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Party Monster: A Fabulous But True Tale of Murder in Clubland

4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  6,017 Ratings  ·  391 Reviews
Murder Was Never So Much Fun!

When Disco Bloodbath was first published, it created a storm of controversy for its startlingly vivid, strikingly fresh, and outrageously funny depiction of the hedonistic world of the New York City club kids, for whom nothing was too outré -- including murder. Nominated for the Edgar Award for best true-crime book of the year, it also marked

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Paperback, 287 pages
Published September 1st 2003 by Simon & Schuster (first published January 1st 1999)
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A Dirty Job by Christopher MooreGood Omens by Terry PratchettFear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. ThompsonLamb by Christopher MooreChoke by Chuck Palahniuk
Best Dark Humor
63rd out of 537 books — 1,221 voters
Permanent Obscurity by Richard PérezParty Monster by James St. JamesTrainspotting by Irvine WelshThe Shores We Walk by Gabriel RheaumeThe Basketball Diaries by Jim Carroll
Cautionary Tales or STAY AWAY FROM DRUGS ;)
2nd out of 45 books — 47 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kristina
Aug 28, 2007 Kristina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adultish
Okay, so I have the "Party Monster" paperback - less than $300 - version, but still. Mine is corrected on the inside cover by James St. James; he hates that they changed the title. I agree, it is WRONG to take an author's title away from them. Oh well, if you enjoyed the movie, this is almost better. well, more detailed, but there's no Seth Green & Macaulay Culkin so it may be a wash. Very interesting info on how to make Special K, and my favorite phrase for months after reading this was "bu ...more
Robyn
Sep 24, 2012 Robyn rated it really liked it
This was so catty and so trashy and decadent, how could I not love it? I could NOT put this down, even for a bunch of important shit I was supposed to be doing.

If you're looking for a true crime novel, you will be disappointed, but if you're looking for a snap shot of a unique time and place, as taken by a one of a kind and vital character who was deeply enmeshed in that subculture, you've picked the right book. St. James' voice is not quite like anything else; he's amusingly catty, and seems q
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Kevin Klehr
Nov 21, 2010 Kevin Klehr rated it it was amazing
I first saw a movie about this topic starring Seth Green and Macaulay Culkin, not realising it was a true story. Straight away I was googling the 'club kids' and watching their appearances on Donahue and various other talk shows. Even tracked down the documentary which is very telling.

Essentially this is a tale about a murder. It's the story of young nightclub entrepreneur, Michael Alig, and his celebrity rise and fall in New York, thanks to a disregard of anyone but himself and by taking a s**t
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Ashley Scott
Aug 07, 2011 Ashley Scott rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, 2011
This book reads about 35% Michael Alig/the Angel Melendez murder, 25% a random look at a not so necessary VH1 behind the music of Freeze's life (accompanied by some random chick named Mavis), 20% wacky random drug use and repetitive descriptions of binging and spiraling out of control, 15% snark, mudslinging, leading, and bragging, and finally, about 5% surprising empathy and warmth. It wasn't what I expected, nor was it as salacious as I had hoped, but I still enjoyed the ride. I am not the fir ...more
Anita Dalton
May 01, 2011 Anita Dalton rated it it was amazing
I no longer review "norm" books but this one straddled the line between norm true crime and truly odd true crime. So I won't review it, but because it was such a fantastic book, I'll share some of the best quotes. St. James really does have a fascinating capacity to be glibly deep and deeply glib.

"There is no mystery to death. No complicated pattern, nothing difficult. They are no special. It could happen again. Anytime. Anywhere. Of course. A slight miscalculation, a simple mistake - it didn't
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Jennifer
Aug 29, 2010 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. It's a true story of drug addiction gone unchecked and true madness. The style isn't literary, but I must say that this book really disturbed me, not only because it was based on a true story but because it smacks of a sad reality and the darkness in the human heart. This is also a story of deep alienation. Definitely not a "feel good" book, but a memorable one nevertheless. Recommended for unconventional and non-mainstream readers. In fact, I would place this beside ...more
Lydia
May 01, 2016 Lydia rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtiqa, non-fiction
... so, I just remembered this book existed, and I just realised I probably read it when I was way, way too young. Oops.

This reads like a fiction novel. I can almost guarantee that it will be unlike any other crime memoir you've ever read in your life.

I loved reading it at the time. I'm honestly not sure how I would feel about it now, but at the time, I was trying to figure out who I was and I was absolutely starved for any LGBTIQA fiction. So, reading this was sort of like a lifeline for me,
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Anna
Oct 30, 2010 Anna rated it really liked it
In tone and sense of humor, this book reminded me a lot of Permanent Obscurity by Richard Perez. I haven't seen the movie, but I can tell you this is a book worth owning. A black comedy if ever there was one, told in short bites. I was fascinated by how far the story goes, how badly people behave. A trip down the rabbit hole ... or should I say K-hole?
Faye
Jun 02, 2011 Faye rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm giving this book five stars because for what it set out to accomplish, it did perfectly. It is one man's recollection of the late 80s, early 90s, in which the Club Kids, led primarily by the eccentric Michael Alig, took the NY party scene by storm. James has a delightfully quirky and recognizable voice. I devoured this book in a day. As a person who is fascinated by club scenes, particularly the Club Kids, and has read and watched all articles and videos concerning them online (you're missin ...more
Meredith
Nov 09, 2014 Meredith rated it it was amazing
FIVE STARS.

