Blood and Bullets (Deacon Chalk: Occult Bounty Hunter Series #1)

Blood and Bullets (Deacon Chalk: Occult Bounty Hunter Series #1)

by James R. Tuck

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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. . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780758271471
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 02/01/2012
Series: Deacon Chalk: Occult Bounty Hunter Series , #1
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

James Tuck is a professional tattoo artist whose work has appeared in numerous publications. He currently lives with his wife, children, and several dogs in Georgia, where he owns and operates a tattoo parlor. His thoughts on writing, and updates about Deacon Chalk’s next adventure, can be found at

Read an Excerpt


By James R. Tuck


Copyright © 2012 James R. Tuck
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-7582-7147-1

Chapter One

Some nights are destined to go to hell. Not literally, at least not usually. From the start of them, you know they are going to turn on you like a rabid dog. I was having one of those nights.

Which is why I found myself with a semiautomatic pistol aimed at a vampire who wore my daughter's face. My eyes were fixed on the laser dot that screamed red against her forehead, but my mind was racing back through memories of my little girl. The pain was a surgical strike. It was inside before I could close my guard. So quick and clean that I didn't feel it until scalpel hit bone.

Memories of her, along with my wife and son, are acid-etched in my mind. It has been five years since they were killed, stolen from my life by a monster. Their deaths had started me on the road I am on now: hunting monsters for money until the day I run up on one that is nasty enough to take me out so I can go be with them. Their deaths burn in the wound where my heart once was—ugly, venomous, and cruel.

I keep all of that locked tight just so I can function and move through each day. Now this vampire girl looked like my daughter and all the pain was rushing back through my mind like a flood of boiling water.

Some small movement on her part clicked me back to the present. I studied her through narrow eyes. She had the same thick blond hair, although the vampire's hadn't seen the business end of a brush in a long time. The same wide, blue–gray eyes and dash of freckles scattered across her nose. Different lips, although this vampire's lips still looked made for laughing, not drinking blood.

She was similar to my daughter, but not the same. Cut from the same cloth, she would look like a part of the family. A niece, a cousin maybe, but she was not my daughter's twin. I blinked and stared to make sure. The resemblance had triggered those deep buried memories, but that was all it was. Fucking memories. The breath I had been holding pushed out of my lungs and I began willing my heart to slow its turbo-charged pounding. Sweat bathed my palm, making my skin oily and slick against the grip of my gun. I had no way to measure how long I had been lost in my own trauma. A moment. Maybe two.

It happens. I'll be fine for a while and then suddenly, from nowhere, a random thing will smash my world askew and I'll be back to the pain of losing them. I get a bit jumpy when that happens and do things like pull out my gun. Stepping back, I kept it pointed at the vampire. Her wide eyes were focused on the barrel.

They should have been, it's an impressive gun. Desert Eagle .357 Magnum. It has black finish and ten heavy-grain, silver-jacketed bullets, if you are willing to keep one in the chamber.

I always have one in the chamber.

Damn thing weighs almost five pounds fully loaded. However, it will put a softball-size hole in even the toughest vampire, or any other bogeyman I run into in my line of work. Vampires are monsters, even if their packaging looks like an innocent fifteen-year-old girl. You don't play games with them. You kill them or you leave them the hell alone. The red laser dot stayed on her forehead as I took another step back, increasing the distance between us. I was back on the job.

I had just come out of Polecats, the strip club I own and work from, to find this vampire leaning against my car. I don't like humans leaning on my car, but a vampire? Oh, hell no. She is a fully restored 1966 Mercury Comet and she deserves better than that. This vampire had called out my name.

Oh yeah, I'm Deacon Chalk, occult bounty hunter, sometimes vampire slayer.

This should be interesting.

"Stay right there and tell me what you want."

She did not move except to tilt her head sideways, regarding me like a snake does a wounded bird on the ground. "I want you to protect me from the Nyteblade." Thin arms held out the flat package in her hands. It was a manila envelope. "I have information here to help you find him." She looked earnestly at me in the sodium light. Small white teeth bit her bottom lip and she had the good grace to keep her fangs sheathed. The effect was scared little girl and it pulled at that non-logic place inside me again. "There is money in here. I know you get paid to protect people from monsters. I want to hire you."



The vampire wanted to hire me?

I have had vampires try to kill me, and I have had them run from me, but I have never, ever had one try to hire me. It went against my one and only rule.

"I don't work for monsters. I kill them."

That thick mess of hair hung low around her face in what looked like shame. Her voice was quiet. "You know I am a vampire? How?"

