It's been a while since I've had a book worth recommending. Part of that is from the fact that I've been re-reading old favorites lately (various Harry Potters and Jane Austens) and the other part is because I just finished watching Lost all the way through.
But I recently finished The Passage by Justin Cronin and it was so good! I couldn't put it down.
The premise is vampires. No, stop groaning. We're not talking twinkling, romantic vampires. We're not even talking Dracula. This is a very different spin on vampires. In The Passage, the US military is playing with a new strain of virus that has the potential to give human beings extra human strength and near-immortality (it simply slows aging to a fraction of our normal rate). In their quest to perfect the virus, they test on death row inmates. Most of their initial attempts end disastrously and the inmates end up as vampires - they grow claws, and fangs, and glow green and drink blood.
The book takes a post-apocalyptic turn when the inmates escape and begin eating and/or infecting the entire country. It's broken into two parts - how the outbreak occurred and 93 years later how the world is.
Structurally, it jumps around quite a bit and can be hard to follow. It feels a little disjointed at times. But the plot, premise and characters are inventive and detailed, making it an enjoyable read.
And yes, I did have nightmares about "virals" the night I finished reading it.