13 Bullets

( 47 )


All the official reports say they are dead-extinct since the late ’80s, when a fed named Arkeley nailed the last vampire in a fight that nearly killed him. But the evidence proves otherwise.

When a state trooper named Caxton calls the FBI looking for help in the middle of the night, it is Arkeley who gets the assignment-who else? He’s been expecting such a call to come eventually. Sure, it has been years since any signs of an attack, but Arkeley knows what most people don’t: ...

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13 Bullets

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All the official reports say they are dead-extinct since the late ’80s, when a fed named Arkeley nailed the last vampire in a fight that nearly killed him. But the evidence proves otherwise.

When a state trooper named Caxton calls the FBI looking for help in the middle of the night, it is Arkeley who gets the assignment-who else? He’s been expecting such a call to come eventually. Sure, it has been years since any signs of an attack, but Arkeley knows what most people don’t: there is one left. In an abandoned asylum she is rotting, plotting, and biding her time in a way that only the undead can.

Caxton is out of her league on this case and more than a little afraid, but the fed made it plain that there is only one way out. But the worst thing is the feeling that the vampires want more than just her blood. They want her for a reason, one she can’t guess; a reason her sphinxlike partner knows but won’t say; a reason she has to find out-or die trying.

Now there are only 13 bullets between Caxton and Arkeley and the vampires. There are only 13 bullets between us, the living, and them, the damned.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“In 13 BULLETS, David Wellington focuses his ample powers of imagination on modernizing the vampire legend. The result is a charming, funny, bloody, and best of all, thrilling adventure. FBI vampire hunters Caxton and Arkeley make an electric duo. Thwarting them at every turn from within the walls of a maximum security prison, ringleader Malvern is a diabolical cross between Hannibal Lecter and one of Anne Rice's ancients.”

—Sarah Langan, author of THE KEEPER

“Lace collars and kerchiefs are nowhere to be found in this breakneck, blood-spattered, totally original vampire novel.  Breathless, exciting and totally kick ass.”

-- B. H. Fingerman, author of Bottomfeeder

Publishers Weekly

Minimally plotted and driven by nonstop action, this gory vampire tale is of a piece with Wellington's zombie novels (Monster Island; Monster Nation). Special deputy Jameson Arkeley stopped a vampire rampage 20 years earlier, during which he whittled down all known bloodsuckers to a single survivor, Justinia Malvern. Kept alive at a sanitarium in rural Pennsylvania by minimal life support and bizarre laws preventing her extermination, wispy Justinia seems a threat to no one—until a series of vampire killings in the area suggest that she has found a secret way to spread her taint. Convinced that Justinia's minions plan to spring her and revive her to full power, Arkeley commandeers state trooper Laura Caxton to help him find their lair and wipe them out before they can get their vampire queen the blood she needs. A surprisingly anticlimactic finale leaves loose ends that will likely be tied up in subsequent volumes of a projected trilogy. (May)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

In a time when most humans believe vampires to be extinct, Special Deputy Jameson Arkeley of the U.S. Marshall Service knows otherwise. Twenty years earlier, he led a SWAT team in a gory confrontation with Lares, a vampire responsible for a string of vicious murders. Lares had used his superhuman strength to murder everyone on the team but Arkeley, who managed to escape. Arkeley eventually destroyed Lares and finished off this ruthless species, with one exception: the imprisoned leader Malvern. Fast-forward 20 years, and Malvern, despite his confinement, has mysteriously found a way to create new vampires, setting Arkeley once again on the trail of the undead. To help his search, Arkeley demands the aid of Pennsylvania State Trooper Laura Caxton. In this first installment in a trilogy (following the "Monster Island" trilogy), Wellington's vampires have no redeeming virtues: they show no mercy and take great delight in tearing apart their victims. There is plenty of gripping, fast-paced action and enough carnage here to delight the hearts of horror buffs (or turn some readers away). Recommended for libraries with horror collections.
—Patricia Altner

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307381439
  • Publisher: Crown/Archetype
  • Publication date: 5/22/2007
  • Series: Laura Caxton Series, #1
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 388,510
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.01 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author

David Wellington is the author of the Monster Island trilogy. He lives in New York City with his wife, Elisabeth. He maintains his popular website at www.davidwellington.net.
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Read an Excerpt


Incident report filed by

Special Deputy Jameson Arkeley, 10/4/83

(recorded on reel-to-reel audiotape):

Through the rain there wasn't much to see. The all-night diner stood at the corner of two major streets. Its plate glass windows spilled a little light on the pavement. I handed the binoculars to Webster, my partner. "Do you see him?" I asked.

