Bestselling author coming to Pass Christian

Author Erik Larson
Author Erik Larson MCT

One book has kept Pass Christian readers’ attention for months, and now its bestselling author is coming to town.

“Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania” by Erik Larson was the first selection for a new community reading program put together by the library and Pass Christian residents, called One Book One Pass. Several discussions and events themed around the book have been held over the past few months, and the author’s visit is the final culmination of the series.

“One Book One Pass isn’t a new concept; other communities have done something similar,” said Wendy Allard of the Pass Christian Library.

Author Margaret McMullan, who recently moved to the Pass after teaching at the University of Evansville, enjoyed a similar program in Evansville, Indiana. She suggested one be started in the Pass, and she has been working with Pass Christian Books owner Scott Naugle on the program while the library has been coordinating related events.

Allard said the parameters in selecting “Dead Wake” for the inaugural series include:

▪  availability in paperback

▪  appropriate for high school-age and older readers

▪  still-living author

▪  appeal to both men and women

For the past several months, chats with various themes have been held where readers discuss the book, and part of the funding was used to buy 200 copies of the book for high school students to read.

“Part of the One Book concept is for the author to come to the community,” Allard said. McMullan and Naugle arranged for Larson to come to the Coast.

Larson will be at the Randolph Center, 315 Clark Ave., Pass Christian, at 7 p.m. Oct. 5, where he will have a 50-minute presentation followed by a question-and-answer time.

“We’re keying this toward the Coast community, not just Pass Christian,” Allard said.

Larson lives in New York City and is known for combining history and fiction, creating suspenseful stories based on actual events.

“Dead Wake” tells the story of the sinking of the Lusitania, a Cunard superliner, in May 1915, during World War I. A German submarine fired a torpedo into the unescorted boat’s hull just off the coast of Ireland. Nearly 1,200 people died, including 128 Americans. “Remember the Lusitania” became a familiar rallying cry when the United States entered the war in 1917. But questions remained. How did one torpedo lead to two explosions on an ocean liner? Why was there no escort? Did the Lusitania hold secrets?

Larson also is the author of “The Devil in the White City,” “In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin,” “Isaac’s Storm” and “Thunderstruck.”

Tammy Smith: 228-896-2130, @Simmiefran1