From Publishers Weekly
This strong collection of Sager's articles over the past 20 years for Rolling Stone and GQ demonstrates his skill as a reporter whose main interest is investigating America's dark and lurid corners. Most of the articles divide roughly into two groups. The first focuses on well-known subjects such as porn star John Holmes's drug-induced decline ("The Devil and John Holmes"), actor Rob Lowe's infamous sex tape ("Rob Lowe's Girl Trouble") and funk-rocker Rick James's obsession with freebase cocaine and violence ("The Rise and Fall of a Super Freak"). The second explores lesser known but often more horrible incidents, such as "The Death of a High School Narc" in Midlothian, Tex. Sager incorporates in all the articles such journalistic devices as scene-by-scene construction, realistic dialogue and third-person point of view, completely capturing everyday details of a subject's life. But two articles are especially compelling. One is an intimate portrait of Janet Cooke (with whom Sager was once involved), the journalist whose Pulitzer Prize-winning, and fake, story about an eight-year-old heroin addict got her fired from the Washington Post; the other is a lengthy, detailed look at the life and death of author Carlos Castaneda.
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Sager's delightfully seamy glimpses of the underside of pop culture begin with the facts behind the film Wonderland.
John Holmes, whose prodigious penis once made him the king of smut, lost the ability to, uh, perform because of his coke habit and, before dying of AIDS, got involved in a series of sleazy deals culminating in a bloody revenge killing. Next up is innocent-looking porn queen Savannah, who apparently lacked enthusiasm for sex. Reportedly, a director once suggested she "say 'fuck me' or something," whereupon "Savannah looked over her shoulder at the actor inside her" and said, "Fuck me or something"; shortly after, the occasional junkie shot herself in the head. Then there's the original Super Freak, Rick James, who went from recording success to serving time for false imprisonment and assault; Rob Lowe, who videotaped himself having sex with an underage girl; ex-congressman Gary Condit; and 14 other celebrities who had similar misadventures. Pretty it ain't, but throbbingly real it is--dynamic episodic reading, too. Mike TribbyCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved