Rice University professor and author Justin Cronin has entered the vampire craze with The Passage, a 766-page apocalyptic thriller involving bloodsuckers and those who fight them.
It's already been optioned for the movies, so financially the promotion-savvy Cronin hasn't had much to worry about as publication neared. But the author of two previous non-vampire, non-thriller books, like any author, obviously was hoping to be taken seriously.
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With a thumbs-up review from The New York Times to be published Sunday, Cronin has gotten his wish.
The review by Mike Peed of the New Yorker doesn't shy away from noting the cash-register instincts that no doubt led to writing a vampire novel, but says Cronin has turned in a solid effort.
"[I]n many respects, he has delivered the promised blockbuster. While it relies at times on convention, 'The Passage' is astutely plotted and imaginative enough to satisfy the most bloodthirsty reader," Peed says.
The reviewer seems hesitant to praise a vampire book too highly, but the end result is positive.
"Sustaining such a long book is a tough endeavor, and every so often his prose slackens into inert phrases ('his mind would be tumbling like a dryer')," Peed writes. "For the most part, though, he artfully unspools his plot's complexities, and seemingly superfluous details come to connect in remarkable ways."