Monday, May 31, 2010

The Strain

The Strain (hardcover)
Authors: Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan
Publisher: William Morrow/Harper Collins/$10.08
Date of Publication: 2009
Reviewed by James J. Gormley (member, National Book Critics Circle)

In this first installment in Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan's The Strain Trilogy, The Strain introduces us to a modern-day New York in which a number of convincing characters emerge to drive the action of this nail-biting bloodfest, including:
  • Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (head of a rapid-response CDC team that investigates biological threats, such as plague and viruses);
  • Abraham Setrakian (a Holocaust survivor who has been awaiting the coming vampiric plague for decades, and is ready for it);
  • Vasily Fet, a no-nonsense pest-control specialist; and
  • Dr. Nora Martinez, Eph's comrade-at-arms on the CDC team.
The story really begins when a plane lands at JFK on September 24th, 2010, and then goes completely silent, as in dead, which is when Eph and Nora are mobilized.

With only a handful of survivors and only precious little time in which to neutralize a plague of undead dimensions, Eph, Setrakian, Fet and Nora join forces, come what may, to combat a threat that endangers not only New York City ...  but the entire world.

The Strain is a nail-biter, to be sure, one which is enriched by deft touches that show a real familiarity with and love of New York City, such as the mention of Liebman's Deli, greatly appreciated by this blog's author, who lives in Riverdale and who loves Liebman's.

More importantly, Academy Award-winning director, del Toro, and award-winning author, Hogan, mange to breathe fresh life into the vampire mythos, an admirable feat indeed, and in the process create a new legend and begin a new story, the next installments of which this writer awaits with bated breath.