How I spent my winter vacation, part 2: reading “The Strain”

strainEver since the show debuted a couple years ago, I’ve been wanting to read “The Strain” trilogy by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. If there’s one upside to having stomach flu, it’s having the time to read. Followed by a week off for Christmas vacation, I sailed through the first book.

“The Strain” is a fun, fast, at times intense, read. A mashup between the vampire/zombie/apocalyptic genres, the book starts with a frightening, ominous scene, a “dead” plane stuck on the runway, filled with lifeless passengers. I actually had trouble sleeping (and that says something for a horror junkie like me) after reading the beginning of this book.

Del Toro and Hogan start with this classically frightening scenario (for what is scarier than the unknown threat?), and very quickly build on it to craft a fast-moving, new take on vampire lore.

The main character, Ephraim Goodweather, is as flawed as he is likable. At once a failed family man and devoted father, he is quickly converted from rational scientist to a warrior driven to partial madness by an enemy he is only beginning to understand.

As I take a bite out of the second book, I have a lot of questions about the fate of these characters, and about the backstory of the Ancients. Unfortunately, now that I’m back to the daily grind, I don’t have as much time to read (and I certainly don’t want to get the flu again). I’m only about 5% in to “The Fall,” according to my 1st generation Kindle, but it seems to be equally engaging. I’ll follow up when I’m finished, so stay tuned.

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