“The Strain” by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan


If you’ve seen the movies Blade 2, Hellboy, or Pan’s labyrinth you will recognize the name.  Guillermo del Toro’s taken a jump from Movies to Books, but don’t expect anything less amazing!  Even without a camera he still manages to set up the chilling imagery and the heart-stopping horror.  This book (the first of a trilogy) strikes at childhood fears of the boogey-man and strange things in the closet, but also at the natural fight or flight instinct when confronted by basic fears (like being alone in a morgue).  A few times I had to put the book down and pull myself together.  I may be a huge horror fan but there are even things that freak me out and this book likes to touch on all of them.  That is what I found so phenomenal; most books and movies that are thrown under the “horror” genre really do not live up to the title.

Granted, the book IS about Vampires.  Due to the popularity of books like “Twilight”, “Vampire Academy”, and the “Vampire Diaries”, Vampires have been taken out of our nightmares and put into our daydreams.  That’s not where they belong.  Del Toro doesn’t write about the trendy new high-school sparkling Vampires, he writes about Viral Mutations with horrific appendages and super-human abilities. Think of the creatures in Blade 2, the ones that fed on Vampires and Humans alike …and you’ll have a basic idea of what the creatures in this book are like.

Del Toro has given horror back its greatest monster.

The book starts with the telling of a legend about a giant of a man who’s father takes him hunting.  No one returns from the Hunt, and later the giant’s journal is found telling of a creature slowly picking off the Hunting party. He goes to confront it and also dissapears.  He miraculously shows back up in the village, no longer crippled from his height, and only venturing out at night to lure children from their beds.

The story jumps ahead to present time, to an airport awaiting a flight.  The flight lands and suddenly all the power in the aircraft cuts out.  Security and emergency is called in to try to get the plane open and no one can get into it.  Panic sets in for the safety of the passengers so after phone calls and squabbles they finally get the okay to cut into the aircraft.

Everyone on the flight is dead.

Or so they thought.

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