Vampire Defense

Fiction - Supernatural
285 Pages
Reviewed on 01/21/2013
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

James D. Bell is a retired County, Circuit and Chancery Judge who practices law in Mississippi. He was the youngest trial judge in state history and received the highest bar association approval ratings ever given to a Mississippi Circuit or County Judge. He is listed in Preeminent Lawyers, Outstanding Lawyers of America, and other lists of leading lawyers.

Judge Bell authored the Circuit Judges Bench Book, published by the Mississippi Judicial College, a book that is used by all Circuit Judges in Mississippi, a Law Journal article on Habeas Corpus, published by the University of Mississippi School of Law, as well as a number of guest editorials in the Clarion Ledger, the Jackson newspaper. He also helped write rules of procedure and evidence used in the courts of Mississippi.

Judge Bell is a speaker at legal seminars on evidence and trial tactics and at various churches and civic groups on the evidence that Jesus Christ is the Messiah.

Judge Bell has been involved in some of the most significant cases in Mississippi, and drew on actual experiences when he wrote the Vampire Defense. He is the son of an American Indian mother and a prominent local businessman. He is devoted to his wife, Joanne. They live in Ridgeland, Mississippi and have four children.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Paul Johnson for Readers' Favorite

John Brooks is a brilliant young lawyer working hard, but not getting much notice. What he really needs is one big case to show off his talents. That case comes along when he is hired to defend Hal Boyd, AKA, the Butcher of Belhaven, on charges of arson and four murders. But, things don’t look so good when he announces to his defense: “Not guilty by reason of insanity. The defendant is completely insane and totally believes the person he intended to kill was a vampire.” That is only the start. Soon other problems arise as kidnapping and multiple murders occur as the action moves from the city to the swamp to the courtroom. Then add a little romance and of course a verdict that shocks the world. The story isn't over with the verdict but with a final battle between good and evil. Or is it?

Wow, what a great read! Here you have murders, vampires, courtrooms, and beer. What could be better? I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It started a tad slowly with multiple plots and subplots but after the action got going it moved with incredible speed to a great climax. At first I found it hard to classify this book by genre but after meeting the outstanding cast of characters I didn't even try. The dialogue is superb and most fitting for a work such as this. I did enjoy the ending and of course, a little is left over for the next book on Lawyer Brooks and Company. One of the best stories I have read in a long time.


This book is AWESOME


This book is AWESOME


I loved this book. It has the perfect amount of courtroom drama, romance, folklore, and suspense. I highly recommend.


Great book. Highly recommend to friends and family.

A. Stamps

I am so surprised that this book is not on a bestsellers list. I truly enjoyed the story lines which incorporated humor, intense emotions, and believable plots. What a kudo for Mississippi and for everyone who likes to enjoy a good read with courtroom drama and a touch of the paranormal.


With more than three decades of experience in criminal defense, James Bell breathes page-turning life into his characters as they tackle the toughest legal case of their young careers and find justice even in the paranormal.

As a defense attorney and retired judge in Hinds County, Bell has interviewed serial killers, investigated voodoo and other satanic activity in Mississippi and been involved with high-profile cases such as the 1997 Pearl High School shooting.

"Sometimes it was very difficult and heart-rending and other times I felt like I was helping society and helping people get justice," Bell says. More than a few cases were full of media frenzy, something that Bell's characters confront as they try to seek the truth behind one client's outstanding claim that he has killed a vampire.

"You'll see what really goes on in the mind of a lawyer," Bell says. "This particular lawyer is a man of faith and his partner is an agnostic and his friend is an atheist. In today's culture, most books, movies, entertainment is just entertainment- shock value- not necessarily any good nugget of truth."

Bell's plot forces his characters to make hard decisions. The right way is often the hard way and where that will lead and how it can impact someone's future underscores every scene.

Filled with drama, romance and a touch of comedy, "Vampire Defense" is a well-crafted yarn that readers, especially those in the Jackson area will appreciate. Hopefully it's only the first of many literary adventures from the pen of James Bell.


I love the way the author approached the vampire story from a new direction. This was a very enjoyable book.

C. White

I highly recommend this book as it was very entertaining. I couldn't put it down. Romance, comedy, adventure... what more could you want?


