- [-] Other Available FormatsOur PriceNew & Used MarketplaceThe Tale of the Body Thief (Paperback)
Publisher: Ballantine Books$16.00The Tale of the Body Thief (Mass Market Paperback)
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- Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Gr
- Date: May 2004
From the book
MIAMI--the vampires' city. This is South Beach at sunset, in the luxurious warmth of the winterless winter, clean and thriving and drenched in electric light, the gentle breeze moving in from the placid sea, across the dark margin of cream-colored sand, to cool the smooth broad pavements full of happy mortal children.
Sweet the parade of fashionable young men displaying their cultured muscles with touching vulgarity, of young women so proud of their streamlined and seemingly sexless modern limbs, amid the soft urgent roar of traffic and human voices.
Old stucco hostelries, once the middling shelters of the aged, were now reborn in smart pastel colors, sporting their new names in elegant neon script. Candles flickered on the white-draped tables of the open-porch restaurants. Big shiny American cars pushed their way slowly along the avenue, as drivers and passengers viewed the dazzling human parade, lazy pedestrians here and there blocking the thoroughfare.
On the distant horizon the great white clouds were mountains beneath a roofless and star-filled heaven. Ah, it never failed to take my breath away--this southern sky filled with azure light and drowsy relentless movement.
To the north rose the towers of new Miami Beach in all their splendor. To the south and to the west, the dazzling steel skyscrapers of the downtown city with its high roaring freeways and busy cruise-ship docks. Small pleasure boats sped along the sparkling waters of the myriad urban canals.
In the quiet immaculate gardens of Coral Gables, countless lamps illuminated the handsome sprawling villas with their red-tiled roofs, and swimming pools shimmering with turquoise light. Ghost walked in the grand and darkened rooms of the Biltmore. The massive mangrove trees threw out their primitive limbs to cover the broad and carefully tended streets.
In Coconut Grove, the international shoppers thronged the luxurious hotels and fashionable malls. Couples embraced on the high balconies of their glass-walled condominiums, silhouettes gazing out over the serene waters of the bay. Cars sped along the busy roads past the ever-dancing palms and delicate rain trees, past the squat concrete mansions draped with red and purple bougainvillea, behind their fancy iron gates.
All of this is Miami, city of water, city of speed, city of tropical flowers, city of enormous skies. It is for Miami, more than any other place, that I periodically leave my New Orleans home. The men and women of many nations and different colors live in the great dense neighborhoods of Miami. One hears Yiddish, Hebrew, the languages of Spain, of Haiti, the dialects and accents of Latin America, of the deep south of this nation and of the far north. There is menace beneath the shining surface of Miami, there is desperation and a throbbing greed; there is the deep steady pulse of a great capital--the low grinding energy, the endless risk.
It's never really dark in Miami. It's never really quiet.
It is the perfect city for the vampire; and it never fails to yield to me a mortal killer--some twisted, sinister morsel who will give up to me a dozen of his own murders as I drain his memory banks and his blood.
But tonight it was the Big-Game Hunt, the unseasonal Easter feast after a Lent of starvation--the pursuit of one of those splendid human trophies whose gruesome modus operandi reads for pages in the computer files of mortal law enforcement agencies, a being anointed in his anonymity with a flashy name by the worshipful press: "Back Street Strangler."
I lust after such killers!
What luck for me that such a celebrity had surfaced in my favorite city. What luck that he has...
"Tinged with mystery, full of drama . . . The story is involving, the twists surprising."--People
"Rice is our modern messenger of the occult, whose nicely updated dark-side passion plays twist and turn in true Gothic form." - San Francisco Chronicle
"Fast-paced . . . . mesmerizing . . . silkenly sensuous . . . No one writing today matches her deftness with the erotic." - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"Hypnotic . . . masterful." - Cosmopolitan