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 [via]