Some reclaiming of the vampire genre, some thrillers and a couple of popular urban fantasy series this week.

Department Nineteen, Will Hill (540 pages) – It’s a vampire story but without the romance and that stuff (see cover). Department 19 is a secret government department dedicated to finding and destroying vampires, with whom humans have been at war since 1892, and the stakes are going to be raised, says the cover. In at least two ways, obvs.

First sentence: Jamie Carpenter was watching TV in the living room when he heard the tires of his dad’s car crunch across the gravel driveway much, much earlier than usual.

Alex Van Helsing: Vampire Rising, Jason Henderson (248 pages) – Van Helsing was the vampire hunter who was Dracula’s downfall (says the person who hasn’t read Dracula). Alex Van Helsing doesn’t know he’s related to the great man (ahem, Alex, the name), so when he starts at an exclusive academy on the shores of Lake Geneva and, hello, meets two vampires in his first couple of days, he’s in for an abrupt adjustment. There’s a deadly vampire known as Icemaker in the area, and Alex’s vampire hunting instincts must kick into action.

First sentence: Alex Van Helsing ran.

Blank Confession, Pete Hautman (170 pages) – Shayne Blank confesses to murder, but how could a sweet teenage boy do such a thing? His long statement to the police reveals all.

First sentence: Five lousy minutes.

The Golden Day, Ursula Dubosarsky (149 pages) – Set in Sydney in 1967, “about a group of schoolgirls whose teacher [Miss Renshaw] bizarrely goes missing on a school excursion, apparently murdered”, the author tells us. What really happened?

First sentence: The year began with the hanging of one man, and ended with the drowning of another.

City of Fallen Angels, Cassandra Clare (424 pages) – it’s here finally, 60-something people in Wellington will be pleased to hear. Everything in New York is happiness and light it seems, until someone starts murdering Valentine’s Shadowhunters, endangering the uneasy relationship between the Downworlders and Shadowhunters. Then Simon’s mother finds out the truth about him, he’s kicked out of home, and everyone (except his mother) wants him on their side. Oh, and Jace has gone all distant and Clary doesn’t know why.

First sentence: “Just coffee, please.”

Red Glove, Holly Black (325 pages) – the second book in the Curse Workers series (the first was White Cat). Cassel’s life is complicated and dangerous, he’s an in-demand curse worker, wanted by both the feds and the mob, who can see how valuable he could be. Plus he’s learned that Lila his girlfriend (who is no longer a white cat) only loves him because his mother cursed her. That’d take the gloss off.

First sentence: I don’t know whether it’s day or night when the girl gets up to leave.

Efrain’s Secret, Sofia Quintero (263 pages) – Efrain longs to get out of the South Bronx and attend an Ivy League school, but his family circumstances mean this is not likely to happen. So, Efrain becomes a drug dealer (while maintaining his grades and reputation as an excellent student) to raise the money (after all, this is what society expects boys from the South Bronx to do).

First sentence: I type “SAT prep” into a search engine when Chingy yells, “Yes!” from the computer station next to me.

XVI, Julia Karr (325 pages) – In this 22nd century dystopia, when girls turn sixteen they’re branded with an XVI on their wrist, proclaiming to the world that they are legal (if you know what we mean). Nina is fifteen, about to have her birthday, when her mother is brutally killed, and just before she dies reveals a shocking secret to Nina about her past that sends Nina on a dangerous quest to discover the truth about herself.

First sentences: “Nina, look.” Sandy jabbed me in the ribs.

Dangerously Placed, Nansi Kunze (274 pages) – Alex Thaler is doing work experience in a company that has a virtual office with workers from around the world. Pretty cool, except someone’s murdered and Alex is the prime suspect. She and her friends must find out who’s responsible before she takes the fall, or worse, becomes the next victim.