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Disco Bloodbath: A Fabulous But True Tale of Murder in Clubland Hardcover – August 11, 1999

4.3 out of 5 stars 192 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 286 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1st edition (August 11, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684857642
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684857640
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (192 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,051,588 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on September 17, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Personally, in the early 90's I was enchanted with club kids, but would never let them in my apartment for fear that several somethings would turn up missing. James St. James' wonderful book lets me know I probably did the right thing. Although the story regularly digresses from Michael Alig and Robert Rigg's murder of Angel Melendez, he does so with purpose, and the book is an intriguing read. He shows how Alig transformed from an unwelcome wannabe to a creative force in New York's club scene to a heroin-addicted nightmare. Similarly, He explains Freeze's (Robert Rigg) three phases as well from a reticent but clever costume designer to a "well-respected" drug dealer to a practically homeless ball of anger. Instead of blaming it all on Michael's upbringing like most authors would, St. James finds that changes in the music, the scene and, most particularly, the drugs of trend led a lot of club kids, particularly Michael Alig, down a path of darkness.
Not that Michael was very nice to begin with. St. James relates that Michael's first "superstar" was Christina, an ugly drag queen. By foisting her on the club scene, he hoped to garner approval from everyone who enjoyed making fun of her.
Some have argued that both club kids and St. James' book are too self-absorbed to warrant any warm feelings. It is true. However the author makes himself very three dimensional, focusing on his foibles as well as his successes. And his moral conflict is depicted beautifully. On the one side Melendez, an acrid drug dealer (probably connected to a dangerous cartel) was hurting so many people that death didn't seem like a bad fate for him. (After all, St. James argues, no one arrested Dorothy even though she accumulated a body count of two wicked witches.
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Format: Hardcover
I waited a long time to read this book. Partly because it dredged up people and events I knew, and partly because the story was just too strange to be anything but real. Nobody would believe it. But it all happened.
I couldn't put this book down. Maybe that has to do with my being there, and knowing all the characters in this book. It was painful but also hysterically funny. I have to hand it to James. He did a good job recreating the mood of the times, which is a little odd to say, considering the subject matter.
While I thought James was as fair as possible about himself, and doesn't try to portray himself as anything but what he really was: A fabulous mess, he also tries (and mostly succeeds)walking a thin line with his portayal of Michael.I only wish James spent more pages exploring Michael,
Michael can be the sweetest person, but he has a very cruel, dark side, as those of us who know him have had a taste of at some time. While it's very hard to be sympathetic to Michael considering the horrendous and unexcusable thing he did to Angel, there's an undeniable charisma about him. It was Michael after all, who was the Pied Pier of New York's club scene. Everyone gravitated towards his circle, and we all know what happened to those who followed the Piper.
When I heard the story, long before it became public, I was shocked. But at the same time I said to myself: "that's Michael for you." I commend James, because it takes a certain amount of guts to say "I was Michael's best friend" (I don't think too many people are going to try and take that title away from him). James does a good job capturing a very fun, sick, twisted moment in New York's nightlife.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
James St. James’s Party Monster – aka Disco Bloodbath – is hands-down my favorite true crime book of all time. And that’s saying something, because I’m obsessed with reading about crime. Never before have murder and dismemberment caused me to laugh so hard. I realize now this is because I have never viewed murder through the lens of a catty rivalry between two flamboyant queens. It's sad that someone had to die in order for Party Monster to live, but I'm glad that someone was not James St. James. Even if you had no interest in the nineties NYC Club Kid scene, if you enjoy a good laugh at the expense of someone else, or in this case a whole club full of someone elses, you’ll love Party Monster.
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Format: Hardcover
Before reading the novel, I had originally previewed the "Party Monster: the Shockumentary." I had vaguely remembered Michael Alig and his club kids from a few television talk shows, which only made me want to read more, and learn more about the story and the lives which they all lead.

After much searching, (trust me, being from a mostly Catholic town in Iowa, there was a lot of searching) I finally found it, and brought it home to see if it would live up to my high expectations.

What I found surprised me, though I won't say entirely shocked me, and I found myself laughing out loud throughout the entire novel.

St. James not only paints such a vivid portrayal of what he lived through, but somehow manages to find humor within it. I couldn't help but stop my boyfriend from what he was doing to dish out the part involving Christmas lights through immense giggles.

He recollects and dishes out what many drug addicts and ex-drug addicts wouldn't admit to, including the large amount of nothing he had accomplished trying to become a writer while being continuously purged into a K-hole.

I don't want to talk too much about what St. James discusses in the novel, as I don't want to give some of the finer points away for anyone who cares to read it, but I must say it is a MUST READ for anyone who enjoys a little bit of comedy mixed into the horrific murder story of Michael Alig and Angel Melendez.

This book not only met my expectations, but it greatly exceeded them. I'm now buying the nonfiction novel written by Frank (who is mentioned as well in "Disco Bloodbath") to learn more about the times when the Club Kids were all the rage.

(I would just like to briefly add that many people think James St.
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