Saturday, June 30, 2012

ARC Review: Spider's Lullaby by James R. Tuck

Spider's Lullaby: A Deacon Chalk E-Novella
Author: James R. Tuck
Publication: Kensington Books (June 26, 2012)

Description: He lives to kill monsters. He keeps his city safe. And his silver hollow-points and back-from-the-dead abilities take out any kind of unnatural threat. But between this bad-ass bounty hunter and rescuing the most helpless of victims stands the one evil he can’t defeat…

For Deacon Chalk, loyalty is worth dying for. And now that something has taken were-spider Charlotte’s un-hatched children and one of his closest friends, he’ll tear up the human and supernatural underworlds to find them. But with his allies stripped away by an invincible Yakuza hit man and time running out, Deacon must face down the most ancient of demonic entities. And his last hope means surrendering to the inner darkness waiting hungrily to consume him …

My Thoughts: James R. Tuck sent me this e-novella in his Deacon Chalk series. It gives a good taste of what the full-length novels are like. The story is pretty straightforward. Deacon, Charlotte and Tiff are out for a night on the town. When they return to Charlotte's it is to discover that someone has broken in, killed all of the other people who lived in the house, stolen Charlotte's egg sack, and kidnapped the egg sack's baby sitter. Did I mention that Charlotte was a were-spider with flesh melting venom? The babysitter is a human friend of Deacon's.

The immediate need is to get the egg sack back before the spiders hatch which will turn them into killing and eating machines unless Charlotte is there to imprint them. They need to find the egg sack before dawn. Deacon consults with a colleague who happens to be a dragon and an assassin and is pointed the way to the person who could have done this.

The three make their way to an abandoned warehouse that has been taken over by an oriental gang. They have found the killer, rescued Deacon's friend Ronnie, and have to defeat the killer before the eggs hatch. Piece of cake for Deacon Chalk, occult bounty hunter, and his two girl sidekicks!

This story was filled with action. I am especially fond of Tuck's ability to describe the various situations so clearly that I feel like I am a part of the action. Deacon tells the story in the first person giving a good look at this somewhat fatalistic, tough guy who has taken on the role of monster killer and protector of the human race. He's the kind of guy who would give anyone pause; he's 6'4", 300 pounds, covered with tattoos, has a goatee he hasn't cut in years and, in his own estimation, looks "like a really bad dude." 

This short novella (79 pages) would make a great introduction the Deacon Chalk and his world. I recommend it.

Favorite Quote:
It was bad enough I had a gun-toting, sword-wielding, professional assassin to deal with; turns out he's a freakin' sorcerer too.
I received this eARC from the author in exchange for an honest review. You can buy a copy here.

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