"It's my job to know." And that was true. Most normal people would think she was strange since she was barefoot and barearmed in a summer dress when it was deep Georgia fall. It wasn't cold enough to think too much about it, but it was a pretty cool night. Jacket weather. So her wearing just a sundress was weird, but not a reason to be alarmed.

I knew what she was because she was just off. Moving either just a bit too fast to be human or stopping a bit too still like only the undead can. The thing that unmistakably marked her as a vampire was the smell. Vampires smell like big snakes, all venom and shed skin. I don't know why, but they do. And a little like roasted almonds.

Heat began to build in the muscles of my neck and shoulders. Widening my stance, I shifted the angle I held the gun at. You can't hold any gun, much less mine, for very long in one position. You have to keep moving around or your muscles fatigue pretty quickly. The problem with moving around is it's not conducive to shooting your target. A target like the vampire standing in front of you.

"So, exactly what is a 'Nyteblade'?"

She swayed in the sullen, sodium lighting of the parking lot. Back and forth, back and forth, over and over, just slightly back and forth. The manila envelope slipped completely from thin fingers, spinning to fall at her bare feet. Narrow shoulders hunched, drawing her chin down to her chest like an owl, and she wrapped both slender arms around herself. A fine tremble raised tendons to stand in stark relief against her skin like steel cables.

This vampire chick was really freaking me out. I know vampires, and they don't act like this. They are usually either an oil-slick smooth, diabolical predator or a bloodthirsty, slaughterous, vicious predator. What they did not act like were scared, little-girl, meth addicts. My whistle made her skin jump. She didn't look at me, but it got her attention.

"Again, what is a Nyteblade?"

The voice that answered was a strangled whisper from inside the tangled veil of her hair. "He is a monster. A hunter of vampires." Her weak mewl faltered, the words coming in halts and stops. "He is an agent of destruction." Her body was now shaking so bad it caused her teeth to rattle. My grip was tight on the Desert Eagle. Whistling again, I tried to derail her breakdown. "Please help me," she squeezed out. "I have to convince you." Her hands wrung together, bones clickety-clacking against each other. Hair along my arms began to stand on end.

A tiny move of my finger pulled the Desert Eagle's trigger to the break; another twitch would plant a bullet in her skull.

Nappy blond hair whipped as her head turned in my direction again. It was a jerky, too-fast-to-be-human movement. Those big eyes of hers were glazed over, chin waggling as her mouth hung open. She looked like someone who was listening to music no one else could hear. I felt the air snap as her attention came back to me. It made the skin on the back of my scalp tighten. In a breath of a moment, I watched black pupils dilate to cover the entire iris. Blood pooled from the corners of her eyes, turning the whites crimson. Muscles in her cheeks and neck knotted, distending her jaw and making fangs slide out of her gums wetly. She was still like that for the length of a thought. Then she moved. With a flash of yellow dress and chalk-white limbs, she leaped in the air toward me.

My finger squeezed the trigger that last fraction of an inch and a silver bullet spat across her hip while she was in midair. Black gore burst out and hung in space for a moment before splattering like rain on the asphalt. The impact canted her sideways in mid-leap, so instead of hitting me with fangs and claws, she windmilled past, slamming into the pavement. Bones rattled against the asphalt with a staccato beat.

Tracking the laser to the center of her chest, I squeezed the trigger twice. The recoil jolted up my arm and her chest exploded, more gore blossoming in inky wet flowers. It took the fight right out of her.

First rule of killing vampires: Take the heart and take the head. If you do that, then they are dead. My bullets are modified silver hollowpoints, wax sealed with silver nitrate in the tips. Most things otherworldly have weakness to silver. They are manufactured by Orion Outfitters, a company that provides items specifically for what people like me do. Looking down, I could see inside the gaping hole in her chest. The edges running black as the silver poisoning took effect. Heart taken care of?


My left hand pulled the phone off of my belt and flipped it open. If she was a recently turned vampire, then she was someone's missing daughter and maybe on a child watch list. If not, then maybe she would be in the database of bloodsuckers and I could find information about her. Maybe even why she tried to hire me and then freaked out and attacked me. The phone was silent as it snapped a picture of her face. Gore from the chest wound covered her collarbones and throat like a turtleneck, but left her face clean, calm, and smooth. The trauma of the bullet wounds had put her in a near-catatonic state. If I left her and she could find cover from the sun in the morning, she would be able to heal even this much damage. Vampires are like that. Because they are dead, they are really, really hard to kill. It took almost no movement to bring the red dot to the bridge of her nose.

Those big blue–gray eyes fluttered closed one last time just before I pulled the trigger.