I absolutely love this book so much I have read it twice and given it as a gift. It's one of those you just can't put down and I can't wait for the next one, please keep it coming! It would also make a great movie! You almost feel as if you know the characters personally and the story line is exceptional. I would and have recommended this book to so many people and everyone who has read it loves it!!!


"Delicious"....So "Bloody Good" you can't put it down for fear of missing something. If you like a good mystery with unforgettable characters you won't be disappointed. If Cop Stories are your thing you're in for a treat. If you like a good romance you'll love this one. If you like stories about the ol' South & it's History "Welcome Home". Vampire lovers will want to keep this book in their collection for years to come. "Good verses Evil" this book has it all. Once you read it..... you'll never forget it.

Aunt JennJenn

I found this book to be an interesting read from the first page. The multiple story lines just added to the suspense of it all. Being in the legal field myself, it was an entertaining to read a book written by a former Judge. I recommend this book to anyone!


This book is the first book in my entire life that I actually enjoyed reading. I've struggled with a learning disability my whole life and have always had a hard time reading and enjoying to read. THIS BOOK, HOWEVER, absolutely grabbed a hold of me with the legal and thrilling aspects. It's completely mind blowing! A must read all around!


James Bell writes from his passionate soul. Although I've known the author for many years, I now respect him so much more. Not only is this a fun book for adults, but it is one children could (and should) read. It's proof you can tell a good story without foul language or sexual detail. Congratulations, Judge Bell, on an excellent legal thriller.


An eclectic cast of characters who join forces as family to protect each other, justice and the "vampire killer" . Cannot wait for a sequel.


This book keeps you entertained from cover to cover. I think what I found to be so interesting was how little you noticed the "out-there" idea of a vampire, but instead were immediately drawn into what felt like a reality.


I've been reading a lot of books lately mostly horror fiction and zombie so I decided to switch it up. This book was amazing. I got sucked into the story and I couldn't put it down the main character and all his friends were interesting each in their own right and I cared about all of them. Great mix of suspense and action and a little bit of horror. I definitely hope the author makes this a series because I plan on buying every one of they are as great as this book was.


I just got done reading James Bell's novel, Vampire Defense! I loved it! It was very well written and the plot is very intriguing and unique! Can't wait for him to write another book!


I enjoyed this book alot. Great character development and an engaging storyline and suspenseful. Look forward to the Series to follow.

S Woodruff

I know Judge James Bell. He is a wonderful God loving man. I await the next book. This was the best book I have read in a while.


This book is very entertaining and full of twists. It has great characters and keeps you wanting more! I hope Mr Bell continues on and writes more books likes this one!


Loved the fact that the book is written by a local. Very easy to follow and enjoyed reading about local areas that I am familiar with.


Well I never thought I would be interested in the vampire genre, but legal thrillers I do like, and for various reasons I picked up this novel. In short order I was in and finished, wanting more. While vampires, superheroes and such are a bit farfetched for my scientific outlook on life, Mr. Bell weaves a story around such phenomenon in a way that is believable and engaging. Satanic cults do exist, and their capacity to suck vulnerable humans into their vortex of beliefs is a story that has come to life many times, and the deep south seems to be a breeding ground for such. As the story plot unfolds in Mr. Bell's novel, unbelievable, quirky natured characters keep appearing, which at first, kept me at a distance. Though the legal team in the novel are the most sane, they too have a quirkiness about them in their willingness to take these different characters into their fold, as part of their team, and to follow their leads for exploring various legends and mysteries in their Mississippi setting. As a native Mississippian, I have experienced such colorful folks and stories, which form the fabric of the southern culture. I also know that the openness of the legal team to embrace such quirkiness is a testament to the renowned southern hospitality and open human spirit. This spirit is infused throughout the novel, which dances between reality and surrealism in a very believable Mississippi way. In a culture where people still talk to one another, pass the time together, stories do grow, sometimes bigger than life. In line with the best of southern novelists, Mr. Bell captures this transformative southernism, which borders on the insane, and uses it to defend his client, while he also defends the sanity of Mississippi itself. The legal defense of the client, who by his own telling, "murdered a vampire", gives some interesting details on legal proceedings and is the rational thread that holds the story together and makes it believable. It was a very good reading and I look forward to the next novel to come from Mr. Bell.

