13 Bullets

13 Bullets

by David Wellington


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The first book in the Laura Caxton Vampire series from the author of the Monster Island trilogy.

All the official reports say that vampires are dead—extinct since the late ’80s, when FBI agent Arkeley defeated the last vampire in a fight that nearly killed him. But when state trooper Laura Caxton calls the FBI looking for help in the middle of the night, Arkeley is unsurprised to hear that it sounds like a vampire attack. 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.

Laura Caxton is out of her league on this case and more than a little afraid. Arkeley made it clear there is only one way out. 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307381439
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 05/22/2007
Series: Laura Caxton Series , #1
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 1,245,197
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.72(d)

About 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.

Read an Excerpt

13 Bullets

By David Wellington Three Rivers Press Copyright © 2007 David Wellington
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780307381439


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 howmany 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.


Excerpted from 13 Bullets by David Wellington Copyright © 2007 by David Wellington. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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13 Bullets 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 65 reviews.
amber_h_79 More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
perfectleft on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
oh my gosh, so budget and campy - but a fun fast read on vacation.
audiobookfans on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Story: The first 25 minutes of 13 Bullets takes you on a pretty wild ride and perfectly sets up the rest of the book. During those 25 minutes you learn a lot about the vampires that have populated the world of 13 Bullets. These vampires much more closely resemble the traditional view of vampires than the vampires depicted in Justin Cronin¿s ¿The Passage¿ and Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan¿s ¿The Strain¿. I have to admit that I felt more ¿at home¿ (if that is possible) with these vampires than I did with some of their contemporary ¿modern twist¿ counterparts. Possibly because it was easier to understand their motivation.One interesting characteristic of the vampires was their increased stamina, strength and resistance to attack that occurs when the vampire has recently fed. During the time immediately after a feeding it is virtually invincible. For example, when the vampire is full of blood most bullets will just ricochet off it¿s chest. The only way to kill one is to destroy it¿s heart. All other wounds heal almost instantly which makes it extremely difficult to cause much damage to them. (By the way there is an awesome scene that perfectly illustrates this point during those first 25 minutes)After those first 25 minutes you will be hooked. The only warning I have for you is that you should go into this knowing that there are several more books in the series. It has a good ending.. maybe even a great ending. Just don¿t expect everything to be completely wrapped up at the end.Audio Production: This was my first exposure to Bernadette Dunne¿s narration and she did an excellent job. I¿ll be looking for more of her work soon.Overall: 13 Bullets is soaked in blood. It is fast paced, smart and filled with blood curdling twists and turns. I highly recommended it to fans of vampire fiction. However if you are strictly into sparkly vampires you may find that the vampires in 13 Bullets are a little too rich for your blood.
silversurfer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A bloody,exciting ride. Fair warning, this is just one in a series, do not expect the ending to "wrap" things up...I loved the character of Jameson Arkeley, who we meet during the first 25 action packed pages. Then, it's many years later and Laura Caxton is introduced. I loved the development of her character. She goes from a whiny, terrified woman to a fierce vampire hunter. The book has great atmosphere and some scenes were extremely creepy. They stuck in my head. Warning, this book is NOT for the faint of heart...there is blood, lots of blood at every turn. And graphic descriptions of blood and gore. I have been reading vampire and zombie novels for many years now, but this is a true GORE fest. So much so, it turned me off at points. Hence the 4 STAR rating instead of 5. It was just too much at times. Wellington should have reined it in a bit. But, it remains a fine introduction to the series. And Laura Caxton has won my heart. By the end, you just want to give this poor woman a hug...and a stake...and 13 more bullets. Because the fight is not over. Why hasn't Hollywood optioned this? It would make a great movie.
