Pretty much everything Guillermo Del Toro does gives us massive boners here in the Sewer, so when it turns out he’s concocted (with award-winning author Chuck Hogan) a work of horror fiction, it’s pretty damn big news.
That it’s the first in an epic trilogy from one of the best and most reliable publishers out there only adds to it.
Readers of this site know good and well how tired of vampires I am. I haven’t seen a good one on the page in a long time (Let the Right One In and… well Blade 2 are recent examples of vampires done right). This just might reverse the trend. In fact I have supreme confidence it will.
Here’s the premise, and after that a video introduction from Guillermo himself as well as some early reviews of the book:
The visionary creator of the Academy Award-winning Pan’s Labyrinth
and a Hammett Award-winning author bring their imaginations to this
bold, epic novel about a horrifying battle between man and vampire that
threatens all humanity. It is the first installment in a thrilling
trilogy and an extraordinary international publishing event.
They have always been here. Vampires. In secret and in darkness. Waiting. Now their time has come.
In one week, Manhattan will be gone. In one month, the country.
In two months—the world.
A Boeing 777 arrives at JFK and is on its way across the tarmac, when
it suddenly stops dead. All window shades are pulled down. All lights
are out. All communication channels have gone quiet. Crews on the
ground are lost for answers, but an alert goes out to the CDC. Dr. Eph
Goodweather, head of their Canary project, a rapid-response team that
investigates biological threats, gets the call and boards the plane.
What he finds makes his blood run cold.
In a pawnshop in
Spanish Harlem, a former professor and survivor of the Holocaust named
Abraham Setrakian knows something is happening. And he knows the time
has come, that a war is brewing . . .
So begins a battle of
mammoth proportions as the vampiric virus that has infected New York
begins to spill out into the streets. Eph, who is joined by Setrakian
and a motley crew of fighters, must now find a way to stop the
contagion and save his city—a city that includes his wife and
son—before it is too late.
director Del Toro (PAN’S LABYRINTH) and thriller writer Hogan (THE KILLING MOON)
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.”
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.”
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
one’s sure to get a lot of interest…. The story offers a solid mix of horror
and thriller elements…. The first installment of a projected trilogy…. You
should expect to wait in breathless anticipation of volume 2. With a movie
likely in the offing, this could become the next big horror franchise.”
your heart medicine close: THE STRAIN may sneak up on you—and it’s scary enough
to kill. I loved it.”
— Gregory Maguire, bestselling author of A
LION AMONG MEN and WICKED
del Toro and Chuck Hogan have crafted a deliciously creepy story that will
literally make the hairs on your neck stand up. THE STRAIN is Bram Stoker meets
Stephen King meets Michael Crichton. It just doesn’t get much better than
— Nelson DeMille
first in a trilogy that soars with spellbinding intrigue. Truly, an
unforgettable tale you can’t put down once you read the first page. I can’t
wait until the next one.”
— Clive Cussler
and apocalypse mix in a terrifying story that feels like it was ripped from
today’s headlines. Vividly wrought and relentlessly paced, THE STRAIN haunts as
much as it terrifies. I cannot wait to see where Del Toro and Hogan take us
— James Rollins, New York Times bestselling
author of THE DOOMSDAY KEY
few decades the vampire genre grows a tad anemic, as it were, and the lore of
the Undead threatens to die on us. But then along comes a Richard Matheson or
Stephen King and…license renewed. This time around the reanimators are
Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan with their terrifying new novel, THE STRAIN,
an unholy spawn of I AM LEGEND out of SALEM’S LOT.”
Simmons, author of DROOD and THE TERROR