Rain Lizard

This is the first book I have read by James D Bell and I will read more! I was intrigued within the first few pages.


This book is a true page-turner! I didn't want to put it down and it kept me on my toes the entire time. All of the characters play interesting roles and it's packed with action and adventure, plus a little romance and humor. The ending is shocking and unpredictable, and you will want to keep reading to get there! Definitely recommend this one.


I enjoyed reading this book, and couldn't help but be curious from the start how
this "defense" was going to defend a "vampire" in a court of law, feeling that
the star player, John Brooks, would win his case.

A few different "tales" interwoven from start to finish, and the action moving
diversely faster and faster kept my interest. A couple of very interesting
characters, and enjoyable bits of humor.

With his knowledge of the law and court systems, and "good" versus "evil" with
regard to cultist activity, spirits (anti-material and drinking), and Christianity, the author, with his cast of characters, made a believable defense, in my uneducated opinion.

Finally, for me, being raised in Jackson, Mississippi, and knowing the settings of
this book, was "icing on the cake."


I loved this book. It was very interesting and kept me guessing plus it was clean. The characters were all like real people I have come across in my life time. Keep up the good work James D. Bell


I read this book in one day! I could not put it down! Loved all the twist and turns. A very entertaining book!


Before I started reading this book I had my doubts on whether or not it would be good, but once I got done with the first few chapters I was hooked. It was like everywhere you turn sumthin new was popping out adding to the suspense an playing right into the ending. If you don't want to take my word for it go ahead and read a few chapters your self an see how you feel about it.


I really enjoyed multiple story lines along with the interesting characters. Being from central Mississippi, the locations made the stories all the more entertaining. I didn't want to put it down.


This is one you could not put down. It held your attention the whole time. Now living in Jackson and being a paralegal made it even more fun because I knew the places he talked about. Can't wait for the next one. Judge Bell did an awesome job on his first novel!


An exciting and suspenseful book. I enjoyed the fact it was in a southern town, Jackson, MS. I also liked the character of John Brooks. It was nice to read about a good man with a strong morals.

Mar Mar

I thoroughly enjoyed and was captivated by this book. It wove a very interesting series of stories that I enjoyed reading as it unfolded. It did a great job of developing the central characters in a consistent fashion that also provided some unexpected twists and turns. I recommend it highly!

JL Michael

Still reading, but recommend! Easy to read. Characters are fun and interesting. Can't wait to see what happens next. Buying the hardback version for my book collection.


I walked into Books a Million and luckily the author was doing book signings. I had no idea about the book but the author was so kind I purchased one of the books. I read it completely within the next day. It had the perfect combination of comedy, romance, action, and suspense. I highly recommend this book!


From the first page, this book had my attention! Thrilling, suspenseful, exciting!! I started reading it and as much as I want to find out how it ends, I don't want it to end!! Definitely a page-turner you won't want to miss!!


I love the book. Vampire Defense gets your attention early and keeps it all the way through to the finish. My statement about the book is simply this: Faulkner, Grisham, Morris, and Welty, should make room for the birthing of another great Mississippi writer. I believe in a matter of time it will become a movie.


From page 9 to page 283, I loved every word!!! The characters were so appealing to the reader - watching them evolve through the story line was very entertaining. The extensive background knowledge of the author as it related to the law and the courtroom was much like vintage Grisham. I know I have thoroughly enjoyed a book when I hate for it to end. I hope I don't have to wait too long to read about John Brooks next case!

Harriett Klausner

In Jackson, Mississippi lawyer John Brooks works ethically and diligently providing the best legal advice to his clients. The court administrator appoints Brooks with his first media-frenzy case; defending Hal "the Butcher of Belhaven" Boyd who is charged with arson and four counts of murder. Boyd tells Brooks his reason for living ended when he killed the creature who destroyed his fiancé; and now he just wants to die.

As the international press comes to Mississippi for the Boyd trial, Brooks files a guilty by reason of insanity plea; as his client claims he killed a vampire. The media and the legal world have a field day ridiculing the "Vampire Defense" while heaping scorn on the dedicated attorney and his staff. Soon threats to drop the case arrive followed by assaults, arson and abductions.

