Fall, The

Guillermo Del Toro / Chuck Hogan
Harper
2011

It took the world just sixty days to end.  And we were there to account for it – our omissions, our arrogance…

The vampiric virus is spreading and soon will envelop the globe.  Amid the chaos, Eph Goodweather – head of the Centers for Disease Control’s team – leads a band out to stop these bloodthirsty monsters.  But it may be too late.  Ignited by the Master’s horrific plan, a war has erupted between Old and New World vampires.  Caught between these warring forces, powerless and vulnerable, humans find themselves no longer the consumers but the consumed.  At the center of the conflict lies an ancient text that contains the vampires’ entire history…and their darkest secrets.  Whoever finds the book can control the outcome of the war and, ultimately, the fate of us all.

The second book in the Strain trilogy by horror and fantasy auteur Guillermo del Toro and thriller writer Chuck Hogan continues the story began in The Strain, with mankind being subjugated by the Master, an ancient vampire that was one of the original seven Ancient Ones gone renegade, and by creating a vampire race that spreads quickly, thereby taking over all of human civilization.  The heroes from the first novel – an elderly Jewish vampire hunter, a troubled epidemiologist and a pest control specialist – are feeling the strain of this downward spiral, as they try to find the lost tome that could be the only means of defeating the Master – the Occido Lumen.  Meanwhile, the other Ancient Ones decide to step in with their own battle to defeat the Master, enlisting the help of gangbanger (and mac n’ cheese enthusiast) Gus Elizaide.

Being the middle part of the trilogy, I was expecting the continuing story to be rather bleak.  I mean, it’s about the fall of mankind to parasite-bearing vampires, and not the sparkly, brooding kind Twi-hards would expect.  Overall, The Fall works well to further the story, adding in a rather intriguing mystery behind the origins of the vampires, throwing in some interesting twists and turns, and in the end the situation looks worse than it did when we started up this part of the story.  Which is to say, pretty darn bleak.  The cliffhanger will make you clamor to get the final book to find out what happens.  Which, as it just so happened, was what I did at the same time that I bought The Fall.  Had to finish the trilogy.  But in any case, fine vampire thriller, for those of you who are sick of all of that glampire crap that’s out there.