Title: That Thing at the Zoo
Author: James R. Tuck
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Series: Deacon Chalk: Occult Bounty Hunter
Publication Date: December 27, 2011
ISBN-10: B006X0UQH8 (Kensington Books)
ISBN-13: 9780758280633 (Kensington Books)
Reviewed by: Rachael
Shredding monsters is his stock and trade. He sniffs them out, tracks them down, and corners them. End of story. But when the tables are turned, expect the unexpected…
Knowing his enemy is a rule Deacon Chalk swears by. But he’s never seen anything like whatever is leaving the Atlanta Zoo’s most dangerous predators bloodless, skinned, and hanging high in treetops. And he’s only got till sunrise to keep it from turning the entire city into a slaughterhouse. Now Deacon is in zoo lockdown with a handful of staffers to save. His zookeeper backup has more guts than monster-hunting experience. And the only chance Deacon has to run this thing to unholy ground is to risk unleashing his darkest, most uncontrollable instincts…
Quick & Dirty: A short, descriptive introduction to the dark and gritty world of Deacon Chalk, monster hunter.
Opening Sentence: “Tell me what it is I’m looking at.”
I was really excited when I received That Thing at the Zoo to read for review. It looked like an interesting new series with a lot of promising potential. I am a huge horror fan and this appealed to me on so many levels. Let me just say that I was not disappointed.
That Thing at the Zoo is a prequel to James Tuck’s upcoming debut dark urban fantasy, Blood and Bullets. In this novella we get an introduction to the main character, a badass, gun toting monster hunter, Deacon Chalk. Deacon’s world was turned upside down when he learned that monsters really existed, they killed his family, and now he hunts them down and kills them. He is called to the Atlanta Zoo after several animals are slaughtered. He hunts down the culprit with the help of a redneck, mullet wearing zookeeper and his truly unique team that consists of a manager of a strip club and a priest.
James R. Tuck really delivered with this e-novella. His descriptions really draw you in; make you feel like you are there right along side Deacon. The monsters are scary, the way that they are supposed to be in horror, the language is raw and gritty and the characters are tough. Deacon is a no nonsense character who wants to protect people from the monsters that tore his life apart and he is prepared to do whatever is necessary to accomplish that. He still has hard times where the pain from his memories threatens to overwhelm him but he knows that in order to do right by his family that he needs to move forward and do what he can to make sure that others don’t have to live his misery.
I am proudly from the south, most authors make a mess of writing about the south but Tuck did it without seeming condescending or without the usual mockery. Sure we have rednecks like Jimmy, the zookeeper, but that’s not all we have. I really believed in Deacon’s character, the bald headed, gun toting, tatted up tough guy, monster hunter that really has a good heart. Probably because I know a few people who match that description, well minus the monster hunting.
I was really drawn into this world that Tuck created and I cannot wait to dive into Blood and Bullets and continue to learn more about Deacon and his world.
“Why is the lion display closed?” The voice was deep and fluid, sounding like it came from behind a closed door. It was the voice of a man who would tell you anything you wanted to hear to get his way. A snake oil shuckster, a used-car salesman, a tent revival evangelist with a methamphetamine addiction. The man who came around me to stand by Dr. Critter’s desk was not a disappointment to my expectations.
He was portly. A short, rotund man whose belt split him in the middle. The seersucker material of his suit bunched at the bends, dividing him into rounded sections of arm and leg like sausages. His shirt collar was damp from sweat despite the hardworking air conditioning. Overall, he had the rumpled appearance of a note someone had wadded up, thrown away, then dug from the trash to smooth out and read again.
The Deacon Chalk Occult Bounty Hunter Series:
2. Blood and Bullets (February 7, 2012)
3. Blood and Silver (August 7, 2012)
FTC Advisory: Kensington Publishing provided me with a copy of That Thing at the Zoo. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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