Vampires sure are hot these days, no??? Actually, when have they not been hot.?? But I???m not a fan of the conflicted, pretty boy vamps a la Twilight or The Vampire Diaries. I like my bloodsuckers mean and scary, the way they???re meant to be. So when I picked up Justin Cronin’s, The Passage, it was the perfect antidote to Meyer-mania.

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I tend to read mostly “literary” fiction these days, but I was drawn to The Passage when someone described it as ???The Stand meets The Road??? which really is an apt description (I read??a lot of Stephen King in my twenties). Cronin creates a vivid post-apocalyptic world, with colourful characters and really, really scary vampires (he calls them??”Virals”). I hadn’t read an epic book like this in a long time, and I???m so glad I loved it because I think it???s going to be BIG. And it???s the first in a trilogy, so lots more to come.

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There are two websites for The Passage: check out http://enterthepassage.com/ to learn more about the book.?? Visit http://www.findsubjectzero.com/ if you???ve already read it (and check out the scary video–if you watch frame by frame you get a glimpse of the Viral).?? You can follow Justin Cronin on Twitter here.?? See a transcript of??a live chat with Cronin here: http://live.nationalpost.com/Event/Live_Chat_Justin_Cronin_author_of_The_Passage.

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Speaking of vampires, I???m so happy True Blood is back! Just in the time for its return is Becca Wilcott???s True Blood Companion, Truly, Madly, Deadly. Wilcott has??written a really interesting, comprehensive package, with exclusive interviews (including author Charlaine Harris), episode guides??as well as??extensive essays including a look at the literary and cinematic histories of vampires, and an examination of themes of True Blood, such as the politics of race, sexuality, and gender.

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See an interview with Becca Wilcott here: http://arts.nationalpost.com/2010/06/09/becca-wilcott-is-ready-to-get-meta-on-true-blood/.

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Follow??Becca on Twitter here.

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