I stamped my boots to shake dust off them. That is one good thing about bloodsuckers, they don't leave much behind to clean up. This one was fairly young, so she crumbled into dust instead of exploding into dust, but she was still just a pile of dust and a thin yellow sundress full of holes. Even her blood and viscera turned to dust when she did. I still had a nag in my conscience because she was so young when she was turned. I knew she was a vampire. A monster. Hell, she had attacked me, but that non-logic place in me still twinged at killing a young girl. Scooping up the manila envelope and shaking it off, I opened the car door and got in the Comet.

Opening it, I found a file folder with what looked to be a series of hand-scrawled notes and grainy pictures. Approximately $20,000 in rubber-banded bundles of $100 bills fell out in my lap. I put the money in the glove compartment and tucked the folder into the seat beside me.

So she had actually been trying to hire me. Weird. Now I know about weird, but even for me this was a first. The engine of the Comet roared to life as I turned the key. In my world, nights that started strange usually crash-landed in the town of Fucked-Upville before they were said and done.

The stereo kicked in with the winsome sound of a dark guitar run. John Lee Hooker started singing about a long night full of danger. Dropping the Comet into Drive, chain-link steering wheel sliding coolly under my fingers, I moved out into the night to see if John Lee knew what the hell he was talking about.

Chapter Two

I hate stakeouts. Not stakeouts like vampire executions. Those suck too, but only because they're messy. I mean, seriously. During the day while they sleep, vampires turn into giant bags of blood. It turns into blood-a-palooza when you go to stake the undead sons of bitches. Seriously, I usually wear a raincoat.

No, I hate sitting on my ass waiting for the person I'm after to come out of where they are supposed to be. Some cheesy writer would call me a man of action and say that being idle went against my nature. Mom just said I had a short attention span. Either way, on a stakeout, you can't really read a book or knit or anything else because you have to keep watch. If you have a long wait, it leads to severe boredom. Besides, I don't get paid by the hour. The good thing about a stakeout is that you have plenty of time to think.

I was at the head of an industrial park that the folder said was a probable location for Nyteblade's base of operation. According to the sticky note inside the folder I had, Nyteblade would be in an alley between buildings D and E at 10 P.M. I had no idea who wrote the note or how they knew he would be there, but it was the only time written in the folder. So that was where I planned on meeting him. There were a few minutes to kill before I headed to the meeting place. That would still get me there early. I didn't want to be the last one to arrive. Sometimes that will get you killed. Looking around the industrial park, I was sure the alley would be just lovely.

This was not the best part of town. The buildings of the industrial park were old. Red brick faded to a drab pink by time. Bushes that were once features of the landscaping had been allowed to run their course and now stood sentinel with branches overgrown, gnarled, and tangled. Jutting out haphazardly into the parking lot, they waited to grab you if you walked too close. More lights were out than on around the buildings, barely breaking up deep shadows in the corners with their baleful, jaundiced glare. Litter danced with dry leaves in the night breeze.

I watched a plastic sack from a liquor store swirl around a dead light pole for a few minutes until it fell victim to the out-of-control bushes. Glenn Kaiser and Darrell Mansfield pulled voices together to sing Blind Willie Johnson's "Nobody's Fault But Mine" softly on the Comet's radio and I thought about vampire slayers.

There are a lot of people who find out vampires or monsters are real and decide to fight them. Once you discover that the monster in your closet can and will eat your face off, the normal person has one of three reactions.

One, you live the rest of your life in fear of the dark. You never go out at night, you are never alone, and you go to church much, much more than you ever did before. You may have survived your encounter, but you never truly live again.

Two, you embrace it. There are people who try to assimilate themselves with monsters. A lot of Goth clubs are gathering places for vampire lovers. The lycanthropes get their stalkers too; people who want to be furry or feathered or scaly once a month. This reaction usually happens with the monsters who are predatory but do have the ability to blend in with humans to hunt. Vampires, lycanthropes, Nephilim, and Fey—those are the ones with the biggest fan clubs. I mean, you never find a fan club for a Chimera or a troll. Trolls get no play at all.

And it gets more complicated. Lycanthropes are people most of the time, and like people, they are good and bad; but being a lycanthrope doesn't make you evil. Vampires are always evil. I have never met one that wasn't a monster. Nephilim can be good; you would think they would be since they are half Angel, half human. Typically though, they are the most evil bastards in the world, but they can be good if they choose to. Fey can even be good. In fact, most of the problem with the Fey is that they're mischievous and they do not think like humans. They are like aliens, and even though they have been fascinated with humans for centuries, they just do not comprehend how we work. They also suffer a lack of understanding about how fragile humans can be.

