Apr 16, 2009

The Strain - Vampire Book Review

The Strain: Book One of The Strain Trilogy
by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan. William Morrow, June 2, 2009

The legend of Josef Sardu was told to Abraham Setrakian by his grandmother when he was a child. It is a scary tale to keep young ones in line. But perhaps there is more to it.

Years later Abraham and his Jewish family are forced to flee, when the Nazis occupy their Armenian homeland. Abraham was imprisoned in the death camp Treblinka where he saw human evil along with its supernatural counterpart. He witnessed a dark ominous figure use the cover of night to enter the barracks and drain the blood of dying inmates. He knew this monster to be Sardu, and he vowed vengeance against this malicious entity,one more powerful than the Nazi oppressors.

Move forward to modern times. JFK International Airport. Flight controller Jim Mendes safely shepards inbound flight Regis 753 onto the runway. From that moment on all contact with the jumbo jet is lost. Port Authority fire fighters hasten to the scene. They find a plane completely dark. No beacon lights, no lights in the cockpit, no lights in the cabin, no sounds from the engines. All the window shades are closed. Like the plane is dead. Other emergency personnel are called including Dr Ephraim Goodweather of the who is in charge of the Centers for Disease Control rapid response team. There is an agonizingly long time before the only hatch that can be opened from the outside is unsealed. No one is prepared for what is found inside and no one knows how such a catastrophe could happen.

Now residing in New York City, at the same moment flight 753 landed, Abraham immediately sensed the overwhelming presence evil. For years he had readied himself for this day, but to fight the monster he will need help. How can he convince anyone with his tales of horror and what terrible things that must be done to destroy this abomination and his minions.

The Strain captured me right from the beginning. The suspense and terror build relentlessly until the authors allow a little breathing room by giving background information on various characters. Sometimes these ruminations went on a bit too long. I was anxious to get back to the action.

You will not find any romanticized brooding vampires here. These undead are evil through and through. There is no depth to their darkness. Even Count Dracula's nastiness pales in comparison. But Dr Abraham Van Helsing, Bram Stoker's character who alerted others to Dracula's undead status, does have a terrific counterpart in the persona of Abraham Setrakian.

The thriller, action writing comes from the pen of Chuck Hogan, but it is the imaginative mind of Guillermo Del Toro that adds the flavor of the fantastic. This is the perfect book for a dark and stormy night.

The Strain: Book One of The Strain Trilogy
is book one in a trilogy.


Ruth Schaller said...

I read this book too! I loved it and can't wait for the next book!

SciFiGuy said...

I remember the movie announcement. Good to know it wasn't hype and that the book is good!

Patricia Altner said...

Hi Ruth

It's quite the page turner, isn't it?

Patricia Altner said...

Hi Doug

The Strain is definitely a cinematic novel. Easily turned into a movie. Or maybe the film script came first. Dunno.

Anyway it does suck you in.

Vickie said...

I added this to my Wanton Book Yearn List yesterday when I saw a review for it. Now I can add your initials as a recommend and it gets highlighted for an immediate get when it comes out in MPB or if it shows up at the library.

Patricia Altner said...

Hi Vickie

I have no doubt that libraries will be ordering multiple copies.

I always encourage people to use their public library. For many years I worked as a librarian. It is now part of my DNA.