Reading level: Adult
Genre: Urban fantasy
E-book: 79 pages
Release date: June 26, 2012
Series: Deacon Chalk #1.5
Source: Review copy from author
Reviewed by: Jenn
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…
Deacon Chalk is a great character and I was excited when I got a review copy of SPIDER'S LULLABY from James R. Tuck. I totally loved the first Deacon e-novella and I was especially excited for SPIDER'S LULLABY because it involves two characters I found interesting in BLOOD AND BULLETS, the first full-length novel in the series: Charlotte and Tiff. For those of you who aren't familiar with the series, Deacon Chalk is an occult bounty hunter with special powers given to him by an angel he saved. Charlotte is a werespider he met in BLOOD AND BULLETS and Tiff is one of the girls he saved and who now works in his club. Deacon is also very attracted to Tiff, and vice versa, though they haven't hopped in bed. Yet. I figured Charlotte would be involved from the cover copy but the addition of Tiff was a pleasant surprise. She's a neat character and one I hope we see more of in BLOOD AND SILVER, the second novel in the series.
In SPIDER'S LULLABY, Deacon, Charlotte, and Tiff return to Charlotte's home to find that her kin have been murdered and her egg sac taken. Time is of the essence since her children will go on a murder spree if she's not there for them to imprint on, which gives SPIDER'S LULLABY a fast pace right from the start. Deacon and the girls quickly set out to find Charlotte's un-hatched children before it's too late and to save their friend Ronnie, who was egg-sitting while Charlotte went out with Deacon and Tiff.
There are some great moments in this novella. I particularly liked seeing Charlotte when she wasn't being forced the be evil and Tiff has a couple great lines. The action sequences are well written and very engaging; they'll definitely have you on the edge of your seat. I also really liked learning more about werespiders and their societal practices. I love it when authors can add new facts about their world in something as short as a novella. I think that takes real talent with the word-count limitations and so it's always a treat when a novella adds extra story and expands the series mythology.
Despite a great set-up, I found SPIDER'S LULLABY a little unsatisfactory. I suspect it was because the formatting came out wonky on my e-reader, which made it hard to get into the story, which was quite interesting even though the bad guy's motivations aren't terribly deep. I really liked the Kensai as a villain -- he was formidable, evil, and fierce -- and I wish he'd been in a longer story so we could see more of him. He may not have had a particularly layered reason for wanting Charlotte's children but it seems like he would have a cool backstory, one that I would have liked to explore a bit more. Overall, however, SPIDER'S LULLABY is a nice entry into the Deacon Chalk canon and it's gotten me quite excited to read BLOOD AND SILVER. Thank goodness I have that queued up next!