Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading: The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

Tessa Bright Wildsmith

A Boeing 777 arrives at JFK on schedule with no problems. Suddenly it stops on the tarmac. The plane is dark, and the communication channels have gone quiet. Stumped for answers, with fears of biological threats, the CDC is contacted, and Ephraim Goodweather is called in. When Eph and his partner Nora board the plane, what they find makes no sense and scares them both beyond belief. Everyone on board is dead with no obvious cause.

Abraham Setrakian, a former professor and current pawnshop owner, sees the report about the plane on the news. He knows what has happened. He knows the truth about what killed all those people. He knows a war is coming. He’s been waiting on it for years. Setrakian is prepared, but now he has to convince Eph and the other people in charge that the plots from horror movies are about to become reality.

The ancient, underground war between humans and vampires has come to the surface and unless Eph and his team of unlikely fighters can find a way to stop this, New York, America and ultimately the world with fall.

“The Strain” is unlike any vampire book I’ve ever read. These are not the romanticized vampires with capes and fangs. These are blood-thirsty killing machines and nothing else. They have no thoughts or feelings other than feeding. They are created through a contagious virus which makes them even more terrifying.

Guillermo del Toro is best known for writing and directing the Oscar-winning film “Pan’s Labyrinth” where he proved he was a superb storyteller. Again with “The Strain,” del Toro proves his ability to draw you into a strange world that lies just below the surface of our everyday lives.

The pace is perfectly set. The tension builds slowly over the book, and the friction is almost palpable. Eph is an expertly drawn character. He’s flawed and passionate and full of fight. The whole motley crew of fighters Eph assembles is perfect in itself. There’s Setrakian, the wise professor; Vasiliy Fet, the exterminator who becomes and unlikely hero; the gangster-turned-vampire-hunter Gus. The author’s cast of characters keep the plot moving and the storyline interesting.

“The Strain” is the first in a trilogy. Book two is titled “The Fall,” and the third and final book, “The Night Eternal” is set to be released in October. “The Strain” does not end with any kind of conclusion so be prepared to have “The Fall” near by to continue the story.

With truly terrifying vampires, an expert plot and pace, and a tension that leaks from the pages, “The Strain” is a must read for anyone who enjoys the supernatural genre.

Have you read “A Secret Kept?” Discuss your thoughts on the book below.

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