Reviews and Recommendations by Mel Odom, Professional Writer


“That Thing At The Zoo” is a novella about occult bounty hunter Deacon Chalk. Chalk is a man that won’t be stopped, a warrior of Herculean proportions who has been forged in the fires of personal loss, a man that has nothing else to lose and lives for the enemies that fall within his grasp.

Yep, I liked it. As if you couldn’t tell from the above paragraph. Deacon Chalk hits me right in my redneck roots, from the indomitable toughness right down to the gun love. He’s a hero straight out of the pulps, a guy who is just what you see.

I saw the first book and marked it as something I might be interested in, but when the opportunity came along to check out this novella, I jumped on it and was swept away by the pulse-pounding, over-the-top adventure, and the non-stop action. Deacon Chalk is a man on the move, and any target he’s moving after is gonna be dead soon.

The author, James R. Tuck, obviously has a zest for swaggering, brooding heroes, big guns, big knives, and cutthroat action. His prose is elegant in its simplicity, deep in its emotional conviction, and pulls the reader along effortlessly. It’s hard to believe he’s just starting out. The work shows a lot of time spent working at his craft, but Tuck is also a tattoo artist, so he’s a man who’s used to working out the details ahead of time and knowing that you have to get it right on the first take. I’m betting that focus and dedication are a lot of what’s going to make him successful.

In addition to the story in this novella, which is chockfull of different mythologies and the author’s take on them, readers are treated to a lot of Deacon Chalk’s backstory and the characters that obviously play bigger parts in the first couple of books (the second of which is going to be out any day).

If you enjoyed the movie Blade with Wesley Snipes, you’re going to love Deacon Chalk. Step up and meet him in this sweet and salty little appetizer.

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