Reviews for Strain
Booklist Reviews 2009 April #1
This one's sure to get a lot of interest. Del Toro, the acclaimed film director (Pan's Labyrinth), teams up with Hogan, the popular thriller writer (The Blood Artists), to reexamine, if not completely reinvent, the vampire novel. The story begins when an airliner lands at JFK and promptly goes dark. When investigators go aboard, they discover that nearly everyone is dead. The few survivors aren't doing so well, either--for instance, they all seem to crave raw meat. Some very odd discoveries are made about the bodies of the dead passengers, other people start acting oddly, and, well . . . mayhem ensues. The authors create an engaging cast of characters (the nominal lead is Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but pay close attention to Eldrich Palmer, a billionaire with some seriously weird ideas), and the story effectively mixes horror and thriller. This is the first installment of a projected trilogy, so don't expect anything to be neatly wrapped up at the end of the book. On the other hand, do expect to wait in breathless anticipation for volume 2. With a movie likely in the offing, this could become the next big horror franchise. --David Pitt Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews
Kirkus Reviews 2009 May #1
Film director del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth, 2006, etc.) and thriller writer Hogan (The Killing Moon, 2007, etc.) treat a vampire outbreak as a massive public-health crisis, with chilling results.When a plane arriving from Berlin goes completely black on the runway at JFK, losing all electrical power and contact with the outside world, authorities expect to find a tense hostage situation on board. Instead, they discover that almost everyone on the plane has mysteriously died, presumably during the very brief interval between the time it landed and the moment a SWAT team stormed the cabin. Suspecting a disease of some kind and fearing its spread, authorities call in Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, head of a CDC team set up to deal with just this sort of fast-moving, potentially catastrophic epidemic. What Dr. Goodweather and his team gradually discover, however, is something much stranger and potentially even more dangerous: a species of parasitic worm that gradually turns its host into a bloodthirsty something that very closely resembles a vampire. Soon they are operating well outside the realm of established science, especially after they team up with Abraham Setrakian, a Holocaust survivor and former academic who now operates a pawnshop in Spanish Harlem and has dealt with this sort of thing before. Armed with Setrakian's knowledge and an extensive arsenal of anti-vampire weaponry, the CDC team sets out to control the outbreak by attacking its source. The book boasts a plethora of arresting images and many terrific macabre touches. Del Toro and Hogan also succeed in constructing a driving plot and delivering a gripping conclusion. Great characters, a semi-plausible premise and a flair for striking scenes get this trilogy off to a first-rate start.Author appearances in Boston, Los Angeles, New York Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Library Journal Reviews 2009 February #2
Famed director Del Toro (Hellboy I & II, Pan's Labyrinth) and famed novelist Hogan (Prince of Thieves) have penned a humans-vs.-vampires thriller that opens a trilogy. Big foreign rights sales. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal Reviews 2009 May #2
Pan's Labyrinth director Del Toro and thriller author Hogan (Prince of Thieves) team up to launch the first volume of a modern-day vampire trilogy. The story begins onboard a grounded plane that has just landed at New York's JFK airport. Police and emergency medical crews are called to investigate the possible outbreak of a mysterious disease, which has killed all but four of the plane's passengers. Unknowingly, something more ominous is responsible for the carnage, which now threatens the city and soon the entire country. Unlike the sexy bloodsuckers of paranormal romances and the cuddly vampires of teen fiction, these undead creatures are slick, dark, and frightening. This novel reads like a story made for the big screen, and with writer/director Del Toro, that is entirely possible. Despite the somewhat slow start, the story builds up steam quickly, and fans of horror, vampire fiction, and Del Toro's Hellboy films will line up for this one. Buy multiple copies. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/09; Rayo will publish the simultaneous Spanish-language edition.--Ed.]--Carolann Lee Curry, Mercer Univ. Medical Lib., Macon, GA [Page 69]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2009 April #2
Director Del Toro (who won an Oscar for Pan's Labyrinth) makes a dramatic splash in his fiction debut, the first volume in a vampires vs. humanity trilogy, coauthored with Hogan (Prince of Thieves). Just as a jumbo jet on a flight from Germany to New York is touching down at JFK, something goes terribly wrong. When Ephraim Goodweather, of the Centers for Disease Control, investigates the darkened plane, he finds all but four passengers and crew dead, drained of blood. Despite Goodweather's efforts to keep the survivors segregated, they get discharged into the general population. Soon after, the corpses of the tragedy's victims disappear. The epidemiologist begins to credit the wild stories of Abraham Setrakian, an elderly pawnbroker who's the book's Van Helsing figure, and concludes that a master vampire has arrived in the U.S. The authors maintain the suspense and tension throughout in a tour de force reminiscent of Whitley Strieber's early work. (June) [Page 27]. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.