clark.hallman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wellington¿s vampires are quite different from the vampires you may have experienced in Bram Stoker¿s Dracula or Stephen King¿s Salem¿s Lot or even Buffy the Vampire Slayer. They are not as stealthy or sophisticated as Stoker and King portrayed them to be. They are not a stupid and easy to kill as the vampires Buffy battled. Wellington¿s vampires are almost impossible to kill with a wooden stake in your hand, or even with firearms and other weapons. They also are not affected by crosses or garlic or other such self defense techniques. They do live for hundreds of years, but they reach a point when they cannot control their craving for human blood and they eventually cannot get enough blood to retain their strength. Until that time, they are ruthless, blood-thirsty beasts that tear human beings, including the populations of entire towns, to pieces while draining their blood. They also work together to plan and carry out their attacks and they create small armies of undead to help them. State Trooper Laura Caxton is chosen by Special Deputy Jameson Arkeley, a fed, to help him investigate a possible vampire in central Pennsylvania south and west of Harrisburg. The assignment brings Caxton into battle with several vampires and their undead henchmen and changes Caxton¿s life forever. This tale is full of action, suspense, and over-top violence and gore. However, it also reveals the development of a very interesting relationship between Caxton and Arkeley and between both of them and the vampires. It¿s not great literature but I really enjoyed it. If you dig vampires, you should give this book a read.
timdt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an action packed, gory battle between vampires and humans. In fact, that's pretty much it. Wellington has created a world where it is a known fact that vampires exist. They exist to feed and create more vampires. And we follow along with the main characters in pursuit of destroying them. It's really a lot of fun to read. The pacing is fast and furious. The action is clearly depicted. The characters are flawed and real. Highly recommended.
JechtShot on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
13 Bullets starts off with a bang! The book opens in the 1980s with SWAT, US Marshalls and the FBI on stakeout to take out a vampire. What ensues is a spectacular limb severing bloodbath with law enforcement getting annihilated by the vamp. One agent manages to survive, Jameson Arkeley. Fast Forward to present time where another vampire is on the loose. Arkeley is on the hunt and Laura Caxton, a state trooper, is about to be indoctrinated into a world she can scarcely believe.13 Bullets is a decent vampire thriller. Wellington's portrayal of the vampire is far more animalistic than most. Yes, in order to kill his vampires the heart must be destroyed, but good luck with that. If a vampire has recently visited the local blood buffet they are damn near unstoppable. The characters were a bit flat and the story felt a tad disjointed at times. This is the first in a series of books and I am interested enough to see where the story goes. At this point, I am a little hesitant to recommend, but I may change my tune after delving into the next book.
simply00complex on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Summary: In this story where history teaches that vampires existed and are now an extinct species, only a few select people know that there is only one currently in existence and she held captive by the government and she wants revenge.Review: This is not a vampire novel you'll find on a tween's book shelf. It's nothing like the current trendy vampire lit that has over pop culture. This is a very gruesome vampire tale that is definitely aimed for adults. The vampires are not sexy alluring creatures; they're nasty blood thirsty monsters and will stop at nothing to quench their thirst. I've read Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, and a bunch of other vampire novels, but this one was very different and refreshing but is not for the weak of heart. 13 Bullets is a great start to the series by horror writer David Wellington.Series order: 13 Bullets, 99 Coffins, Vampire Zero, 23 Hours.
drneutron on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When I got this book from the library, I figured it would be cheesy. I was mostly wrong. Ok, it's a little cheesy, but mostly it's a good read. I think my favorite thing about this book is that the vampires are truly evil things, not just bad people with superpowers that they've turned into in some of the recent paranormal fantasy that's been published.Beyond that, the characters are pretty well realized, although the cast list calls Dracula to mind pretty quickly with a few attempts at modernization. The plot moves along pretty quickly with a good ending that doesn't try to tie every loose end up with a bow.
lesleydawn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading something from David Wellington that wasn't a zombie novel (though I have loved all of his zombie novels). It was a peek into a side of him that he hasn't shown his readers before. Honestly, I've been shying away from vampire novels as of late, but this was really well written. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys well written horror.
readingrat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A horrific thrill ride - kind of like Dracula meets Silence of the Lambs. I love that the vampires are actually portrayed as monsters (and nearly indestructible) instead of the charming, sexy vamps that are so in vogue in popular literature today.
taylorh on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
excellent modern vampireThis reads as as a Silence of the Lambs for vampires. I really had quite a lot of fun reading it. I enjoyed Wellington's non-romantic approach to the breed, as well as his tweaking to the lore. Plus, positive gay inclusion that wasn't over-explained or over-justified. And some great gore. I'd read it again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book. It kept me wanting to know more. I am on to the second book.
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Very exciting and interesting. Looking forward to reading more by David Wellington, and hopefully more about Laura Caxton.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What age shoukd i b to read this? Btw im 6 months
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