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IF NEW YORKERS SEEM OVERLY CONCERNED with the possibility of another terrorist attack, and the threat of an encroaching flu pandemic from abroad, accomplished filmmaker-turned-novelist Guillermo del Toro’s first plunge into the literary end of the pool is poised to bridge those two anxieties into one seemingly plausible catastrophic fear for the Big Apple (and the world beyond), by blending the threat of one-thousand 911s with the viral capacity of the Black Plague to the tenth power. (Click on the illustration below for an excerpt from the book)

Guillermo del Toro's 'The Strain'

‘The Strain’ written by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan.

Given Del Toro’s prior background as production designer, and Hogan’s adept skill at multitasking detail, THE STRAIN (Morrow, $26.99) moves visually like the storyboards taken from a film.

Compared to the creatures that inhabit THE STRAIN, Bela Lugosi’s Dracula was a shoeshine boy. These are not your grand-father’s Vampires.

Unlike his previous foray into the commercialized vampire genre with Blade 2, here Del Toro omits the superhero who will counteract the vampire’s super

Slow start during first quarter of book, then picks up steam. But these are not your father’s vampire. Or the ones you’ve come to know, even in the era of 30 Days of Night.

Together, Guillermo and Hogan have weaved a engaging horror/thriller.

You won’t find patrician figures looking to seduce their victms with their piercing eyes or elegant European accents, or dressed in Dolce Gabbana, for that matter. Compared to the creatures that inhabit THE STRAIN, Bela Lugosi’s Dracula was a shoeshine boy. These are not your grand-father’s Vampires.

Del Toro and Hogan have re-imagined, reinvigorated, and quite frankly, reinvented the vampire genre.

* more hogan than Guillermo

* This will especially appeal to anyone from or familiar with New York City. The story carries you from JFK Airport to the Bronx and Queens to Vesey Street down in Tribeca or the very heart of Times Square.

* BLADE 2 meets CSI.

If blood makes you quesy and your skin isn’t too think, STAY AWAY from this trilogy. If, however, the reverse is true: if you have a pencient for being creeped out, if you’re a fan of macabre detail on a CSI level, and if you want to experience the next evolution of the Vampire species, this book IS A MUST READ!

While there are still two more installments yet to be released (2010 & 2011), one can’t escape the fact that the high-concept approach and visuals of the novel are prime material for a blockbuster film franchise (view the book trailer below). I imagine the storyboards are already tucked away in the den of Del Toro’s museum-like California home (or scattered throughout his famous sketchbooks). I wait with baited breath for the news that the THE STRAIN trilogy has been greenlit for production. In the meantime, I’ll just wait for the next installments.

Edwin Pagán
Edwin "El Miedo" Pagán is the Founder-In-Chief of LATIN HORROR. Pagán is a writer, filmmaker and life-long horror fan. In 2008 he founded LATIN HORROR, an online niche market website specializing in Latin-influenced horror, its documentation, and promotion as a distinct genre. Pagán is at the forefront of the Latin "Dark Creative Expressionist" movement, a term he coined as a means of identifying the millions of lost souls who live outside the rim of mainstream society and whose lifestyle and work is grounded in horror, the macabre, and gothic arts. Currently, he is penning a book entitled 'MIEDO - The History of Latin Horror.' Trivia: He is noted for ending his written correspondence with the offbeat salutation 'There will be SANGRE!'

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