The Vampire Defense is a terrific over the top of Woodall Mountain "paranormal" legal thriller that enthralls the audience with wondering whether the undead live. Fast-paced, fans will widen their definition of good and evil with obsessed individuals willing to do anything to further their agenda. With a double helix climax, fans who appreciate something different will want to read the legal defense of an avenging vampire slayer and cultists seeking their brand of revenge; caught in the crosshairs is Brooks and his team.


Vampire Defense was a suspenseful and exciting book! It was definitely a "PageTurner"---just couldn't wait to finish. The multiple story lines and characters kept my interest . James Bell's style is similar to James Patterson. I am looking forward to more books by him!

Shelley and Ronnie

I just finished Vampire Defense and I loved this book. It kept me interested and I wanted to keep reading. The main character was a hero and the villan a nasty evil wretch. There were so many characters to love in this book. I was rooting for the good guys all the way. Winning!!! -Ronnie

I also just finished the book and loved it as well! It is a great book,it is intriguing, and kept my attention the entire time. Many characters and interesting names! Really enjoyed reading it! Definitely recommend it! -Shelley


I started the book on a trip to Orlando for a conference. Could not put it down! Finished the book on my flight home. Loved the great variety of characters, the suspense , multiple story lines that all came together with sweet romance! Great read and I can't wait to see these characters again in another exciting adventure!!


Retired Judge James D. Bell delivers a captivating tale in his debut novel, Vampire Defense. In the opening scene, Mr. Bell hooks his reader with the nuance of an evil that lurks in the small Mississippi town of Belhaven. Young Patrick Simmons takes on a dare from his buddy Jack Robins to go up and knock on the door of a creepy and worn, ninety-year-old Victorian house. Little did they know as he approached the house, the two boys were about to witness a horrific event. All they wanted to do was see if that house really was haunted. As they lay their bikes down and begin to cross the street, two cars come careening around the corner. Scared, the boys jump back into the holly bushes for cover and watch the horror unfold before them. When the first car comes to a screeching halt and a man jumps out of his car he fails to close the door as he runs around to the front of the car. Close behind, the second car crashes into the door and the boys witness it fly off its hinges before it comes to rest at the curb. It is when the short dark man jumps out of his car; Patrick realizes it is ‘Got Fried,’ Godfrey Plova, the creepy house's home owner.

The blonde-haired man from the first car, Hal Boyd, jumps Godfrey and a vicious fight ensues. Paralyzed, the boys take further refuge in the holly bushes; hoping they are not seen. As neighbors began to gather a shot rings out. Godfrey is dead and Boyd races toward the house, kicks the door in and disappears into the darkness. Moments later the once quiet street is flooded with police cars, witnesses, and the image of the majesty of that Victorian mansion engulfed in flames. Seconds later, Hal Boyd is walking out of the flames and down the steps toward the gathering crowd and turns himself in to the authorities; but not before confessing he killed a vampire. Shortly thereafter, Bell introduces his star character, attorney John Brooks. When Brooks realizes he will be defending a man who killed another, confessed to the killing and did so because he believed he was a vampire, Mr. Bell cleverly uses his wealth of legal knowledge and experience and works a believable insanity defense into the story’s premise. At the onset, Brooks is handed a fair amount of ridicule not only from his community, but national news coverage as well because of his Vampire Defense. However, this is the least of his concerns as a series of unfortunate events continue to unfold.

Mr. Bell has done a fantastic job of seeding a multitude of twists and turns to this story, but nowhere is the reader ripped off with cheeky dialogue or ridiculous situations. With his vast knowledge of the legal process and jargon, Bell takes the reader on an adventurous tale that translates into pure entertainment. He has done an excellent job of plotting out his story from beginning to end. For a debut novel, there is nothing novice about this story. I applaud Mr. Bell for his passion in the writing of Vampire Defense. If this is any indication of the writing he has in store for us, I would venture to say he will be as equally successful with his writing as he was in his admirable legal career. I look forward to (hopefully) the many stories Mr. Bell shall pen in the years to come.

Quill Says: Grab yourself a V-8 and sink your teeth into Vampire Defense. You won’t be disappointed.