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The Strain: Book One of the Strain Trilogy
Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan
Narrated by Ron Perlman, unabridged
Harper Audio, 13.5 hours

The Strain: Book One of the Strain Trilogy
Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan
Born and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico, Guillermo del Toro made his feature directorial debut in 1993 with the film Cronos, and has since gone on to direct Mimic, The Devil's Backbone, Blade II, Hellboy I, Hellboy II, and Pan's Labyrinth, which garnered enormous critical praise worldwide and won three Academy Awards.

Chuck Hogan is the author of several acclaimed novels, including The Standoff and Prince of Thieves, which won the 2005 Hammett Award and was called one of the 10 best novels of the year by Stephen King. Prince of Thieves will soon be a major motion picture.

ISFDB Bibliography: Guillermo del Toro
ISFDB Bibliography: Chuck Hogan

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Gil T. Wilson

Let's start this review out by saying, "Whow!" That would be the combination of whew and wow together. The whew from the tension-filled time you will spend listening to this audiobook and the wow from your exclamation after hearing this re-imagining of the world of vampires.

Guillermo del Toro is the creator of such films as The Devil's Backbone, Blade II, Hellboy (I and II) and Pan's Labyrinth. He has teamed up with author Chuck Hogan (author of The Standoff and Prince of Thieves) to create The Strain. This book is the first part of what is slated to be a trilogy. I will attest to the fact that it can be treated as a stand-alone book with great action and a conclusion, but there's a cliff-hanger that will leave you wanting more. I plan to devour the next installments when they are released.

Ron Perlman, whom you may know as the star of the Hellboy movies, or maybe as "The Beast" in the TV series, Beauty and the Beast, does a very nice job of performing this book. At times, he almost seems monotone in quality, but that is easily justified as he is allowing the listener to interpret the story in his own mind. Don't get me wrong -- although monotone is necessary in some areas, Perlman can also deliver the action with a punch, slowing down at just the right pace for the tense moments and keeping his voice quality different for each character. He does a smash-up performance with the voice of Professor Abraham Setrakian, a survivor of a Holocaust death camp and now vampire hunter.

The story begins in a post-9/11 New York City where a Boeing 777 has landed at JFK airport. The landing is perfect and without event, however, once the plane begins taxiing, it just merely stops and loses all power. The air traffic controllers need the strip for other planes to land and, after repeated attempts at communication, send a baggage cart out to investigate. The driver of the baggage cart sees a dead airplane with no lights anywhere and all the window shades closed. The driver gets the feeling of being watched and immediately flees. Everyone suspects a hi-jacking or possible bomb, but when the team arrives to investigate they find that everyone on the plane is dead.

Dr. Eph Goodweather, head of CDC's rapid-response team that examines biological threats, is ordered to get his team on the plane and investigate. What he finds is a strain of parasite that could lead to the extinction of mankind. That strain of parasite is the authors' re-imagining of vampirism -- vampires are all controlled by parasites. Here we have more than just attacking vampires, there is a war being waged. Who will survive?

For over 13 hours, I was completely enthralled by great story telling -- a complex story line, intense drama and thrills. This has got to be one of the best vampire books I've heard in a long time. Bram Stoker had me scared. Stephen King's vampires had me startled. Anne Rice had me wanting to become a vampire. But after this one, I'm carrying silver, keeping an eye out and looking over my shoulder.

Copyright © 2009 Gil T. Wilson

Gil T. has spent a quarter of a century working in radio and has lots of spare time on his hands and reading or listening to books takes up all that time. Check out his blog to find out what he's up to at any given moment.

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