Which brings me to choice three. You decide that you are going to mount up and fight the good fight against evil. This was what I did. People find out monsters exist and then decide that they will become monster hunters. The problem that they soon discover is that a normal human is no match for a monster. Quickly, they get themselves killed in their pursuit.


Excerpted from BLOOD AND BULLETS by James R. Tuck Copyright © 2012 by James R. Tuck. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON BOOKS. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Blood and Bullets 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 45 reviews.
MatNastos More than 1 year ago
"Blood and Bullets" was an interesting alternative to most urban fantasy I've read. It was full of action and testosterone, and light on characterization and plot. As a first novel, the writing and editing was a bit rough (the epub version I bought through B&N had a lot of problems), but the author shows a lot of potential. Over all, it was a fun, very quick read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Out of 14 reviews 7 are plot spoilers. Why do you plot spoiling posters feel the need to ruin a book for others? We do not care that you got the book for free. Stop revealing every detail and dissecting every plot point. We can read and would actually prefer to read a book for ourselves, not have you ppl ruin it for us. If you want to write dissertations and dissect every sentence, join a web site, start a blog, but please stop ruining books for the rest of us.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Deacon Chalk is a monster hunter. Ever since vampires killed his family, he has made it his mission to kill all monsters that hunt on the innocents. He keeps his city safe and his hollow-point and back-from-the-dead abilities help him take out any kind of supernatural threat.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book! I enjoyed every chapter of it and have already preordered Blood and Silver and I also have That This at The Zoo. I highly recommend this to anyone who is interested in Guns, Vampires, Hero's, and all that goes with it. One of the best books I have ever read. I canNOT wait for Blood and Silver in August!!!
gypjet More than 1 year ago
Loved it! I'm a Deacon Chalk fan! I liked the tough guy Deacon. He is strong, he has no soft edges because he's been hardened in the fire of tragedy. He is well armed, and he knows how to handle himself in danger. He's a likeable character because he is flawed and troubled which makes him more real and easy to relate to. I read to be involved in characters, so there has to be a character I can get involved with for the story to work for me. Deacon has a strong voice, which made it easy for me to get involved in his story. I adored the were-spiders. What a great new twist. Everything is about werewolves these days and it was refreshing to find a really unique, and creepy twist to an old idea! I personally hate spiders so I was determined to hate Charlotte (clever, having the spider named Charlotte leaves it open for many character jokes). She was appropriately creepy, scary and dangerous, but you end up liking her pluck anyway! Next, the action was awesome, and it kept coming! The monsters were monstrous, all vampires are evil, and we found out their origins! Nice twist to that by the way (trying to keep it spoiler free). Also, the villainess was truly evil while still being beautiful and sexy. I think that I love fantasy and sci-fi for that matter because they generally deal with the battle between good and evil. It's the oldest story, so I like it when the lines are clearly drawn. In this book, you definitely know who is the bad guy. Awesome story, quick read and fun!
antonio123 More than 1 year ago
Fantastic read I loved every word of it. Father Mulcahy has to be the best priest ever he is so badass. The story was great loved the take on how the vampires came to be. Were-Gorillias and Were-Spiders very interesting take on lycanthropy and how it isn't just wolves but the entire animal kingdom. There was nothing I didn't like about this book and I think I just might read it again. I am really looking forward to the next lycanthrope heavy book; after reading the first chapter to the second book I have no doubt that it will be just as good if not better, keep them coming, James!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book has some interesting ideas. However, I wouldn't trust this author with a newspaper advertisement, much less a book. He deals in bad stereotypes and has a writing style best described as abominable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Had a hard time gettimg started but once ot got rollimg i lved it and have already purchased the second in the series. I highly recomend this series. Funny gory and sweet and sad. Deacon is a man of his word and in his own way a man of god..
RuadhBruin More than 1 year ago
There are certain expectations when you pick up a book like this one, and James Tuck meets those in a wonderfully violent and truly appropriate manner. I am looking forward to reading many future adventures in the Deaconverse. Bring it Brotha.
raesv1 More than 1 year ago
Just finished Blood and Bullets, the first book in the Deacon Chalk series by James R. Tuck. This was just a down right kickass fun book. Deacon is a tough, tatooed, gun totin, muscle car driving badass, that's actually a really good guy. He's a bounty hunter that goes after the monsters. He ends up going after a vampire so scary that other vampires are terrified of her, but then that's Deacons job. After vampires kill his family he figures he has nothing to lose so he's going to get his revenge. This is not a cute little vampire romance, so be warned, there are lots of blood, gore, really big guns, and things blowing up. If you like the movies Expendables or Crank, then you'll love this book. It's an action fueled adrenaline rush from beginning to end. I can't wait for the next one in the series, Blood and Silver, because Deacon Chalk is my new hero.
