Monday, December 27, 2010

The Fall


The Fall (hardcover)
Authors: Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan
Publisher: William Morrow/Harper Collins/$13.49
Date of Publication: 2010
Reviewed by James J. Gormley (member, National Book Critics Circle)

In this second installment in The Strain Trilogy, The Fall, Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan deliver a suckfest that is powerfully written, marked by amazingly well crafted dialogue, enhanced by extensive plot and character development, and paced as only the very best horrific thrillers can be.

In addition to our previous cast of main characters --- Abraham Setrakian, a modern-day Van Helsing; Drs. Ephrain Goodweather and Nora Martinez, now renegade CDC plague specialists who are on a mission to try to kill the renegade vampire Ancient, Sardu, and to recover an ancient text that could save humanity or spell its final doom; Vaily Fet, the toughest pest control specialist ever employed by NYC; Eph's wife (Kelly) and their son (Zack); and the Master --- there are also other characters that have emerged with larger roles and new characters completely.

One of the most colorful of the new characters is Angel, an ex Lucha Libre professional wrestler from Mexico who fights alongside a collection of "good" vampires who want the Master dead, too. One of the most despicable new characters is Eichhorst, an abysmally evil Nazi vampire who almost (only almost) makes Sardu look less horrific by comparison.

As to what drew Sardu to the Nazi concentration camps during World War II, to begin with, Setrakian reflects: "Man's own inhumanity to man had whet the monster's appetite for havoc."

Academy Award-winning director, del Toro, and award-winning author, Hogan, once again prove that they have crafted a living, pulse-pounding work of dark beauty drawing from the ashes of inhumanity's past and today's greatest fears.

We are left to wonder as to which demon is truly the worst, after all.

Readers of The Strain will want to pick The Fall up right away, and will await the last installment with fearful anticipation.