In 1996, New York City drug dealer and "club kid" Angel Melendez was bludgeoned, injected with Drano, dismembered, and tossed into the river. James St. James was there when the killer confessed, but before that, there were the clubs, the parties, the drugs, and the many fabulous (and some not so fabulous) outfits. Disco Bloodbath is "celebutante" St. James's story, equal parts confession and attempt at closure. This is no square-jawed detective's account of the investigation of the crime; St. James is a drug-addled clubster who wears a wedding dress out on the town and invokes Judy Garland as he talks about the scene in which he and Melendez immersed themselves before the murder. His story, despite its gruesome subject matter and frequent, shocking lucidity, has a chatty and anecdotal quality that's compelling, endearing, and unrelentingly human. --Lisa Higgins
From Publishers Weekly
When suspected drug dealer Angel Melendez disappeared in March 1996, the arrest of party promoter Michael Alig, impresario of the debaucherous "club-kid" scene of the early 1990s, sent shock waves through the New York City club scene. Alig and his roommate were later convicted of the grisly murder and dismemberment of Melendez. According to St. James, who describes himself as "a rather needy diva" and Alig's "best friend," the conviction was no surprise: days after the murder, Alig had confessed to him while they did drugs together in Alig's apartment. St. James's account of the rise and fall of Michael Alig is a most unconventional contribution to the body of true crime. Mixing dish on the outrageous exploits of club queens with "the running commentary of a babbling drug addictAme," St. James fuses the unrepentant humor and narcotic gusto of Hunter S. Thompson with pure campAand the result is a flamboyant and engrossing first-person narrative. But while St. James's flashy approach is artful and engaging, it ultimately serves to solidify the tabloid nature of his tale. St. James has no sympathy for the victim of the crime. The closest thing to emotion on display is St. James's obsessive need to document the highs and lows of life with the maddening Alig and his own self-pity at the end of his carousing days with Alig. "How superficial to say that because of a murder, I didn't feel like dressing up anymore!" Yes, and how. (Aug.)
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