kmartin802 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was urban fantasy at its gritty and violent best. Deacon Chalk spends a lot more time talking about weapons and killing the monsters than doing anything else. It all starts when he is lured to an ambush. He does manage to escape along with the human who tried to stake him thinking he was a vampire. This starts Deacon on a quest to find out which vampire targeted him. It would take a very powerful one to control the number of lesser vampires sent after him.Deacon works out of Polecats - a strip club - which he happens to own. It provides some of the financing for his battle. He is also supported in his hunt for monsters by his bartender Father Mulcahy, a priest from one of the militant orders, and various other employees of Polecats. He also brings in the guy who tried to stake him. Once self-titled Nyteblade, Larson becomes more than a reluctant source of information when his mother and sister are captured by the monsters. Larson is a total opposite to Deacon. He is small, slight, completely untrained. However, he does have knowledge about hunting vampires that does come in handy.Deacon was an interesting character but a little one-dimensional. If we were told once, we were told ten times that he was willing to die and, in fact, looked forward to it so that he could be with his dead wife and children. His whole life is killing the monsters until one of them finally kills him. This episode comes pretty close with its climactic battle of good versus evil.One thing I did like at the beginning was the homage to some other urban fantasy titles:There are few proclaimed vampire slayers and they range all kinds. Anita out in St. Louis, but she has a lot of stuff going on, not just vampire executions. Cat and Bones run their crew killing vampires and do a fine job of it. I hear whispers about the blue woman now and again, but it's hard to pull the fact from the fiction on that one.I don't recognize the Blue Woman. If anyone has read that one, I'd like author and title please.If you are looking for gritty urban fantasy with a male main character and are more interested in fighting than emotional depth, this one will satisfy. I think I'll be following along on his future adventures to see if he grows and changes.
STACYatUFI on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm so used to reading books where the main character is a woman it was a bit hard to get into a male main character at first. Deacons family was murdered by the monsters he now hunts and he has made it his life's work to hunt them down until he dies doing it. While reading I had to do a double take as James threw in some of my favorite vampire hunters into his book and it defiantly made me like Deacon a tad bit more. Deacon at one points throws in that he knows not only Anita Blake but also Cat and Bones, All characters I can't get enough of. There were quite a few times that I felt like stuff was repeated way to much. Sometimes saying something once is enough and Deacon didn't quite get that memo so I found myself kinda skimming through parts of the book. As other reviewers mentioned Deacon is a mans, man so you kinda have to be into heavy guns, lots of swearing and little emotions from the main character to really get into Deacon but there were some great parts in the book that i was glad to have read.BLOOD AND BULLETS was faced paced, full of action, and had some interesting characters. There were lots of monsters, and the world was easy to like. I'm not sure if I would read more books in this series but I will certainly take another look at it when the next book does come out.
MatNastos on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Blood and Bullets" was an interesting alternative to most urban fantasy I've read. It was full of action and testosterone, and light on characterization and plot. As a first novel, the writing and editing was a bit rough (the epub version I bought through B&N had a lot of problems), but the author shows a lot of potential. Over all, it was a fun, very quick read.
TheBooknerd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
While this book does have some good stuff going for it, I only got about 50 pages in before I decided to pass. The writing style just didn't work for me -- too much describing and explaining got in the way of potentially great scenes, had the writer simply shown and not told.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book has it all! Supes all around, kick-a** action and characters, suspense and awesome plot. One of the best things about it. . . No whiney, angsty romance to be seen! This is true Urban Fantasy! I love Deacon and his attitude! I have all the books of the series and hope there are many more to come. Thank you, Mr. Tuck, for feeding my addiction!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a solid read. I liked the Deacon Chalk character and really liked the supporting cast. Fast read about 230 pages with shades of early Anita Blake. I am definately going to pick up book 2 to see where this series goes.
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IYamVixenBooks More than 1 year ago
This would be such a superb movie! Can't go wrong with vampires, were-gorillas and were-spiders and a wicked ancient vampire in control and out for Deacon's blood. Excellent fight scenes abound through-out. Would love to meet Deacon and his team. James R Tuck describes each character well, not just dwelling on Deacon even as he is the main character. Deacon could come off as only a tortured soul bent on revenge on the deaths of his family by monsters. He's more than that, though the memories could be his undoing if he let it. I love his taste in music (hard drivin' blues) and his car, the Comet. Easy for me to get my crush on...... Can't wait to read BLOOD AND SILVER, next in the series. Let me get my Deacon on....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For men by a man..