The Strain by Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan

Posted July 6, 2014 | 42 Comments

The Strain by Guillermo del Toro & Chuck HoganThe Strain
Author: Chuck Hogan, Guillermo del Toro
Series: The Strain Trilogy #1
Published by: HarperCollins
Publication Date: June 2, 2009
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased

A Boeing 777 arrives at JFK and is on its way across the tarmac, when it suddenly stops dead. All window shades are pulled down. All lights are out. All communication channels have gone quiet. Crews on the ground are lost for answers, but an alert goes out to the CDC. Dr. Ephraim "Eph" Goodweather, head of their Canary project, a rapid-response team that investigates biological threats, gets the call and boards the plane. What he finds makes his blood run cold.

In a pawnshop in Spanish Harlem, a former professor and survivor of the Holocaust named Abraham Setrakian knows something is happening. And he knows the time has come, that a war is brewing.

So begins a battle of mammoth proportions as the vampiric virus that has infected New York begins to spill out into the streets. Eph, who is joined by Setrakian and a motley crew of fighters, must now find a way to stop the contagion and save his city - a city that includes his wife and son - before it is too late.

FINALLY! The Strain had eluded me since its release. I bought it when it was first published, read a few pages, and then lost the book. I eventually bought it again, and that copy disappeared before I could read it! So I gave up. I figured it just wasn’t meant to be.

That is, until October 3, 2011. I had a Kindle by then and I saw The Strain was one of Amazon’s deals, so I snatched it up. Third times a charm, right? Besides, no way could I lose it now. But then, it just sat there. For years it was neglected and ignored.

Then a few weeks ago I discovered it was going to air as a television series! That was it! I was going to read this thing no matter what. After years … five long years … I read it. You know what? It was really good! Thank goodness. Could you imagine if it had totally stunk after all that?

So. Vampires. They’re in this book. However, they’re nothing like those swoony vampires that have running amok. No, the vampires in The Strain are truly monsters. The author did a great job with them, they are preternatural, but can be explained scientifically. To an extent. I loved this! Untimely though, they are creepy suckers.

Dr. Ephriam Goodweather (we call him Eph for short) is a brilliant epidemiologist working for the CDC. All the guy wants to do is spend some time with his son, but no, he gets thrown into a shit storm when he’s called in to investigate a plane full of dead people. Not only did I like Eph, I liked the whole group of characters he aligns himself with. Mostly Abraham Setrakin, the old Holocaust survivor. This guy knows his stuff and surprised me with his badassery.

Eph, with the help of a couple others, race to stop the spread of an outbreak, but they are going up against something more evil than they could ever imagine. I don’t really want to get into what all went down, because, you know, spoilers. But I will say that it was very interesting and kept me engaged the entire time.

Yes, this is a horror, but it’s also a mystery/thriller. It isn’t all blood and guts and gore, it actually gets your heart pumping from the thrill, the anticipation of what going to happen next. That is what I love.

I also love the way the story is laid out. A lot. We get all angles of what’s going on throughout the book. As we follow Eph’s storyline, we also get to see what is going on with certain victims throughout the city. It was really cool, because it was like mini horror stories that were connected, and all fit together to form one big one.

Overall, I enjoyed The Strain a lot. It ended with a bit of a cliffhanger, so I plan to read the second book in the trilogy very soon. I guess there was a plus side to not reading it all those years ago. Now the entire trilogy is available so I don’t have to wait!

The series will start July 13th on the FX channel. I’m excited to see how they do with it. Guillermo del Toro is a good director, and I’m pretty sure he’s involved with that aspect. So I have high hopes.


Have you read The Strain? Do you plan to watch the series?


42 responses to “The Strain by Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan

    • Christy

      lol – I know, right? They are not the Edward kind of creepy. They are a totally different kind of creepy. The kind I love. 🙂

  1. I read The Strain and really loved it. It was such a different take on the vampire story. It is very original and I like that.

    It wasn’t until I saw your post that I realized I had forgotten to watch the tv series. 🙁

    I read book 2 which started off great, but I really didn’t like the way the series went. I couldn’t get into book 3. I won’t say why. I don’t want to ruin it for you. I will be interested, though, in what you think of the other 2 books.

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    • Christy

      The show doesn’t start until Sunday, so you haven’t missed it.

      Oh, now I’m even more curious about the next two books.

  2. While I’m glad to hear this one is not all gore and guts and has a great mystery/thriller vibe, I still think I’m way too much of a wuss to give it a try Christy! I’ve seen the previews for the show and they made me want to curl into a fetal ball and start rocking:) Glad that after the adventure you had trying to actually read this book over the years, you ended up enjoying it!

  3. Holy crap, Christy! I just about jumped out of my car from the preview alone (when the not-as-dead-as-you-though pilot on the airplane moved, and my cat was in my lap, LOL. That did not do good things for shorts weather! But man, I’m impressed. You’re pretty hardcore to read that. I don’t know if I am. On the one hand, vampires, but on the other hand, scientifically explained vampires. See I can usually handle scary if it’s not remotely possible. Make it scientific though . . . there’s a reason I hate zombies. Maybe. I’ll put it on my wishlist, and if I can get it for cheap, then . . . yeah, maybe 😉

    • Christy

      LOL – sorry about the legs. See, I actually like when there can be some truth or possibility to the monsters because it does add that extra element of creepiness. Don’t be a chicken, Jessica! 😛

  4. Haha, imagine if it was crap after all that time. But YES, evil vampires, how they should be. That’s why I always wait for a series to finish before reading it, at least you can read them all together that way. Just watched the trailer, and damn I’m watching it. Don’t know if its been picked up here, but I guess I can watch it online anyway.

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    • Christy

      That would’ve been so disappointing. Yeah, you should definitely try to watch it somehow. I have a feeling it will be good.

  5. I always say I’m not interested in reading medical thrillers, but I don’t think I’ve actually ever read one. This sounds like a book my mother-in-law would devour. Thanks for the recommendation!

    • Christy

      Lol – I know. I didn’t expect you to be interested in this one. You never know, though! 😉

    • Christy

      That’s what’s so cool about this – It’s a nice mix of mystery/thriller with a horror element. Just read with the lights on! lol

    • Christy

      Yes, definitely check it out. Well, I suspect one of the times I ‘lost’ it, it was actually snagged by someone else.

  6. I’ve wanted to read this since it came out as well! I’ve not had copies running away from me, though. 🙂 I’m glad it ended up being good, though, especially after all you went through to get around to reading it! I think I’m too afraid to watch the show, actually, since I can’t even look at the print ads. They scare me too much… Great review! 😀

  7. And that 5-year wait is absolutely worth it! YAY! This sounds awesome, I enjoy swoony vampires once in awhile but I love monsteriffic evil ones too! I like the idea of mini horror stories that connect together and I just watched the trailer and it looks awesome! I’m definitely checking this book out, hopefully before the series begins.

  8. When this book 1st came out I had a friend working at Borders. She was able to “take out” copies like a library. So, I read it & returned it to her. What happened next is a crazy tale, but as for the book..I enjoyed it. I was happy the vamps were TRUE monsters in every sense of the word. I loved Ephraim’s character &
    I saw Eph as an older guy in the book. IDK why but he struck me as an older soul. If that makes sense.
    As for the show, having only seen the 1st episode (until e2 on Sunday) I am excited the show will (seems to be so far) follow closely to the story & not deviate too far from the book.
    I am sure they’ll “Hollywood up” a few things, but that’s OK to an extent.
    Have you watched the premiere episode yet? Did you like it?
    Are you going to read book 2 in this series? Am I confused? I think theres a book 2….

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