The subject in question, one Piter Byron Lares (probably an alias), sat at the diner's counter, hunched over in deep conversation with a middle-aged waitress. He would be a big man if he stood up, but leaning over like that, he didn't look so imposing. His face was very pale, and his black hair stood up in a wild shock of frizzy curls. An enormous red sweater hung off him--another attempt at camouflaging his size, I figured. He wore thick eyeglasses with tortoiseshell rims.

"I don't know what they teach you at Fed school, Arkeley, but I've never heard of one of them needing glasses," Webster said, handing me back the binoculars.

"Shut up." The week before I had found six dead girls in a cellar in Liverpool, West Virginia. They'd been having a slumber party. They were in so many pieces it took three lab technicians working night and day in a borrowed school gymnasium just to figure out how many bodies we had. I was not in a good mood. I had beaten one of the asshole's minions to dust with my bare hands just to find out his alias. I wasn't going to slow down now.

Lares stood up, his head still bowed, and took a leather wallet out of his pocket. He began to count out small bills. Then he seemed to think of something. He looked up, around the diner. He rose to his full height and looked out at the street.

"Did he just make us?" Webster demanded. "In this weather?"

"I'm not sure," I said. About a gallon of bright red blood erupted across the diner's front window. I couldn't see anything inside.

"Shit!" I screamed, and pushed my way out of the car, across the sidewalk, the rain soaking me instantly. I burst inside the diner, my star bright on my jacket, but he was already gone and there was nobody left alive inside to be impressed. The waitress lay on the floor, her head nearly torn off her body. You read about them and you expect vampire wounds to be dainty little things, maybe a pair of bad hickeys. Lares had chewed most of the woman's neck off. Her jugular vein stuck out like the neck of a deflated balloon.

Blood spilled off the counter and splattered the ceiling. I unholstered my service revolver and stepped around the body. There was a door in the back. I had to stop myself from racing to it. If he was in the back and I ran into him in the shadows by the men's room I wouldn't survive my curiosity. I headed back out into the rain where Webster already had the car running. He'd been busy rousing the locals. A helicopter swooped low over our heads with a racket that was sure to get complaints tomorrow morning. The chopper's spotlight blasted holes in the shadows all around the diner. Webster got us moving, pulled us around the alley behind the restaurant. I peered through the rain at the Dumpsters and the scattered garbage. Nothing happened. We had plenty of backup watching the front of the restaurant. We had heavy weapons guys coming in. The helicopter could stay up there all night if it needed to. I tried to relax.

"SWAT's moving," Webster told me. He replaced his radio handset.

The Dumpster in the alley shifted an inch. Like some homeless guy inside had rolled over in his sleep. Both of us froze for a second. Long enough to be sure we'd both seen it. I brought my weapon up and tested the action. I was loading JHPs for maximal tissue damage and I had sighted in the pistol myself. If I could have gotten my gun blessed by a priest I would have. There was no way this psychopath was walking away tonight.

"Special Deputy Arkeley, maybe we should back off and let SWAT negotiate with him," Webster told me. His using my official title meant he wanted to go on the record as doing everything possible to avoid a violent takedown. Covering his ass. We both knew there was no chance of Lares coming peacefully.

"Yeah, you're probably right," I said, my nerves all twisted up. "Yeah." I eased my grip on the pistol and kicked angrily at the floorboards.

The Dumpster came apart in pieces and a white blur launched itself out of the alley. It collided with our car hard enough to knock us up onto two wheels. My door caved in and pinned my arm to my side, trapping my weapon. Webster grabbed for his own handgun even as the car fell back to the road surface, throwing us both up against our seat belts, knocking the wind out of me.

Webster reached across me and discharged his weapon three times. I could feel my face and hands burning with spent powder. I could smell cordite and nothing else. I was deaf for a good thirty seconds. My window exploded outwards, but a few tiny cubes of glass danced and spun in my lap.

I turned my head sideways, feeling like I was trapped in molten glass--I could see everything normally but I could barely move. Framed perfectly in the shattered safety glass was Lares' grinning, torn-up face. Rain was washing the blood off his mouth but it didn't improve his looks. His glasses were ruined, twisted arms of tortoiseshell and cobwebbed lenses. At least one of Webster's shots had gone in through Lares' right eye. The white jelly inside had burst outward and I could see red bone in the socket. The other two bullets had gone into the side of his nose and his right cheek. The wounds were horrible, bloody, and definitely fatal.

