Non-Sexy Vampires Haunt Marie Gilbert’s Review of The Strain

bookI love vampire books and movies and yes, I’m a sucker for the romantic sexy vampires like Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard) and Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer) in HBO’s True Blood. In fact, Eric can nibble on my neck anytime he wants. I didn’t always think of those pale blood suckers as sexy, heck no! My first encounter with a vampire was at the Saturday Double Creature Feature offered by our neighborhood movie theatre.

Bela Lugosi was downright scary in his portrayal of Dracula. How scary, you ask? My siblings and I took all the garlic from my father’sBela_Lugosi_as_Dracula-2 grocery store and placed them around our beds. My father was not happy with his produce being used as a talisman against monsters. But as time went on, the vampires in books, movies and T.V. shows evolved into handsome, sexy men and women. They still sucked the life out of their victims, but did so in a more charming way. Yes, the sexy vamp was in…that is… until I read The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan. This book, about an ancient vampire, brought back all my old fears. I couldn’t sleep after reading just a few chapters and would have brought some garlic to bed with me, but my husband nixed my plan. What was different about The Strain? Find out after the jump.

The Authors

imagesWorld renowned Producer, Writer and Director, Guillermo Del Toro teamed up with American writer and 2005 Hammett Award Winner for Prince of Thieves, Chuck Hogan to write this horror trilogy which includes The Strain, The Fall, and The Night Eternal.

The Plot

The story starts with flight 753, a Boeing 777 from Berlin, preparing to land at the JFK airport. The Captain makes contact with the control tower and then lands. That’s where everything goes downhill. There is no further communication from the plane as it sits on the taxiway. All shades are pulled down and all electrical power is off, (this scene alone can bring on nightmares to anyone who has ever been forced to sit on a plane while it sat on the tarmac for hours). Authorities are not sure if they’re dealing with a biological mishap or terrorists, so they call the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention). In comes our heroes, Abraham Setrakian, Holocaust survivor and vampire slayer, who was almost killed while in a concentration camp by the monster, Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Eph), lead Epidemiologist of the Canary Project, which was set up to identify and control natural and bio threats, Dr. Dora Martinez a fellow Epidemiologist and Dr. Goodweather’s partner and Vasily Fet a pest control exterminator for the city of New York. When the CDC group is finally able to board the plane, everyone is dead except for four survivors, who all bear a strange incision on their neck. While in isolation, the survivors begin to display strange symptoms, but the bigger mystery faced by the CDC team is that the dead aren’t decomposing. The plot thickens with the disappearance of a very large dirt filled coffin, but this vanishing act doesn’t immediately send up red flags. Apparently, airport security never watched Creature Double Feature films. The survivors are released from the hospital against Ephraim’s warnings and the dead disappear from the morgue. Holy Bela Lugosi! Do you have your garlic ready?

The Vampire

Is Jusef Sardou, sexy? Heck no! He’s frightening and eight feet of ugly. Jusef, inflicted with a disease that caused his gigantism, was once a gentle Romanian nobleman, loved by the people of his village; that is until he met with one of the 7 original ancient vampires. Jusef Sardou has broken the truce with the other six ancients and with the help of billionaire Eldritch Palmer, is brought to the states on the ill-fated flight 753. In exchange for immortality, Eldritch Palmer enables Jusef Sardou to infect the populace of New York. The method used by the vampire to get blood, involves a very long appendage with a stinger. While the vampire is draining the prey (think juice box), he’s also adding a virus to the victim’s bloodstream, which changes the genetic makeup of the victim, and thus a new vampire. Our heroes must fight the clock to not only find and destroy Jusef, but (thanks to the voracious hunger of the newly turned) control the spread of the disease. It won’t be easy because the Master (Jusef) has an ally with Eldritch Palmer and his Stoneheart Corporation, but our heroes have Abraham who has battled the vampire before and knows what can kill this monster. I can’t wait to read the other two books in the trilogy, The Fall and The Eternal Night.


This book keeps you on the edge of your seat through the whole reading, but unlike HBO’s True Blood, there are no sexual escapades between humans and vampires. Nope, when a male human is turned, their man parts wither and fall off. A friend clued me in that Guillermo Del Toro and FX Network are in the process of bringing the Strain to life as a T.V. series and this should happen in 2014. Rumor has it that there is enough material in the trilogy to do three to five seasons. I’m in my glory! Vampires and zombies, oh my!

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