It's possible that we're still in the midst of our end-of-Lost letdown, but The Passage (Ballantine Books) holds shadows of the stranded-on-an-island television epic. Justin Cronin's novel is a post-apocalyptic journey tale with phantom radio signals, cryptic strings of numbers, "special" children, love triangles, battles between good and evil, discussions of the importance of letting go, and people who seem to live forever without aging. There are even polar bears. Unlike Lost, Cronin's story also has vampires—and not the kind that might be played by actors who could be featured on the cover of Teen Beat magazine. These vampires are created by a military super-soldier experiment gone horribly wrong, and The Passage follows—through third-person narrative, journals, and newspaper articles—the aftermath of the vampires' path of destruction across the United States (and perhaps beyond?). As with Lost, by the time you get to the end, you realize that more than obscure literary references, cryptic oracles, and mythology, the story was really about the characters and their relationships all along.
Thu., June 17, 7 p.m., 2010