As I watched, they undid themselves. It was like when you run over one of those shatterproof trash cans and it slowly but surely undents itself, returning to its former shape in seconds. A puff of white smoke in Lares' vacant eye socket solidified, plumped out into a brand new eyeball. The wound in his nose shrank away to nothing and the one in his cheek might as well have been a trick of the light. Like a shadow it just disappeared.

When he was whole and clean again he slowly removed the broken glasses from his face and threw them over his shoulder. Then he opened his mouth and grinned. Every one of his teeth was sharpened to a point. It wasn't like in the movies at all. It looked more like the mouth of a shark, with row after row of tiny knives embedded in his gums. He gave us a good, long look at his mouth and then he jumped over our car. I could hear his feet beating on the roof, and he was all at once on the other side. He hit the ground running, running toward Liberty Avenue.

The SWAT team arrived at the corner before he did, sliding out of an armored van, four agents carrying MP5s. They wore full helmets and riot armor, but it wasn't standard issue. Their commanding officer had insisted I give them a chance to modify their kit. We all knew what we were getting into, he told me. We'd all seen plenty of movies before.

So the SWAT guys had crucifixes hot-glued all over them, everything they could get, from big carved-wood Roman Catholic models with gruesome Jesuses hanging from them to dime-store nickel-plated crosses like you would find on a kid's charm bracelet. I bet they felt pretty safe under all that junk.

Lares laughed out loud and tore off his red sweater. Underneath it his torso was one rippling mass of muscle. White skin, hairless, poreless, writhed over the submerged lumps of his vertebrae. He looked a lot less human with his shirt off. He looked more like some kind of albino bear. A wild animal. A man killer.


Incident report filed by

Special Deputy Jameson Arkeley, 10/4/83


"Don't fucking move!" one of the cross-covered SWATs shouted. The other three dropped to one knee and raised their MP5s to their shoulders.

Lares rolled forward from the waist, scooping his arms through the air like he could reach over and grab them from a distance. It was an aggressive movement. It was meant to be aggressive. The SWATs did what they'd been trained to do. They opened fire. Their weapons spat fire at the rain and bullets tore through the dark air, narrowly missing our unmarked car. Webster shoved his door open and stepped out into a big puddle. I was right behind him. If we could catch the bastard in a crossfire maybe we could damage him faster than he could heal.

"The heart!" I shouted. "You have to destroy his heart!"

The SWATs were professionals. They caught their target center mass more than they missed him. Lares' big body spun around in the rain. The helicopter came roaring overhead and lit him up with the spotlight so we could better see what we were shooting at. I fired three rounds into his back, one after the other. Webster emptied his clip.

Lares pitched forward like a tree falling down, right in the gutter. He put his hands down to try to stop his fall, but they slid out from under him. He lay there unmoving, not even breathing, his hands clutching at handfuls of the tiny yellow locust leaves that clogged up the sewer grate.

The SWATs traded hand signals. One of them moved in, weapon pointed at the back of Lares' neck, ready to take a brainstem shot, a traditional kill shot. He was aiming at the wrong place, but I didn't think it mattered at that point. There were no visible bullet holes in Lares--they must have healed instantly--but he wasn't moving. The SWAT stepped closer and kicked at one overly muscular leg.

Lares spun around on his side without any warning at all, far faster than a human being could move. He got one knee under him and grabbed at the SWAT's arm to pull himself up. He had no trouble whatsoever getting a grip on all those crosses. The SWAT started to react, bringing his MP5 up, ducking down in a firing crouch. Lares grabbed his helmet in two hands and twisted it right off. The policeman's head came with it.

For a second the decapitated SWAT stood there in a perfect firing crouch. Blood arced up from his gaping neck like a water fountain. Lares leaned forward and lapped at it, getting blood all over his face and chest. He was mocking us. He was goddamned making fun of us.

The SWAT leader started shouting, "Man down, man down!" into his radio, but Lares was already up and coming for him. He plowed through the rest of the SWATs in a single motion, his fingers tearing at their armor, his mouth fastening around the leader's neck. Those sharklike teeth bit right through the SWAT leader's padded collar. They bit right through a wooden cross and snapped it into pieces. I made a mental note: the cross thing was a myth.

