Debbie's World of Books
My book reviews, book news & random rants

The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan

March 10th, 2009 by Debbie's World of Books


Thanks to Harper Collins for the opportunity to review this book!

I give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Description from A heart-stopping thriller-the first in a trilogy-about an invasion of vampires by one of Hollywood’s most popular and imaginative storytellers, the creator of the Oscar-winning Pan’s Labyrinth.

A Boeing 777 lands at JFK after a flight from Berlin and is on its way to the gate-when it suddenly goes dark. Just stops dead. The control tower loses contact with the pilot and all electrical activity shuts down. No movement or communication from inside. Nada. An emergency crew gathers, everyone watching the silent plane now bathed in floodlights. Then a sliver of black quietly appears on the fuselage. It’s a door opening from within.

Dr. Eph Goodweather, head of the CDC’s New York team, enters and finds a cabin looking like a winged graveyard where everyone appears to be dead. As he begins to remove bodies for transport to the morgue, four victims are discovered miraculously alive-and relatively unscathed apart from complaints of disorientation and a strange soreness.

But this is just the beginning

At the same time, Eldrich Palmer, director of the global Stoneheart Group, monitors the JFK scene on TV from his sickbed in Virginia. Pleased with what he sees, he sends for a helicopter for immediate transport to a Manhattan penthouse. In Queens, Eph’s ex-wife Kelley and their 11-year-old son ready themselves with the rest of the Eastern United States for the first total lunar eclipse in more than four hundred years. In a pawn shop in Spanish Harlem, a former professor and survivor of the Nazi concentration camps named Abraham Setrakian takes it all in. He knows that his time has come, that a war is about to begin, and that the Master is Here.

So begins an escalating battle of epic proportions as the vampiric virus that has infected the four survivors begins to ravage the city. Eph-guided by Setrakian, and joined by Vassily, a exterminator, Nora, Eph’s CDC colleague, and Gus, a Harlem gangbanger-fights his way through the next horrifying days, determined to save his wife and son before the Master succeeds in his unholy mission.

What can I say?  This book was awesome.  I could not put it down and cannot wait for the next book to come out.  This is definitely a different type of vampire story compared to what has been coming out recently.   When that plane landed and all systems go down you get that sense of impending doom.  You know it’s not looking good for any of the passengers or their family yet you cannot help but hope for some miracle that will save them.  The story was nicely paced to keep you engaged yet not feel rushed.  I also liked the fact that although there is some blood and gore the story doesn’t rely on that and instead utilizes just enough to get your imagination going.  When this book comes out I highly recommend it to those who like a combination of medical thriller and suspense novels.

Posted in Books, Thriller/Suspense

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  1. Lis

    I am sooooo jealous!!! :( When I first heard of this one I was immediately interested I mean -Del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy!!!!), any more reasons?

    Apparently I was right to have been so interested. I can’t wait to get my hands on this. :D Thanks for the review!

  2. dsuzuki

    LOL. I really hope you like it too after reading it. I really just got lucky in receiving a copy.

  3. fishcado

    I had a chance to read an advanced copy as well. For me it read more like a screenplay than a book.

    I enjoyed the opener where the grandmother tells the child a story while he’s eating his borsch (sp??).

    The beginning is suspenseful as the characters try to determine whether or not the passengers on the plane from Germany are victims of some mysterious virus or something else. However as the book goes on, I felt its uniqueness started to wear out. Not sure how he’s going to stretch this out into 3 books. GDT and CH do a good job of making you visualize what’s happening and is why I say I think this reads like a book that is ready to be adapted to screenplay.

  4. dsuzuki

    I was kind of surprised it would be 3 books. I think it could have been done in 1 or 2 but who knows what surprises are in store for the other books. I agree it is written in a way that would be readily adapted to a screenplay but I also liked how for the most part it kept moving along at a nice pace.

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