chalke, Occult Bounty Hunter series, and Blood and Silver is the second full installment in the series. The first Blood and Bullets was great fun, and this the second one was like a roller coaster ride.
The series revolves around the character of Deacon Chalke, who used to be a tattoo artist until his family was massacred randomly for supernatural reasons. Deacon is out for both revenge and for his death wish. In this novel, Deacon’s reasons become much more complicated–character growth is always a good thing in a series. There are other characters who return–Kat, Tiff, Larson, and Father Mulchay–and some new ones introduced, all offering potential growth for both themselves and for Deacon.
On his Good Reads page, Tuck acknowledges Lilith Saintccrow and Laurell K Hamilton as inspirations, and I, as a reader of both, can see those influences. However, there is something in Tuck’s writing that is far different from both–voice. The voice of Deacon Chalke is more alive, and well, in some ways more self-aware, and there is a sense of humor–or maybe a recognition of absurdity–that is charming.
In this episode of the series, Deacon takes on lycanthropes. Werewolves are the new fad in fiction, but Tuck’s lycanthropes are much more diverse. Taking a page from Hamilton’s universe, Tuck’s world is full of different species of lycanthrope, and here’s where that dark sense of absurd humor comes in–everything from were-great white sharks to were-gamefowl comes into the picture. Playing with the idea of predator versus prey, Tuck writes a very violent, but entertaining book (think Bruce Willis’ Die-Hard movies). I could not put it down.
It starts with Deacon rescuing what he thinks is an abused dog from its abuser and ends up in a battle of were-prey versus were-predator. The motivations behind this conflict are both much more complicated and much simpler than one would think. And like all things that involve occult bounty hunters, it is VERY messy.
I’m told the third installment of this series is in the process of editing and proofing, and I must read it! I cannot wait–I want it now, and that is the sign of a good series!
Pick up Blood and Bullets and Blood and Silver, and you will be entertained.