The SWATs died one after the other and all I could do was watch. All I could do was stare. I brought up my weapon as Lares turned and jumped right at us. I would have fired, except I was afraid I would hit Webster. Lares was that fast. He went low, diving to grasp Webster around the waist. My partner was still trying to reload his weapon.

Lares tore Webster's leg off at the thigh. He used his mouth. Blood was everywhere and Lares drank as much of it as he could get down his throat. Webster didn't start screaming for a long, horrible second or two. He had time to look at me, his face registering nothing but surprise.

When Lares had finished feeding, he rose to a standing posture and smiled at me. His half-naked body was caked with gore. His eyes were bloodshot and his cheeks were glowing pink and healthy. He leaned toward me. He was a good seven feet tall and he towered over me. He reached down and put his hands on my shoulders. His eyes stared into me, and I couldn't look away. The hand holding my weapon lost all strength and dangled at my side. He was weakening me, softening me up somehow. I could feel my brain itch--he was hypnotizing me, something, I didn't know. He could kill me anytime he wanted. Why was he wasting time with my brain?

Over our heads the helicopter chewed angrily at the air. The spotlight lit up Lares' back and made his hair glow. His eyes narrowed as if the light hurt him a little. He grabbed me around the waist and hauled me up to dangle over his shoulder. I could barely move. I tried to kick and hit and fight, but Lares just squeezed me harder until I felt my ribs popping like a string of fireworks. After that it was all I could do to breathe.

He didn't kill me. He had such strength in his arms that it would have been easy to kill me, to squeeze me so hard that my guts shot out of my mouth. He kept me alive, though, I assumed as a hostage.

He started to run. My body bounced and flopped on his shoulder. I could only see what was behind us. He was running toward the Strip District, toward the river. When I was planning this takedown I had convinced Pittsburgh Traffic to shut down a big patch of city, to keep the streets empty. I wanted a safe environment in which to pull off my showdown. Lares must have sensed the unusual quiet of the streets. He ran right out of my safe place, right into traffic, cars slaloming all around us, steam from the pouring rain rising from their hot lights like the breath of angry bulls. Horns shrieked all around us, and I panicked and called out for God--if one of those cars hit us it might not damage Lares at all, but I would surely be crushed, broken, impaled.

I could barely see for pain and wet eyes and the stabbing blare of headlights. I was barely cognizant of the fact that Lares had run out onto the Sixteenth Street Bridge. I could feel the helicopter above me, following me, its rotor blades pulsing in the dark. I felt Lares bend and flex his legs and then--freefall. The asshole had jumped right off the bridge.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 47 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 47 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer


    I loved this book and I can not wait to read the other three. I am sick of reading vampire books that are about love and romance. This book was action packed and leaves you wanting more. Also I liked the twist on how the vampires look and what it means to be one. They are not the boy next store, they are monsters that they are supposed to be!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2007

    Great fun!

    This is a good vampire book, full of excitement and action. I read this after a bout of heavy novels and wanted to read something light and fun. I wasn't disappointed. Though it can be predictable at times, it has it's fair share of twists and turns. The gore is described in great detail, so not for the faint of heart. I do reccomend it for anyone interested in reading a new take on vampires.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer


    Gruesome! No sparkly vampires to whoo you in this book. A strange, yet delicious mix of a cop drama and horror. I enjoyed the author's spin on vampires (evil, violent creatures that turn to goo during the day) and appreciated the female protagonist, but some of the action bored me and the relentless detailed description of their guns and riot armor had me flipping pages. I plan on reading the next book, anyways.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2015


    Very exciting and interesting. Looking forward to reading more by David Wellington, and hopefully more about Laura Caxton.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2013

    A lot of wasted potential but, still entertaining

    After finishing 13 Bullets I couldn't help but, think of it as a book that should have been much better. It had all the right elements but, they just don't come off nearly as clear as they should have. Wellington's violent, action oriented approach is enough to keep you reading but, never seems to draw the reader in the way it should. The characters generally feel underdeveloped(Arkeley being the notable exception). The odd pacing and weak character development hurt the overall feel yet the book still tells an original and usually entertaining story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2013


    What age shoukd i b to read this? Btw im 6 months

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  • Posted July 14, 2011

    A fairly Entertaining Vampire Tale

    This was a decent read. It started off really well, but by the middle of the book the author couldn't decide whether he wanted to write a horror story or a romance novel. So the action kept getting dragged down by useless romance bits. There was a minimal sense of growth of the main character, but only just enough to keep me reading, not enough to be fun though.

