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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2009 Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan (P)2009 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Allan
  • mesa, az, United States
  • 12-29-09

The Strain

Outstanding! Was expecting the typical 'Vampire' tale, eventho the 'Vampires' shared some of the blood-sucking characteristics as the hybrid/mutations in "Blade 2" which was a 'Guillermo' film, Ron Pearlman's narration was AWESOME as was his role in the before mentioned film, also there were other character/storyline simularities, it has been one of the best listens in a last few books :) Can't wait for the next one!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Leiah
  • Golden, CO, USA
  • 12-10-09


I am a huge Perlman fan, and admittedly picked this up because of his reading. I find most vampire novels these days to be more about the sex than about the story, which I find to be incredibly boring. However, I was more than pleasantly surprised by "The Strain". Believable, good historical background. I can hardly wait for the next installment!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • jonathan
  • atlanta, GA, United States
  • 10-01-09

all i can say is wow

what an amazing book, it had me from start to finish. i cant wait till the 2nd in the series arrives. ron perlman is great as the narrator.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Alma
  • piscataway, NJ, United States
  • 07-24-09


I LOVE horror books, Zombies, Witches, Wolves & most of all VampS! I have read ALL kinds of different twists and ideas on all of them. This my friends is an edge of your seat ride! I listen to all my books while I work or I would never get to read anything. Ron Pearlman is the narrator, & let me tell you he is GREAT! If you like a good page turner, this one is for you!Another really AWESOME read (well 2 really) Scott Sigler's INFECTED & the follow-up CONTAGIOUS.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Susan
  • Concord, NC, United States
  • 07-10-09

The first book in a series

I think some of the negative reviews are in part that this is only the first book and the story does not completely end. I think this was a wonderful story. Leave it up to Guillermo Del Toro to take the romantic out and put the horrifying back into vampires.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Too many cliches

What starts out as a new, exciting take on vampires devolves to "the Master," a character wholly inconsistent with the premise that vampires are living viruses.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Expected a lot more

I bought this because of the reference to Pans Labyrinth which was pure genius from start to finish. The Strain is far from it. The narration was really irritating and, as others have said, monotone. No sense of excitement or emotion in the reading. The writing did not live up to expectations. Too many examples of people dying at the vampires hands followed a set pattern and became formulaic. I was saying to myself, 'Yes, yes, get on with it. Boring.' The music at each chapter was exactly the same and I have never been so irritated by a piece before. I was getting relieved to get near the end when low and behold it's a triology. Very disappointing and if it had been half the story that Pans Labyrinth had been it would have been 10 times better than this effort. I was also thinking that this has pretty much been done/said before and was a bit cliched. Nothing really new and surprising. The point when they are fighting the Vampire Boss, and what happens at that point is the most ridiculous thing i have ever heard/read even in this story.

22 of 29 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Compelling Content, Predictable Structure.

Between Anne Rice's feminization, Charlene Harris' corporatization and Stephanie Meyer's pallid adolescent romanticism, vampires have been cruelly defanged of late. It's nice to come across a new take on the vampire convention that harkens back to a more robust, malevolent and truly alien creature.

I enjoyed The Strain. Although the main character suffers from the same disease that most modern heroic thrillers do of late (unflawed save for the rather tired meme of conflict between work and family), it is a well written if predictably characterized tale. The archetypal vampire hunter, a holocaust survivor, is admirably crafted and probably the freshest part of the story.

Regarding the villains of the piece, they do suffer from the same, rather predictable motivations: the living villain wants immortality (without possessing Renfield's insect-munching charm) and the undead one seems to have a penchant for world domination. Ho hum.

Nonetheless, the tale is nicely detailed and well enough written and paced to keep you listening and caring about the outcome.

My only real disappointment came in the final showdown where the hero was more concerned with treating heart failure than seeing to the destruction of the undead villain. This sort of tension-building ploy is annoying and transparent and explains why Mr. Del Toro's work is probably better on screen than in print.

Ron Perlman is an outstanding reader. His accents are good without being overdone and he remains a transparent vehicle for the story. The best sort of audio book narration.

12 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Not Bad

Not really a fan of this type of book but found this one to hold my interest.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Good start - and big drop

The opening of this novel is very chilling, engaging and filled with promises for things to come.

Unfortunately this quickly changes into a "Night of the Living Dead" copy that just failed to keep me interested.

I liked the narrator - he kept me going when the story already failed me.

Suggestion: Listen for the first 30 minutes, then delete the file. It will make for a good open ended thrilling short novel ;-)

8 of 11 people found this review helpful