Posted on February 28, 2008 by Matt-M-McElroy
A Vampire Tale by David Wellington
After having read Monster Island, I was pleased to hear that Wellington was writing a vampire story. 13 Bullets is a modern action adventure with deadly vampires, great writing and a few clever plot twists.
The main character of the tale, Laura Caxton, is a state trooper used to pulling folks over for speeding or drunk driving. She has dealt with a few tough cases before, such as the occasional fatal accident, which she handled with professionalism. Vampires, however, were something she just was not initially prepared for. In the world of 13 Bullets vampires are a “known quantity” to the general populace, but most people have never seen one, much less had to fight one.
This is where the other main character of 13 Bullets enters the story. Jameson Arkeley is part of the U.S. Marshals and has killed more than a few vampires over the years. By the time this tale gets rolling Arkeley is getting on in years and his hunting days have begun to take their toll on his aged body. He is still plenty tough and more than once manages to save Caxton from a brutal death.
The vampires in 13 Bullets are as inhuman as they get. Usually sometime after they’ve been turned they begin to lose all of their hair and mutate into their new, monstrous forms. They are incredibly strong, difficult to damage and often have an array of other powers at their disposal. They can create servants, humans infected by the vampire’s essence that slowly rot away as their bodies cannot survive for long. This makes these servants insane and with little regard for their safety. They are nowhere near as powerful as their vampire masters, but dangerous in a fight.
Throughout the 13 Bullets storyline there is an ongoing conspiracy that Caxton and Arkeley are trying to unravel, but they find this difficult due to the pressing needs of deadly vampires to hunt (these vampires don’t just drink a little bit and move on, they leave piles of bodies behind) every day. The action continues to build throughout the book, with a few surprises along the way. Wellington’s writing style keeps the reader hooked from chapter to chapter. 13 Bullets is a brutal story with plenty of gore and a decent body count.
I’m not going to spoil the ending, but I will say it left me wanting for more. The last few chapters seemed a little rushed, but the story comes together in the final pages. This story would make a pretty incredible action-horror movie with the right cast-n-crew.
I was glad to get my hands on the next book in the series, 99 Coffins, which not only continues the adventures of Caxton and Arkely, but also takes the reader back in time for a historical look at the vampires in this setting.