Tuesday, July 14, 2009

"The Strain" Written by Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan

"The Strain"
Written by Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan
Read by Ron Perlman
Produced by Harper Audio
approx 13.5 hours.

Let's start this review out by saying, "Whow," that would be the combination of whew and wow together. The whew from the the tension filled time you will spend listening to this audio book. The wow from the exclamation you will expel from listening to this re-imagining of the world of vampires. Guillermo del Toro, creator of such films as "The Devil's Backbone," "Blade II," "Hellboy" (I & II) and "Pan's Labyrinth," has teamed up with author Chuck Hogan (author of "The Standoff" & "Prince of Thieves) to create "The Strain." This book is part one of what is slated to be a trilogy. I will attest to the idea that this audio book can be treated as a stand alone book with great action and a conclusion, but there is a cliff hanger that will leave you wanting more, thus the trilogy will be absorbed by me.

Ron Perlman, who 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 by the idea that he is allowing the listener to make the story in his mind. Don't get me wrong, monotone is necessary in some areas, but Ron Perlman delivers the action with a punch, slows down just right for the tense moments and keeps the voice quality different for each character. He does a smash-up performance in 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 widow shades closed. The drive 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 everyone on the plane dead.

Dr. Eph Goodweather, head of CDC's rapid-response team that investigates 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 what is delToro's & Hogan's re-imagining of vampirism. Vampires are all controlled by parasites. In this book there is more than just attacking vampires, there is a war being waged. Who will survive?

For the 13 plus hours it took to listen to this audio book I was completely enthralled by the great story telling, the complex story line and 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 and keeping an eye over my shoulder.

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posted by Gil T. @ 10:25 PM Comments: 0