CIRCUS OF BLOOD by James R. Tuck
James R. Tuck’s swaggering Southern occult bounty hunter Deacon Chalk makes a third novella appearance in Circus of Blood, and it’s filled with just as much bawdiness and brawling mayhem as the rest of the series.
The story starts off with a bang as Deacon checks in with a doctor/veterinarian friend of his who tends to werefolk. The doc’s newest patient is a young werewolf Deacon knew. Following up on the vampires that attacked her, Deacon uncovers a plot to turn all of the were-communities into a biological weapon aimed at the human race. In addition to some whup-ass revenge, Deacon’s also gotta save the world – more or less.
The action is raw and violent, and the cars come equipped with V-8 engines. Deacon Chalk is a man’s man in a dangerous business and he’s a hero that will alienate readers as much as he inspires them. I like Deacon. I’ve known a lot of guys like him in southern Oklahoma.
When the story swings to the Circus le Sangre (Circus of Blood, you know it had to go there), events peak in an all-or-nothing battle that is well-described and cinematic. Deacon is at his blood-letting best, and the creatures he is up against are horrifying versions of a freak show that will titillate the imagination.
Tuck is a good writer telling stories about things he enjoys a lot and that love of his craft and the tales are on every page. These stand-alone novellas are great for readers looking for something short enough to get through in a sitting, but action-packed enough to keep you turning pages.