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

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  313 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
In 1996, the investigative reporter Susan Walsh vanished without a trace while researching New York's vampires. In Piercing the Darkness, Katherine Ramsland examines the journalist's frightening disappearance.
Published October 6th 1999 by HarperTorch (first published September 23rd 1998)
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Autumn Christian
Jun 03, 2014 Autumn Christian rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
What started out as an intriguing premise to investigate the murder of Susan Walsh at the hands of a secret vampire organization quickly degenerated into an cacophony of visiting vampire/goth clubs, talking to delusional people who liked to drink blood, and getting late night phone calls from a man who was clearly a pathological liar.

Yes, it definitely did "Pierce the Darkness", in the fact that vampires, if they exist, are good at hiding, and the people who come forward are attention seekers, p
Jan 13, 2013 Kayt rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
This book is the perfect way to introduce you to the Awful Library Books blog. It should really be weeded--for a book that's not about technology, it has aged surprisingly badly.

I mean, it was definitely more timely when it was published in 1998. This author got involved in her investigation-turned-participatory-journalism after hearing about the 1996 disappearance of Susan Walsh, a woman similarly studying and writing about the vampire subculture. But fifteen years later, I as a reader couldn
Brad Middleton
I was one of the many people whom Ms. Ramsland contacted as she was researching this book. My website, "Vampyres Only," had a thriving forum community at the time, with role players, sanguinists, and everything in between. This was a ground-breaking book at the time, and is still a worthwhile read IMHO.
Christy Stewart
Very fair and responsible study on vampirism. Refreshing read from someone outside of the community.
Jan 02, 2009 P. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfic
I'd read Ramsland's book on ghosts and ghosthunting and found her overly involved style of investigative journalism to be charming, but in Piercing the Darkness she's all over the map. She not only gives up on the narrative hook (the disappearance of another vampire-investigating journalist) less than halfway through the book, she also can't seem to organize her thoughts in a way that makes the book meaningful or coherent past its function as a type of travel journal of her vampire tour as she m ...more
Apr 18, 2009 Dreadlocksmile rated it did not like it
The author Katherine Ramsland examines the dark subculture of real life vampires in this potentially very adventurous and unique study. Unfortunately she seems to fall short of creating a gripping and informative book and instead jumps from one almost trivial and over hyped piece of subject matter to the next. The book skirts around the principles of this dark community, with no sense of direction and little purpose. The book ends disappointingly, with many questions hanging in the misty air of ...more
Frank Chadwick
Jul 06, 2014 Frank Chadwick rated it really liked it
A rare case of non-fiction that had me riveted. In 1999 I was involved in a staged production of "Dracula", which involved a set design reflective of contemporary gothic culture. For inspiration, the cast had attended the Long Black Veil night at the club Mother in NYC, which I found fascinating. I came across this book a few weeks later and was excited to see that Katherine Ramsland had been at the same club to do research for this book. As someone who is truly interested in the subject, I am ...more
Jul 21, 2010 Morgan rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jesse Wright
Aug 19, 2010 Jesse Wright rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
I admire Kate Ramsland a lot. This book is not a dissapointment. The interviews were real and honest. The sub culture was examined from evry possible point of view, at some risk to the author. It brought to light some of the mystery of that vampire culture without being judgmental or preachy. The book may not be for everyone. But it is true to its purpose.
Kelvin Frazier
Jan 17, 2014 Kelvin Frazier rated it it was amazing
I love this book and It gave me some insight to the Vampyre Subculture. However, I wanted to learn more at the time. I am more evolved since 2012 (Year of the Dragon) & 2013 (Year of the Serpent). Thank you, Dr. Ramsland!
Promising and interesting concept. However, this book is incredibly boring and filled with descriptive accounts of very strange people performing sex acts in the name of "vampirism." I found myself rolling my eyes a lot of the time. Just a bunch of goths who take it to the next level. Ho hum.
Titus Hjelm
Constrained by the convetions of the 'true crime' genre and the narrative demands of mass market non-fiction, this is still probably the best of the 'true' vampire exposes around. A bit dated, and really as much about the author herself as the subculture she is writing about.
Arrwyn Cliona
Apr 19, 2012 Arrwyn Cliona rated it it was amazing
Ms. Ramsland did her research and wrote this book with compassion and truth. I actually know some of the people she interviewed and at the time it was published this was the first vampire culture book that wasn't a load of horse manure.
Shannon Barber
Jan 10, 2011 Shannon Barber rated it it was ok
I really wanted to enjoy this book more. I think had I read it when it came out I would have enjoyed it but the way Ms. Ramsland writes just isn't my cup of tea. However, this may be because I'm no longer a huge Anne Rice fan so their similarities turn me off as a reader.
Mar 29, 2012 Mark rated it really liked it
I just read this and it was really well researched and really disturbing. She really gets under the skin of this sub-group of individuals who really think they are vampires. Some very creepy parts.
May 13, 2009 Riss rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
1996 disappearance of a Village Voice reporter who was studying the underground cult scene of vampires in NYC? Um.. yes please!
May 14, 2009 Scoobs-buddy rated it it was ok
Might have been much better written differently but fell short holding my interest for any length of time
Feb 26, 2010 Kim rated it it was ok
read this because i read 'ghost' and i was disappointed. ghost was really good....if you believe in the possibility of ghosts. not written in the same engaging manner.
Allison Thurman
Jan 14, 2010 Allison Thurman rated it liked it
Fascinating but parts are unbelievable - I have to wonder if some interviewees weren't having her on! Still, I enjoy Ramsland because she does write about such unusual things.
Araminta Matthews
As usual, an investigation into the occult underground of America is sensationalized, misrepresented, and a bit jaded. But, I still have to give her kudos for the effort.
Crashbang rated it it was amazing
Jun 25, 2007
Beth rated it really liked it
Feb 17, 2012
Marnie rated it it was amazing
Jul 15, 2009
Jennifer rated it it was amazing
Apr 19, 2011
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Jul 19, 2015
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Apr 03, 2015
Jennifer Fenster
Jennifer Fenster rated it it was amazing
Nov 07, 2015
Karen rated it it was ok
Jul 05, 2012
David rated it it was ok
Jan 06, 2013
Sabine rated it really liked it
Jul 20, 2009
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I've loved books since I was 3, and the library was a highlight of my childhood. I've been fortunate to be able to find great joy in what others have written and sometimes to give this to readers. I follow my own muse, because it leads me on interesting adventures. If others benefit, so much the better.
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