Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Author: Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan
Copyright July 2010
Harper Collins Publishing
Paperback $ 9.99
ISBN 978-0-06-155824-5
608 pages

“Dusk was still many hours away, and he was impatient. Now that everything was in motion – the strain spreading throughout New York City with the sure exponential force of compound interest, doubling and doubling itself again every night – he hummed with the glee of a greedy banker. No financial success, of which there had been plenty, ever enlivened him as much as did this vast endeavor.”

Between Stephanie Meyer and Charlaine Harris most readers feel that they already are experts on vampires. Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan together have created a new aspect to the present day vampire trend. THE STRAIN treats the infection from the bites as a virus and involving the CDC with Dr. Ephraim Goodweather attempting to save the world from this infection. The vampire restrictions are a little different especially with the manner of biting the victims and the reflections of mirrors are actually more sensible. Overall, the vampire lifestyles are extremely detailed and explained well in this novel.

Dr. Goodweather is assisted by Nora Martinez as the two begin their quest to saving our country from the infection of evolving into vampires. They are called to the airport when a plane has landed but appears to be shut off, just sitting on the runway. When investigated, all the shades in the airplane are closed and there is no sign of life. Finally, as the doctors are investigating inside the plane, they discover that everyone has died, except four people. There is no logical reason though as to why these people died.

At the morgue, the autopsies have shown no logical reason as to why these people died. Also, the bodies have not begun to decompose at all. There is no evidence of rigor mortis. The next morning, the bodies of the dead are all missing. Again, there is no logical explanation.

Dealing with all this is demanding on Dr. Goodweather’s personal life. The demands of his career with the CDC have caused his marriage to fail and to now be fighting for the custody of his son.

Abraham Setrakian is an elderly, pawnbroker in Spanish Harlem who is a Holocaust survivor and a former professor. Abraham’s knowledge and research, as well as his supply of ancient and unusual weapons greatly boost the effectiveness with killing these vampires. Added to that is an exterminator, Vasily Fet, who views himself as the Savior of pest control. These two characters are definitely an asset in this story with their humanness and flaws.

Much of the story deals with the lives (or deaths) of the four survivors from the plane. When the story follows the experiences of these four, especially the father who was forced to kill his dogs, these glimpses into their everyday lives were added strengths to the reoccurrences of violence and death.

Guillermo Del Toro was born and raised in Mexico and studied filmmaking. He is known for his work on the film, Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy.

Chuck Hogan is a recognized and known author for books such as PRINCE OF THIEVES, DEVILS IN EXILE, THE KILLING MOON, and THE TOWN which won the Hammett Prize for outstanding crime writing. He lives near Boston.

THE STRAIN is the first book The Strain Trilogy written by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan. Although there is much violence and repetition of vampire attacks, the strength is the relationships between the characters. What I found amazing in THE STRAIN was how little action was occurring as the pages whirled by as I was reading. The descriptions were vivid. The characterization is the area that is outstanding in this novel.

I definitely look forward to the next installment in this trilogy.

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