A Review of Two Vampire Novels by David Wellington
13 Bullets. Three Rivers Press, 2007
Special Deputy Jameson Arkeley of the US Marshall service has the permanent assignment of tracking down vampires. In a time when most humans believe vampires to be extinct Arkeley knows the truth. Twenty years earlier he had led a SWAT team against Piter Byron Lares the creature responsible for a string of vicious murders. In a graphic and bloody confrontation Lares uses his superhuman strength to destroy everyone on the team. Only Arkeley managed to escape. Eventually he destroys Lares completely eradicating this ruthless species except, that is, for their imprisoned leader Justinia Malvern.
Fast forward twenty years and Arkeley is once again on the trail of the undead. Somehow Malvern has been able, from her prison, to create vampire followers. To help his deadly search Arkeley enlists the aid of Pennsylvania State Trooper Laura Caxton. She wants no part of this assignment, but her superiors give her no choice. It proves to be worse than she ever imagined. Wellington’s vampires have no redeeming virtues. Their countenance is horrifying, with rows of sharp teeth, and huge bat like ears. They show no mercy and take great delight in tearing their victims apart.
99 Coffins Three Rivers Press, 2007.
In the sequel to 13 Bullets, we find Arkeley a shell of his former self. He never fully recovered from his hideous wounds of the last battle. Arkaley's life has been taken over by nightmares of vampires. He keeps Justinia Malvern's coffin in his lonely hotel room. He trusts no one else to guard her. The government says she has the right to live, but Arkeley makes sure that she has barely enough energy to survive a blighted existence.
Arkeley summons former partner Laura Caxton. He has heard about an excavation in Gettysberg where ninety-nine coffins crowd an underground room each containing a skeleton with no evidence of a heart. Reluctantly Caxton agrees to investigate. She discovers in one darkened corner a splintered coffin with no evidence of a body. A vampire from more than a century ago has risen as she finds later in one horrifying night.
Interspered within the novel are entries from two diaries of soldiers who fought in the Civil War and whose knowledge helps make sense of what is happening in today's world. This action, adventure will keep the reader's attention from beginning to end. Lots of graphic violence occurs so it's not for the squeamish.