23 Hours

The fourth book in David Wellington’s vampire series, 23 Hours, continues the story of Laura Caxton and her pursuit of the blood drinking monsters.  This time, due to the events of the last book, Caxton is in prison and the world’s last vampire comes to play.

I’m a huge fan of Wellington’s work, read and loved them all.  So it is no surprise that I liked this one too.  After seeing so many books using vampires as romantic objects, it is nice to return to this world where they are more like sharks, mouths full of teeth, death on two legs.  Anyway, I hope I’m not spoiling too much when I say I’ll be eagerly awaiting book five.


I’m really enjoying David Wellington’s work.  From his Zombie Island to his 13 Bullets, he’s tackled zombies and vampires in a way I have found refreshing.  With Frostbite, he does the same for werewolves.

Probably not his best work to date, but a solid effort none the less, this is the story of a girl who goes out into the wilderness to find the werewolf that killed her father only to wind up becoming one herself.  I’m eager to see where he takes this when the sequel comes out toward the end of the year.

Vampire Zero

Rounding out David Wellington’s vampire trilogy is Vampire Zero.  Unlike his zombie books which were uneven (the three of them were, in order, great, alright and good), the vampire series has been far more consistent.

This time around, our intrepid trooper Laura Caxton is on her own… sort of.  With the events of 99 Coffins behind her, she is now living in the aftermath.  She’s been given her own department within the State Troopers to continue the hunting of the remaining vampires.  She has learned well and knows how to hunt vampires, but these vampires know her as well and they’ll try to outthink her, something vampires aren’t supposed to do.

The body counts here aren’t small, but they are nothing like the last book.  While Caxton tries to tie up her loose ends, Arkeley is trying to tie up loose ends of his own, and its a race to see who gets there first.

I really enjoyed the book, just as much as the previous two, and who knows… there might be a fourth given the way things end.  I know I wouldn’t mind.

99 Coffins

Having previously enjoyed David Wellington’s Monster Trilogy, and the first of his vampire books, 13 Bullets, I was eager to pick up his second vampire tale, 99 Coffins, when I managed to find one on the shelf.

Let me take an aside here and laud some praise on Borders Bookstores.  Traditionally, I’m a Barnes & Noble guy, or even a patron of Book-A-Million.  Their prices always seem to be better.  Or when something is hard to find and if I can manage free shipping, Amazon is my go to site of choice.  However, when it comes to picking up Horror books, Borders really does jump above other brick and mortar book retailers simply because they have a Horror section.  See, when you go look for Horror in most stores you have to hunt for them.  Stephen King and Dean Koontz, because they are well known, you’ll find in the Fiction section along side Tom Clancy and other novelists.  But a lesser known author is more likely to be found in the Science Fiction and Fantasy section.  It makes see what is new in Horror a difficult task.  Not so at Borders.  Walk right in and wedged between the Sci-Fi/Fantasy books and the Romance, you’ll find the Horror in a little 4 or 8 foot section all its own, and organized just like every other section… hardcovers and trades and new releases at the top with shelves of paperbacks below.  Heaven.

Anyway… 99 Coffins picks up pretty much where 13 Bullets left off.  Our intrepid vampire hunter, not feeling so spritely after the last book, calls on our heroine again.  This time, it seems so fellows digging around in Gettysburg uncovered a crypt of sorts, and inside are 99 coffins containing 99 vampire skeletons missing all 99 hearts.  But there is evidence… there might have been a 100th coffins.  Vampires are afoot at America’s Historic playground.

Of course, I love the book.  As good as the first, perhaps even a tad better.  Honestly, I was worried.  After the downward turn that Wellington’s second Monster book took in quality, I thought maybe he just might have problems with the middle acts of his trilogies, but 99 Coffins turned out quite well.

Now I just need to wait for the third book, Vampire Zero, just four short days after my birthday.  The anticipation may just do me in…

13 Bullets

I had previously read a trilogy by David Wellington, and the short version of that review is the first book was fantastic, the second was lacking, and the third was better but not as good as the first.  However, despite the fact that I wasn’t thrilled with the second and third books, the first one was so good that I have been itching to pick up more of his stuff.  I finally did.

