ISBN: 9780007311293 : The Strain Trilogy #1
A plane lands at JFK airport and almost instantly it descends into darkness. Air traffic control get no response. It stopped dead on the runway. There are no lights, no engine noises, and no sounds. Response units break in and find a dead body. Instantly people’s thoughts turn to terrorism; is this some sort of gas attack? Or a biological agent?
Abraham Setrakian, the owner of a small downtown pawnshop is one of the few who knows the truth about the horror to come.
The reason I was interested in reading this book in the first place was because of the Del Toro name. Apart from that all I really knew about the book was that it was a vampire horror story. So I guess you could say I had both high expectations, and yet at the same time, I had no expectations at all. I was hoping for a good read, and I got one.
The events of the story happen over a few days, the virus that is vampirism quickly begins to take over New York, and the characters have a lot to learn. However, they do have help, Setrakian is an old enemy of the vampire. He first encountered one while locked in a concentration camp during World War II, and there are a few flashbacks to those events. But they are few in number, and do not slow the pace of the book. It zips along, easy to read, and with loads going on to keep you interested. And the vampires themselves are pretty cool. Not the average sort, I’ll let you read and discover all about them yourself.
The writing itself is never spectacular. But it is competent, and it feels grounded in reality, which is fairly important in a book like this. The mixture of science and horror really works, as does the reactions of the characters. Not just the main “heroes” but the victims and their families all react in different, and understandable ways. And it never really became too gruesome, I’m not a fan of torture-porn, in either films or books, so I was really hoping that that this wouldn’t go there. And it didn’t. There is one scene that I felt was a little over the top, but all in all the book was more atmospheric and creepy, rather than disgusting. At times you could say it is a little predictable, but I wasn’t looking for a “twist novel” so that’s okay.