Last summer's big book was Justin Cronin's "The Passage," an apocolyptic vampire thriller written by a literary guy who had graduated from the Iowa Writers Workshop and had won a PEN Hemingway award and the Stephen Crane Prize.
Critics loved the lyrical writing and the luxurious length and the intelligence of the storyline. (Our own review, which you can read here, called it "an epic narrative that addresses philosophical questions.") Readers just loved the vampire thrillerness of it all.
The book is about a virus that nearly destroys the world, and a little girl who has the key to survival.
Cronin famously wrote the book after being challenged by his daughter to produce something that wasn't boring. She suggested he write about a girl who saves the world. Voila! He did.
Even though "The Passage" weighs in at nearly 800 pages, it's not the whole story ... the sequel, "The Twelve," comes out next year.
"The Passage" is now out in summer-readability-paperback, and Cronin is criss-crossing the country on tour. He'll be in Minneapolis at 7 p.m. May 25 at the Loft Literary Center, 1011 Washington Av. in Minneapolis.