David Wellington has redefined monsters - or perhaps brought them back to their original forms? First he started with zombies in the Monster Island, Monster Nation, and Monster Planet series. Then he tackled vampires with state trooper Laura Caxton in the book 13 Bullets, followed up by 99 Coffins and Vampire Zero. The latest installment is 23 Hours, and it seems that Wellington hasn't run out of steam just yet.
Caxton is now an ex-trooper and in jail - arrested at the end of Vampire Zero for her neglectful behavior towards proper police procedure, federal agent Fetlock has her locked away in a women's state penitentiary. Caxton believes that she can just serve her time and maybe even get out early for good behavior, but it seems that a supernatural force has other ideas; ideas that will make the penitentiary into a buffet for the living dead.
Justinia Malvern, seemingly the last vampire, infiltrates the prison with one thing on her mind - Caxton. Her MO is to turn vampire killers into vampires, an irony she finds all too amusing. However, this time around Malvern may have something else in mind; who can tell? All Caxton knows is that she has one last chance to kill the vampire who's taken everything away from her - her mentor, her job, her life. Clara, Caxton's girlfriend, provides us with an outsider's view into the battle between the living and the dead with her struggle to understand why Caxton can't let go of the past.
Perhaps the best thing about this series is the originality of the vampires. Going back to the image of Count Orlock, Wellington's vamps are completely bald (and I mean hairless - no eyebrows, nothing) with pointed ears. Their mouths are full of shark-like teeth, intended to rend the victim; which is useful, considering that the vampires need more and more blood to survive night to night. The vampires continue to age as they grow older, eventually becoming too weak to feed themselves. They are described as unnatural, so much so that you can feel the wrongness of the creatures. And when they go to sleep? They fall apart! They literally liquefy in order to regenerate, leaving them completely vulnerable in the daylight hours.
Rife with realistic police procedures and protocol, as well as action packed scenes between both human and non-human enemies, Wellington adds yet another chapter into this exciting and original series. These are vampire books for people who are sick of Twilight and want something with a little more...blood.