If you think that you 'partied hard' in your youth think again. It's a miracle that James St. James survived this scene, so that he could document it in wonderful, over the top palaver. None of the screechy queenieness of his voice is lost in the prose. It is fabulously written in every sense of the word.

The author's writing about his 'friendship' with Michael Alig was really the best part. The word 'frenemy' came close to describing the relationship, but not quite. It was a complex
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Leslee
May 26, 2014 Leslee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Decided to read this as it was timely with the recent release of Michael Alig on parole. Alig has hit the ground running with an already in use twitter account (aptly named Alig_Aligula), and James St. James has already written aDear Michael letter to his frenemy.

I'm dating myself but I came into adulthood around the time period of the club kids and have seen both the fictional movie and the 'shockumentary' that were based on this book. Perhaps because it was so sensationalist with so many maga
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Christopher
Nov 17, 2007 Christopher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: old club kids
Shelves: biographies
Anyone who was into the rave scene, or was a club kid in the early 90s needs to read this book. It's everything that the time was about. Drugs, partying, music, DJs and more.

St. James writes about death in a way that is both disturbing and at times funny. It's weird to say that a book about a ghastly murder had me laughing out loud at parts.
Hylke
Jul 17, 2016 Hylke rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, english
Delightful
Amanda Mcmillen
May 11, 2014 Amanda Mcmillen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I remember when this happened, well kinda. I followed it on the news as much as my then drug filled mind could. I was one of those kids who saw Micheal on TV and wanted to be just like him. I ended up in the Austin and Dallas club scene. I was a different generation of club kid, but only barely.

For years I told myself I would read this book, and never got around to it. I seen the movie more than a few times, and even hosted a few "Party Monster" themed parties.

One day I had to grow up, be a mom,
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Sistermagpie
Jul 02, 2013 Sistermagpie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I seem to be on a kick with this story--I saw the documentary, then the movie, then figured I'd try out the book. I'm glad I did! Totally enjoyable, even though it's incredibly sad. The murder of Angel Melendez is technically the central crime, but the drug abuse slowing (or not so slowly) killing all the protagonists is far more horrific. In a way, it keeps the murder from even seeming like a real murder, at least to the people who are doing the killing. They've left actual life and emotions so ...more
CD
One of many pop-culture, current events books from the near to distant past that I will admit reading.

A dark sordid catty tale soaked in drugs and as nearly pure evil as can be found on the bookshelf. And it's true stuff. Having been a denizen, if for a short time and mostly as an avid voyeur,of the Limelight crowd, one knew something really bad was going to happen. Nobody gets to live at the pace that so many on display at the clubs of the period did and get out unscathed.

JStJ writes amazingl
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Cristina

I was kind of ashamed to read Disco Bloodbath at the time it was published because it was kind of trashy and gory but I couldn't put it down-it was so entertaining albeit tragic-all that fun and drugs came at a price. It was one of the first books i read when I got to New York as a teen and I probably lived vicariously through some of its characters as I couldn't get a fake ID or get into any of the clubs. The 90s were winding down but you could still see crazy japanese club kids in L.E.S., and
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Bark's Book Nonsense
Dec 17, 2009 Bark's Book Nonsense rated it really liked it
Shelves: true-crime
After finishing this novel about the drug fueled world of the club kids that James St. James describes with great detail I almost felt like I'd overdosed on his writing. A little past the half way mark his constant descriptions of their hedonistic world and the ever-changing group of so-called friends exhausted me. It was an interesting book at turns hilariously funny and yet depressingly melancholy. The lengths these kids took to be the center of attention and fill their lives with excitement w ...more
Maryann MJS1228
Jan 10, 2016 Maryann MJS1228 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime, fabulous
Club Kids. Meet the Club Kids.

They're the post discotheque family.
From the heart of downtown,
They're a homage to the Factory.

Let's hear about the drug dealer they killed
Unsolved, through NYPD's lassitude.

When you're with the Club Kids
you'll have a skrink-la-da time.
A slogger-do time.
You'll have a gay old time.

Never before have I felt the need to quote the Flintstones in order to properly review a book but then I've never read a book quite like Disco Bloodbath before. Which is a shame because thi
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Jacqui
Sep 24, 2016 Jacqui rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I dunno how I never saw this movie until a few weeks ago. I think I kept forgetting about it, but I have the sound track and love it. After seeing the movie, I thought it was the most disjointed, manic, confusing mess and could not wrap my head around the cast... it had a good cast, the movie felt like a hot mess.

Decided, okay, I need to get the book, I felt like I missed some key element to connect all these scattered pieces.

