Friday, 11 November 2011

13 Bullets

Parajunkee's View Vampire Reading Challenge Review #16 - 13 Bullets by David Wellington

I'm continuing with the Vampire Challenge despite the fact I can no longer find it on Parajunkee's site since it moved...

13 Bullets: A Vampire Tale was a chilling read, although if I am entirely honest I didn't find any of the characters especially likeable or easy to empathise with. Wellington's vampires are brutal and bloodthirsty, but his protagonists are little better.

Source: Google
Our heroine is State Trooper Laura Caxton, who finds herself a pawn in a grudge match between a coven of predatory bloodsuckers and an equally-soulless federal agent named Arkeley. Now, I don't expect all my heroines to read like Laurell K. Hamilton's feisty warrior-women, but Caxton seemed to spend most of her own story getting pushed around by either Arkeley, the vampires, or her girlfriend. I also felt that her lesbianism was mainly to add a little sex appeal via some girl-on-girl action, which didn't impress me.

Arkeley himself is a bit of an anti-hero - he might know what he's doing with regards to the enemy, but his unpleasant demeanour and willingness to use everyone around him in his power play against  the head vamp make him a practically unlikeable character despite the few admirable attributes he does possess.

However. Wimps and wack-jobs aside, Wellington's thoroughly modern take on classic vampires is overall a hit, with some genuinely blood-curdling moments, a realistic amount of gore, and enough fast-paced action and thrilling plot twists to keep the reader hooked. The story reads as though it was written for the screen, in the finest tradition of gory vampire horrors like 30 Days of Night.

There is some humour, often very dry or a little grim, but humour nonetheless. The ending is unexpected and leaves room for a sequel without being an overly-obvious cliffhanger.

This is a gritty, no-holds-barred approach to modern vampires, and whether or not you find Caxton a likeable character it's hard not to emphasise with her as she is dragged unwillingly into a nightmare orchestrated by an ancient vampire, alive yet rotting in an old insanitorium. Caxton's flaws, probably deliberately, make her more 'real' than many urban fantasy and horror heroines of today.


Spooky Vegan said...

I love David Wellington books and have thoroughly enjoyed his Monster Island zombie trilogy as well as his vampire books. His werewolf tales are also very wry and well-written.

I remember when he first serialized them online and I would spend hours at work reading his tales!

As a horror fiend, I can't recommend his novels enough and I am thrilled you got to read one!

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