Piercing the Darkness: Undercover with Vampires in America Today

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9780061059452: Piercing the Darkness: Undercover with Vampires in America Today

By day they are accountants, secretaries, lawyers.But by night, they transform into creatures of the darkness,purveyors of the surreal where flesh and fantasy meet.

They are vampires.

Going beyond the scariest imaginings of Anne Rice, clinicalpsychologist and journalist Katherine Ramsland takes youon a mesmerizing, personal tour deep inside the little knownyet growing "vampyre" subculture that exists today in citieslike your own.Discover a society you never believed existed.Find out what these people do, and why they do it. Visitmembers-only clubs where "liquid electricity"--blood--isthe favored currency of intimate exchange, and share in"feeding circles." Meet lovers whose sex toys are razors andstraps and others who reject normality the way manydenounce the practices they hold sacred. You may thinkyou've seen or heard everything. You may even think you'reunshockable. You're wrong.

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Review:

Katherine Ramsland sets Piercing the Darkness up as a story about Susan Walsh, a wannabe journalist who mysteriously disappeared while researching "real" vampires. While that story line ultimately sees less light than the vampires themselves, Ramsland's rambunctious, rambling tales of nightclubbing, international travel, and meticulous wardrobe selection among the creatures of the night provide ample entertainment. The book traces her circuitous route through AOL chat rooms, Paris's underground tunnels, and any number of goth and "vampyre" clubs, pursuing leads and hunches that seem to materialize from thin air. What the story might lack in integrity, it more than makes up for in sheer strangeness.

With each new foray by Ramsland (previously noted for celebrating Anne Rice in several books) into the unknown, we are treated to fascinating insights into the personalities and motivations of people who might well be the world's most devoted fans of Rice's supernatural melodramas. Ramsland is admirably guileless throughout, throwing herself, body and soul, into situations that would run counter to most people's common sense. In one memorable scene inside an exclusive S/M club, Ramsland concludes an evening of research by treating a female masochist to a good, solid whipping. A rollicking story of blood, sex, violence, and fashion in all their various combinations. --Lisa Higgins

About the Author:

Katherine Ramsland has written a dozen books and numerous articles and short stories. In the past year she has been editing Vampyre Magazine. After publishing two books in psychology, Engaging the Immediate and The Art of Learning, she wrote Prism of the Night: A Biography of Anne Rice. At the same time she had a cover story in Psychology Today on our culture's fascination with vampires. She followed the biography with several guide books to Anne Rice's fictional worlds including The Vampire Companion: The Official Guide to Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles and The Anne Rice Reader. Her last book before Piercing the Darkness was a biography of Dean Koontz called Dean Koontz: A Writer's Biography. She has also written for The New York Times Book Review, The Writer, The Horror Show, The Newark Star Ledger, The Trenton Times, and Publishers Weekly. Ramsland has a master's degree in clinical psychology and a Ph.D. in philosophy. She has been a professor at Rutgers University, a therapist, and a psycho-educator specializing in the psyche's shadow side, and is currently at work on another master's degree--this one in forensic psychology. She lives in Princeton, NJ.

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