My LibriVox recordings & my reading journal (solo Litblog).

The Strain. My journal notes. Post 2

book cover for The Strain
My journal notes on The Strain.
Post 2.

(finally got a new ereader, and set it up just so)

JFK International Airport

At JFK, two primary members of Eph’s team are introduced.

Nora (Martinez), a biochemist by training, was his number two in New York.

She’s also the epidemiologist of the team.
The other being Jim Kent, not sure what his specific job title is but he seems to handle everyone not directly involved with the CDC investigation.

Jim handled the bureaucratic and political side of disease control for Eph.

It seems he’s efficient at his job too, keeping Eph abreast of all the latest intelligence.
One thing that is news, is the information regarding the air marshall on board. It seems that the armed officer didn’t even have time to send out a warning before the plane went completely dark. That in itself is an unusual event, and has everyone very nervous.
Everyone agrees, whatever it was, it works fast.

Now ordinarily, the next passage of text would seem superfluous, but thankfully, it ends up describing not only the dressing in a hazmat suit, along with why each layer is needed & the protocols needed to remain isolated from the external hazards, but also the nature of Eph’s relationship with Nora. Both being similar to onion layers. It seems that Nora may bloom from an “in the trenches” love affair to something more involved. I suppose it depends on how fast the “strain” infects the general populace, and what is to become of Zack.

“The federal air marshal,” Jim said into his microphone. “Last name Charpentier. Exit row, window seat.”
“Got it,” Eph said.

A second red dot. “TSA pointed out this other passenger of interest. A German diplomat on the flight, Rolph Hubermann, business class, second row, seat F. In town for UN Council talks on the Korean situation. Might have been carrying one of those diplomatic pouches that get a free pass at customs. Could be nothing, but there is a contingent of Germans on their way here right now, from the UN, just to retrieve it.”

This book was published in, 2010?, so even while writing it there seems to have been a Korean situation, and even now while reading this book, there is a Korean situation. Ah, the crazy world of politics, makes me wonder how we’ve managed to avoid a nuclear winter, but I digress, my apologies.

If the diplomat is carrying one, I do wonder what’s in the diplomatic pouch, but I’m guessing it’s a small red herring and perhaps the remains of a chocolate bar 😉

The diplomatic pouch Jim mentioned was in the briefcase beneath his seat. It was blue and vinyl with a zipper along the top.
Nora approached him. “Eph, you’re not authorized to open that”
Eph unzipped it, removing a half-eaten Toblerone bar and a clear plastic bottle full of blue pills.
“What is it?” Nora asked.
“My guess is Viagra,” said Eph, returning the contents to the pouch and the pouch to the briefcase.

Ha! I just knew some sort of chocolate bar would be in there, the viagra is a cool & amusing idea.

Who opened the cockpit?
Since the pilots seem to be incapacitated too, how come this door is open? An airborne pathogen can’t open doors.
The reasons aren’t clear for anyone, and I can only imagine the confusion surrounding so many deaths. Eph and his team are probably facing the most difficult case of their careers.

And then, without warning, Eph finds a survivor!
Well I didn’t expect that.


The boy from the beginning of the book resurfaces as an old man. A boy who became a professor, and is now the owner of a pawnbrokers shop.

Many years before, in Warsaw and later in Budapest, there was a man named Abraham Setrakian who had been an esteemed professor of Eastern European literature and folklore. A Holocaust survivor who survived the scandal of marrying a student, and whose field of study took him to some of the darkest corners of the world.

Now, an aged pawnbroker in America, still haunted by unfinished business.

As happenstance, across the river from JFK International Airport. How convenient that Sertrakian procured a building in just the right location, opposed to being on the other side of the country, or even on another continent.
He has managed to aquire tools, armaments and other paraphernalia, he has the tools for his revenge.
But he’s an old man, arthritic and alone. Will he be capable of personally exacting his revenge? or will he instead have to teach Ephram Goodweather all he knows about the horror that awaits.
All in all, Abraham Sertrakian is the antithesis of Peter Cushing’s sprightly, athletic Van Helsing.

Author: raven

Anonymous ;-)

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