Nope. The book was just as much out there, random pieces attempted to
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Sarah
Apr 24, 2014 Sarah rated it it was ok
Style-wise, this is possibly the worst book I've ever read: It has none. It reads like St. James rambled into a recorder for several hours, then turned it in to his publisher, who had someone type it up verbatim. The movie version of Party Monster portrays him as an aspiring writer; I don't know if that's true, it's hard to imagine him aspiring to anything other than shoving a lot of drugs up his nose and being seen with the kind of washed-up Warhol-era "superstars" that the the rest of the coun ...more
Heather
May 06, 2014 Heather rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
If we're all going to hell in a handbasket, we might as well make it a party on the way down.

1. This whole thing passed me by. I saw people going on about Michael Alig's release with excitement on Twitter and Tumblr, and thought I'd give this a read.
2. I haven't seen the movie either, so this was literally going in blind.

It's just generally a ramble, jumping between stories in an attempt to build up some kind of backstory for the reader to ~understand Alig and what happened. It was fun, it was
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Tara
Jan 08, 2013 Tara rated it liked it
Usually I always choose the book over the movie, but in this case I'm tempted to rate them equally (for different reasons). While parts of the book offered more details than the movie, sometimes the details were boring or unnecessary. James St. James may be a good story teller, but he lacks necessary writing skills. I could do without the added whining and self loathing bits.
Lori
May 12, 2015 Lori rated it liked it
My favourite thing about this book was without a doubt the humorous and clever way in which he narrator James St James has presented us with a snapchat of life as a Club Kid in 80s/ 90s NYC.

This book is in no way a crime mystery or thriller, we know very early on who the culprits are and although a murder is a key incident touched upon throughout, more focus is paid on the characters surrounding this and their antics.

I found the book very funny and entertaining and would love to see the movie
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Lyco
Jan 22, 2014 Lyco rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
I can't remember when I first discovered the Club Kids. I was born in the very first year of the 90's so I wasn't around to watch them on talk shows like everyone else, though I'm British anyway so I doubt the phenomenon would have been as gripping.

Either way, when I did discover the club kids through the magic of the Internet, I was utterly captivated. Here were people just like me, getting paid to be themselves. The freaks, the queers, the goths, the junkies all using their creativity to earn
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Meghan McFadden
Jul 03, 2016 Meghan McFadden rated it liked it
I really need a half star option for this book. It's better than most of my other 3 star books but I cannot give it 4 stars without cringing. I enjoyed this book WAY too much. For the record, I was not familiar with the scene, the murder, the author or any of the supporting cast of characters. So I came in cold to this topic which may be why I enjoyed it so much. It was all so over the top and it seemed like it was a made for television movie. The fact that it was real gives it an added dimensio ...more
Rebekkila
What a crazy story. A drug addled club promoter kills his drug dealer in a heinous way and it doesn't cause him to hit pause. I don't remember this case, the murder happened in the 80's and the murderer, Michael Alig, was only well known in certain circles.
That being said, I found the book to be one of the funniest I have read in a long time. I would love to hang out with the author for a day and bask in the glow of his bitchiness.
i would highly recommend this book, it won't make the true crime
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Peta Tron
Aug 11, 2012 Peta Tron rated it it was amazing
I can't think of enough words to describe how fabulous this book is. Even when everyone is out of control and destroying themselves with drugs, James St James manages to keep my interest, the pages kept turning and it was all finished before I knew it.
AaronTheWeird
Aug 31, 2016 AaronTheWeird rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
did someone mentioned the words NEW YORK CITY & CLUBS now you speaking my kind of language Fame Success Glamour GALORE meets blood on the DANCE FLOOR The original title is James St. James not party monster but I like them both there are a lot of sarcastic and comical moment's keep in mind this ia a TRUE story about murder and they are actual REAL people while it's hard to be sympathetic to Michael considering the HORRIFIC things he did you know you shouldn't like him but you can't help to be ...more
Kane S.
Aug 27, 2014 Kane S. rated it liked it
Silly and fun, this book is refreshingly irreverent in respect to its True Crime story. But that's kind of all there is to this book. I enjoyed it. St. James writes in an incredibly camp manner that is equal parts annoying and hilarious (i.e. all-caps, italics, and bolds are used throughout).

But the narrative voice is original and self-deprecating, which is a good thing when you are talking about a subculture in which the main attraction is a person who pulls lit christmas lights out of his ass.
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im not addicted to drugs im addicted to glamour 3 41 Jun 09, 2014 09:07AM  
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James St. James (born James Clark), is a former Club Kid of the Manhattan club scene in the late 1980s/early 1990s and the author of Disco Bloodbath (now published under the title Party Monster). He was notorious for a lifestyle of excess that included heavy drug use, partying, and bizarre costumes.
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“Funny, that no matter where you are in the world, there's always someone eager to help you destroy yourself.” 51 likes
“If we're all going to hell in a handbasket, we might as well make it a party on the way down” 39 likes
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