My review of Justin Cronin's new novel, The Passage, is in today's Los Angeles Times. It begins:
Chosen for both the Pulitzer Prize and coverage on "Oprah," Cormac McCarthy's post-apocalyptic novel "The Road" regularly appears in debates over genre carpetbagging. Should die-hard fans of a genre (in this case science fiction) be honored or annoyed when an interloper wanders onto their creative territory? The title of McCarthy's book indicates the path its father-and-son protagonists follow, but it might also symbolize the author's journey from revered offshoot of the Melville-Hemingway-Faulkner axis to de facto practitioner of end-of-the-world lit. Justin Cronin's ample vampire-virus saga "The Passage" also presents a vivid eschatology, while its title indicates an even more profound transformation of one sort of literary sensibility into another. Whether the transformation takes is one of the tantalizing aspects of "The Passage."
Side benefit of reading The Passage is discovering his terrific first (and non-vampire) novel, Mary and O'Neil. (What does it mean when your escapist reading itself requires an escape?)