(Deacon Chalk: Occult Bounty Hunter #1.5)
by James R. Tuck

PUBLISHER: Kensington
RELEASE DATE: 26th June 2012
FORMAT: Ebook, 79 pages
GENRE: Urban Fantasy

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 (Goodreads).


If you want a little taste of what the Deacon Chalk series is all about, it’s definitely worth giving SPIDER’S LULLABY a try. It’s a novella that takes place between Blood and Bullets and Blood and Silver, but to be honest I think you could easily pick it up as a stand-alone. There are a few references, but nothing that would spoil things for you.

The story evolves around one of my reluctant favourite characters. I say reluctant, because as a terrible arachnophobe, I still find it hard to believe I’m reading a book about a were-spider (I’m even glad I had it as an ebook, as I even find it hard to look at the cover!). Yes, that’s right a spider as big as a human, even the idea makes me feel a bit nauseous. Given the rather tongue-in-cheek name of Charlotte, you’ve got to love Tuck’s sense of humour. But dare I say it, Charlotte is rather cool, in an understated chic kind of way. Eight gross legs and all.

The plot theme is familiar to what we’ve seen in all the books to date. Bad guys do something very bad, often affecting someone Deacon cares for, roll on lots of blood and violence, and lots and lots of guns. And of course, the bad guys deservedly get what’s coming to them. But it’s far from a tired format. It’s slick, it’s dark and occasionally a touch of subtle, black humour.

When Charlotte’s egg sac of spider babies *shudder* are kidnapped, along with a dancer from Deacon’s club, you know without a doubt he won’t stop until he gets them back. Of course being were-spider babies you don’t want them hatching without mummy present or things could get decidedly hmmm carnivorous, yes I think that deserves another *shudder*.

There is something almost comic book-esque in Tuck’s writing style. The action is quite cinematic, pulling you right in and depicted in such a way you have a very vivid picture of what’s happening and in particular what a certain character looks like.

This novella is almost non-stop action, barely giving you time to come up for breath. Deacon is a bad-ass with a tender side. He fights because he cares, almost too much. Which makes him not only a great character, but one you want to get to know, to peel beneath the layers.

Tiff makes a big appearance in this book. Emerging from the naive girl she was in Blood and Bullets, to become a fighter at Deacon’s side. The love story between them slowly being hinted at. I just don’t know if I quite get her though, there is something that makes it hard for me to connect with her. And I have to admit, I find it irritating that Deacon refers to her as ‘little girl’ albeit as an affectionate term of endearment.


A great read for urban fantasy fans, Deacon is fast finding his place amongst other monster fighting heroes. Buckle up for the ride because it’s going to get bloody! And yikes there are spiders, hundreds of them in fact. I need to read a romance now so I don’t have nightmares ;-).


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0.5 That Thing At The Zoo
1. Blood and Bullets
1.5 Spider’s Lullaby
2. Blood and Silver



A self-confessed bookworm who's favourite genres are urban fantasy, horror and a good love story with a sexy supernatural beastie. Also has a bit of a handbag fetish… actually, let's not mention the handbags; they seem to be breeding!


Becs August 28, 2012 at 11:40 pm

Not sure I could pick up a book with such a big spider on the cover eek! If i could get over my fear factor it sounds a fun read. Great Review x


Laura August 30, 2012 at 8:20 pm

The spiders are mega scary in this! I’m not sure I would describe it as a fun read, it’s pretty violent! But the series is definitely improving with each installment. And thanks on the review :)


Carolyn August 29, 2012 at 4:46 pm

It sounds as though you’re really enjoying this series. I like that it sounds gritty urban fantasy, but I take my hat off to you for reading about spiders!!! *shudders*


Laura August 30, 2012 at 8:21 pm

It’s good urban fantasy, it has it’s problems, but it is getting better. The writing is definitely getting better. The spiders though … Yikes!!!


Gemma August 30, 2012 at 9:51 am

The spider thing really doesn’t bother me at all. In fact, it sounds pretty cool that its about were-spiders.

This series sounds really interesting, and I keep meaning to pick it up after your reviews of the other books. Maybe one day…..

Great review


Laura August 30, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Thanks Gemma :)
Do you like spiders? You are a braver lady than me! I think you’d like this series.


Gemma August 30, 2012 at 11:29 pm

Don’t like them per say, just don’t have a fear of them. Now heights are a whole different ball game


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