13 Bullets is a story about vampires.  In the world he crafts, vampires exist and everyone knows about them, but vampires are extremely rare so people often forget that they exist or at least deny to themselves that they are really real.  These are not your Anne Rice vampires, these are vicious monsters who thirst for blood.  In fact, the more they eat, the more they crave, so a smart vampire might be able to hide for a while, but eventually his thirst will lead to large enough slaughters that he can no longer go unnoticed.  These vampires don’t have two fangs, they have a set of jaws like a shark with rows of sharp teeth.

But specifically, the story is about Laura Caxton, a State Trooper in Pennsylvania who stumbles on to vampires and gets mixed up in the horror along with a U.S. Marshall who has been hunting vampires for twenty years.

Wellington’s writing in 13 Bullets is as strong as Monster Island.  I devoured the book, and am hoping that the sequel, 99 Coffins, doesn’t fall like Monster Nation did.  Definitely, though, 13 Bullets is a damn fine read, especially if you like horror.

The Monster Trilogy

There is a guy out there on the Internet named David Wellington. He’s calling himself a serial novelist. Essentially posting his works up a chapter at a time on the web, and when he’s done, getting them published into traditional book form. I would love to speak with him candidly about how successful it has been (obviously enough that he’s done six novels this way, with a seventh in progress).

In any event, I didn’t find him on the Internet. Instead, I stumbled on his books at a Borders bookstore while wasting time before seeing a movie at the theater in the same complex. I was drifting through the horror section, as I often do when I go to Borders, and found a curious set of books: Monster Island, Monster Nation, and Monster Planet. The subtitle to each was “A Zombie Novel” and from that alone I knew I had to at least read the book cover. Being near Christmas when I found them, I agonized for a couple of trips to the theater over whether I should add these to my ever growing Amazon wish list and hope to get them for the big day, or to just buy them. I bought them.

After reading the first book, I wanted to post a review, but I decided to wait. I wanted to review them all at once. So here you go, a trilogy review in one part.

Monster Island is set two years after a plague has hit. That plague: zombies. The first theory presented in the book is one that just smacks of common sense, that in a world descending into chaos places that are used to chaos will handle it better. In the case of a zombie plague, the places with the most armed citizens fairs better than urban areas full of unarmed people. In short, the Third World outlasts the First. Dekalb is a UN Weapons inspector who is tasked by a Somali warlord to find AIDS treatment drugs to help keep her well and alive. After a few failed raids of local installations, Dekalb suggests that the one place he is sure will have what they want is the UN Secretariat Building in New York City. So Dekalb and a group of female soldiers head to the United States. Remember that bit about the First World not doing so well? Yep, New York is a veritable Zombietown. Monster Island isn’t your traditional zombie story, as there is more going on with a talking zombie (a lich) named Gary and an old dead druid named Mael Mag Och who would just like to finish ending the world. The book is very well written, well paced, and I devoured it. A great read.

I wish I could say the same about Monster Nation. For the second book we actually step back to the beginning of the plague and a girl with no name. She’s a lich, one of those talking, thinking zombies with magic powers, but she doesn’t know it and doesn’t want to admit it. We are also introduced to Bannerman Clark the man initially in charge with figuring out what is going on. While this book isn’t “bad”, it doesn’t have the punch of the first book. Sometimes I literally felt like I was forcing myself to read the book. Overall, while still a decent read, I have to say that it suffers the same fate that many middle chapters in trilogies do, that is reads like a bridge from the first to the third more than it feels like a story all on its own. The only familiar character is Mael Mag Och, but he’s not as involved here as he will be in two years.

Monster Planet comes in ten years after Monster Island, twelve years after Monster Nation. Here we meet Sarah, Dekalb’s daughter, who is still running with the remains of the camp he left her in, bolstered by the survivors of the New York escapade. All the elements of the first two books come together here in a story much closer in energy and style to the first. Much more enjoyable than the second book, and a fine end for the trilogy… if it truly is the end.

Overall, I recommend the Monster Trilogy if you like apocalyptic tales and/or zombie stories. Its a bit rough in the middle, but is worth the ride in the end. David Wellington has definitely made my must read authors list, and I’ll be picking up more of his works to support him.