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  • Posted March 30, 2011

    Strong series intro

    After years of suffering through the Twilights and True Bloods of the world, it's good to finally see someone make vampires evil again. Cold, cunning and calculating, Wellington's vampires are more sociopath than romantic, more animal than outcast, and definitely more serial killer than brooding loner. It even makes fun of those types. Thank you for making vampires monsters again.

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  • Posted September 22, 2010

    Loved it - bought the rest of the series

    I read 13 Bullets online - David first published it as a serial novel on his web site. Loved the book and went out and bought the remaining books in the series. Then my daughter wanted to read it but not off a computer so I went back and bought 13 Bullets as well!

    It's one thing to say you like a book -- another to go out and buy every other in the series. Very satisfying read; great characters and awesomely brutal and gruesome vampires.

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  • Posted June 21, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Awesome book!

    Having just come off of reading Sookie Stackhouse I expected this to be simular even though the descriptions didn't sound alike. This is a hard hitting book,that doesn't have time for romance or sex! I have yet to read any other vampire book like this one! Totally different than all the others,which I am including Stackhouse and Twilight. I can't wait to read the follow up book which is 99 Coffins. This is a very bloody book. This book also tends to details very well. If you like horror films this book is for you! I wish Hollywood would make this into a film series instead of Twilight!

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  • Posted May 12, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Not just another vampire story...ok, well maybe a little...

    Yes, vampires, but these don't sparkle, or want to be loved. All they want is your blood. This is a fast paced, action-thriller for those who like reading about mean and bloodthirsty vampires, not soft and romantic ones. There were some interesting additions to the vampire legend that I haven't come across before, but it was a nice addition.

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  • Posted April 29, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    If you like brooding pretty boy vampires. That this is not for you.

    I became familiar with Wellington when i read his Monster Island trilogy. He gave his treatment of zombies and did a grat job.

    Now here he also does it with vampires. A great book from the start. It kept me intertested all the way through. The vamps here are monsters who would tear you to pieces for your blood. The ending was great. It was classic and i wanted more so i started reading the second book,"99 Coffins" and loved it. I am also reading "Vampire Zero" book 3 and "23 Hours" book 4 is next.

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  • Posted March 4, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    awesome, david

    its fast thrilling and awesome. recommend it for anyone well that likes gore and blood.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2008


    I saw this book on a bargin book rack at my library. I have a different cover than the one here, the one I have looks like Rose McGowan from Death Proof. I loved this book so much! This take on why vampires had to go into coffins in the morning, it was so different. I wish that it hadn't ended like it did though, I almost punched the book cuz I didn't want that to happen. But if you love the Twilight series and Douglas Preston and Lincoln child books, you will love this.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    a reviewer

    In 1983 US Marshall Special Deputy Jameson Arkeley ended the vampire feeding frenzy killing all but one and almost dying in the war most people feel safe as officially all of the once thought of as supernatural beasts are reported dead. However, because of laws intended to provide justice to mortals, the sole surviving blood sucker Justinia Malvern resides on life support as a guinea pig for scientific investigation in a remote Pennsylvania asylum.---------------- Now two decades later, Pennsylvania state trooper Laura Caxton reports some weird homicides that bring Arkeley back on the scene. He knows vampires killed the victims and assumes somehow Justinia has ¿offspring¿ planning to free their queen once they are powerful enough to do so. He takes over the investigation with Laura assigned to assist him. They must follow the blood trail to the lair of Justinia¿s minion to exterminate them before they can bring blood to resuscitate their leader.--------------- This ultra-gory vampire police procedural is pure action on action as David Wellington never slows down even to bite a victim. The story line is filled with twists that at times seem too jarring especially a final spin that sets up the next encounter, but also keeps the audience alert. However, the key to this refreshing thriller is the relationship between the vampire hunter and the state trooper as no romance, no best pals, nor any Gandalf-Frodo affinity occur instead he is an abusive arrogant ahole and she hates having to take orders from this know it all bully. With a nod to his zombie Monster Island trilogy, Mr. Wellington returns the vampire lgend to its bloodiest veins.----------------------- Harriet Klausner

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    Posted January 23, 2010

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    Posted May 26, 2009

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    Posted February 16, 2010

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    Posted April 26, 2010

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    Posted December 19, 2010

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