I turned, put my hands together, and cracked my knuckles. They popped, releasing tension along the bones of my hands. I closed them into fists just as the magick boiled over and the wall of bullet-ridden seats collapsed.
Hells to the yeah.
Time to rock and roll.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my journey into the Deaconverse it’s that anything can happen at anytime and no character is safe. Blood and Magick, the third book in the Deacon Chalk Occult Bounty Hunter series, is a wild, bloody ride from start to finish. There were a couple of times I wanted to put the book down and take a breather. For some reason this installment just seemed more intense, at times emotionally draining. It is most definitely a game changer.
Deacon Chalk lost his family to monsters five years ago. It was a horrific night and he’s tried to bury those memories deep in his mind so he can survive day-to-day. He came out of that a changed man, a strong, hard-core vigilante who fights for those people who can’t fight for themselves. Over the course of the last three books he’s gathered a group of people around him who he considers his family, and has let himself fall in love again. Tiff is the perfect companion for a man who lives his life immersed in violence. She’s soft and understanding when he needs her to be and tough enough to walk beside him and fight her own battles. Most of these characters have been with Deacon since the beginning, they’ve endeared themselves to the readers and become ingrained in this series, but like I said at the beginning, no character is safe. There is loss in Blood and Magick. A sad, profound loss that I think will end up haunting Deacon for some time to come.
When the story opens Deacon, Tiff, Kat and Larson are all dressed up and eating at a fancy restaurant. What starts as a nice night out ends up with a trio of witches crashing through the wall intent on stealing the blood of the were children Deacon has sworn to protect. The three sons born to Sophia in the previous book are the key to a ritual needed to open a rift between worlds and the witches will do anything to acquire them. This is a fight Deacon is willing to take on, but a few of the friends he usually relies on are now suspect and he has an all new ally in the form of a mysterious government agency to contend with.
“That right there, Deacon. That’s your problem. You think you know what’s right and wrong. Worse, you think you get to decide what’s right and what’s wrong. You stand there so convinced that there’s only your way or the highway. You self-righteous asshole, life is complicated. You should grow up and realize that.
As always there is a battle between good and evil, Deacon and his allies against the monsters, but there is also an internal struggle between this group of friends. Does doing bad things with good intentions make them right? Will spells and magick corrupt even the best people? Faith and religious belief also play a larger role. Deacon and his friend Father Mulcahy are willing to get their hands bloody in order to protect the kids, but ultimately in the larger battle with these satanic creatures its faith that saves the day. Deacon’s memories of his family are brought to the surface during this conflict and by the conclusion he must make painful decisions. Friendships are tested, past enemies turn into unwilling allies, new characters are introduced and the story arc is moved along at high-speed. There was so much going on that by the last chapter I was kind of shocked at how much had changed in only 310 pages. But I can’t wait to see where James R Tuck takes this series next.
Blood and Magick is a violent, dark, twisted thrill ride. Action packed from the first page to the last. A definite must read for fans of a darker urban fantasy. Final Grade: B+
“You are crazy.”
I waved my hand. “Not me. Just busy. Got shit to do.” Like track down some witches. “So suture me up and get me moving.”
“You sure you don’t want to do it yourself? I can give you the stuff?”
“Don’t be a smartass. Nobody likes a smartass.”