With an extraordinary talent for staring evil dead in the eye, New York Times bestselling author and journalist Aphrodite Jones plunges readers into the front lines of a modern nightmare.
On November 25, 1996, in their home in the lakeside community of Eustis, Florida, Rick and Ruth Wendorf were savagely beaten to death with a tire iron. The Wendorfs' new Ford Explorer was stolen, but this was no routine robbery gone bad. This was a crime carried out by one Roderick Ferrell, a sixteen-year-old self-avowed Antichrist. His human sacrifice was a testament to the unique and sinister bond of four brainwashed teens. Heather Wendorf was a straight "A" student, a petite blonde with wide-set brown eyes. Yet she had been heard to wish her parents "off the face of the planet." Heather never dreamed that when she joined her friends for a joyride one fall evening, her wish had already come true.
Including exclusive interviews with every living character involved in the case, The Embrace will forever change the way we look at one of the fastest-growing religious movements in the country, and its most vulnerable fold: our children.
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The "Vampire Clan" was a loosely knit gang of Southern U.S. teenagers who played at being outcasts and goths, and then pretended to be vampires. The twisted fantasies and dark mind of their young leader, Rod Ferrell, dominate The Embrace. Aphrodite Jones wastes no time in getting inside the troubled 16-year-old's head, detailing his elaborate delusions (he sometimes claims to be 500 years old; at other points, he was born 60,000 years ago and "sent to earth to destroy it") and his eerie abilities to control other troubled souls. With a Jim Jones-like knack for bizarre showmanship, Ferrell picked up followers and "true loves" with ease, then led his small, unmerry band on a mission from his home base in Kentucky to pick up yet another groupie--15-year-old Heather Wendorf--in Florida. The journey ended in violence in 1996, however, when Ferrell decided to kill Heather's parents with a crowbar. The group (Heather in tow) fled to New Orleans, where Rod promised his "vampire friends" would take them in; they were arrested a few days later. Ferrell, who now holds the record as the youngest inmate on death row, still insists he's the Antichrist.
Jones's account is rather spare, but feels balanced and honest. Like untold thousands of other American youths, Ferrell had the requisite bad childhood and unpleasant memories to later cause him both melancholy and grief. But unlike most of his peers, Rod Ferrell seems to have been born with a genius intelligence and the ability to memorize names, accents, and customs from different eras and places with ease, along with a talent to "perform" what he claimed to be. That he also happened to be deranged shouldn't be overlooked, but the real tragedy and concern here is that there might exist a rip in the fabric of our society large enough to allow healthy, normal teenagers like his group to fall through the tear and into the arms of animalistic hucksters like Rod Ferrell. --Tjames MadisonAbout the Author:
Aphrodite Jones is the author of the New York Times bestseller Cruel Sacrifice; the bestseller The FBI Killer, which was made into an ABC-TV movie titled Betrayed by Love, starring Patricia Arquette; All She Wanted; and Della's Web. She began her professional writing career at age twenty-one, with a nationally syndicated column for United Feature Syndicate. A published journalist for more than twenty years, she has also worked as a radio news director, lectured about writing as an assistant professor of English, and, for the last decade, has devoted herself to human interest and hard-news stories. Born in Chicago, raised in New York, and schooled in Los Angeles, Jones now works from her home in West Hollywood. Visit her Web site at www.aphroditejones.com.
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