The Strain, Guillermo Del Torro & Chuck Hogan, Harper Fiction, 978-006155824-5, 585 pgs

Guillermo del Toro - Signing

The Strain is not so much a retelling of Dracula as it is a modernization. The names have been changed but the situation remains the same. A Boeing 777 jet suddenly stops dead on the runway at JFK airport. When the authorities arrive they find a plane full of dead people. Dr. Eph Goodweather, head of a CDC rapid response team charged with investigating biological threats , boards the plane and can only conclude that some new pathogen has has caused this. When the dead start to reanimate it occurs to Goodweather that perhaps he has more on his hands than just another virus. His warnings go unheeded and New York City is thrown into quarantine as the newly dead quickly seek out those they loved to infect them as well. Soon the city is in chaos and no one seems to want to believe what is happening. Nothing in the crisis manual works and when Goodweather meets an old man, a holocaust survivor who tells him this is nothing less than an invasion of vampires, things really start to get interesting. It quickly comes down to Goodweather, his assistant, his son, the old man and a few others to figure out what to do and whom to do it to before the tipping point is reached and humanity becomes no more.

If you think you already know this story because or your familiarity with the Dracula legend then you will want to think again.  Guillermo, who is best known as a film director, and Hogan, have taken all the old tropes and brought them up to date in a very thrilling fashion.  While they stick fairly closely to the original plot, the changes in setting and shifts in character really make this a brand new story, or at least make the story available to new audiences.  This is the first book in a trilogy so you will have to be prepared to wait for the conclusion, although the second book is out now and the third is in the pipeline so the wait should not be overly long.

I found myself enjoying this book, after first thinking that there was no way they could redo such a classic with any success.  But, the pacing is very well done, the updating is logical and well crafted and the story is both creepy and fascinating at the same time.  The second book, The Fall, is due out in October of 2010 in hardcover with the third installment, The Night Eternal, coming out in 2011.  If you like a good horror/thriller than I would definitely recommend this series.  The characters are charming, the writing is very good and the story is classic.


About damnaliens
Writer, reviewer, home provider to the Damnaliens

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