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Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  2,128 ratings  ·  251 reviews
Two months before Andrew Cunanan murdered Gianni Versace on the steps of his Miami Beach mansion, Maureen Orth was investigating a major story on the serial killer for Vanity Fair. Now the award-winning journalist and Vanity Fair special correspondent tells the complete story of Cunanan, his unwitting victims, and the moneyed, hedonistic world in which they lived and died, ...more
Paperback, 560 pages
Published June 13th 2000 by Dell (first published 1999)
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Sandy Priester The book Vulgar Favors by Maureen Orth is the basic source material for the current series on American Crime Story.
The series title is The Assassinati…more
The book Vulgar Favors by Maureen Orth is the basic source material for the current series on American Crime Story.
The series title is The Assassination of Gianni Versace, but the book is much more about the killer, Andrew Cunanan.(less)

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Average rating 3.65  · 
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 ·  2,128 ratings  ·  251 reviews


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Start your review of Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History
Erin
I probably would have loved this book more had it been updated. Vulgar Favors was originally published in 1999 and it shows. The way "The Gay Lifestyle" (its actually placed in quotes like that in the book)is discussed in this book is very dated and insulting. Maureen Orth seemed to be obsessed with the fact that gay men have sex with other men and that some of those men even have wives and children. She just seemed fixated on the sexual aspects of the gay community. Maybe in 1999 this was shock ...more
Barry Pierce
I wish there were more serial killers like Andrew Cunanan. You always hear of killers being described as loners or introverts or just weirdos, but Cunanan broke that stereotype. He was a preppy guy who loved reading Vogue. He'd make up amazing lies about himself and his past in order to impress those around him. In the midst of his murder spree he used to go clubbing and tell his fellow clubbers that he was a serial killer. They all laughed.

Vulgar Favours is a fairly in-depth account of the life
...more
Matt
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Seeking to begin the year with some learning opportunities tied into my reading, I turned to my iPod to find a decent audiobook. Maureen Orth’s book about the manhunt to find the killer of Gianni Versace caught my attention, as I do remember when everything appeared in the press over two decades ago. Orth opens her piece giving the reader a long and drawn-out depicting of the life Andrew Cunanan lived, including parents who could not process the uniqueness their son possessed. Born into a mixed- ...more
Carol Storm
This is an incredibly well-researched and gripping story of a serial killer on the run. It held my interest to the very last page, even if Maureen Orth is a frightful prude and almost comically judgmental about celebrity culture and the gay lifestyle.
David
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this because it came up in a conversation with one of my bffs - he was reading it to supplement episodes of the Ryan Murphy-produced 'The Assassination of Gianni Versace'. I don't lean toward books of this sort - in fact, I don't think I've read one like it since Capote's 'In Cold Blood' (which I got around to reading about 15 years ago). Basically, I read it so I could talk about it with said bff.

Maureen Orth's book has received some unfair criticism at this site. She has, for example,
...more
Jessica Woodbury
2.5 stars
I do not read much true crime at all, as a genre I find it more troubling and exploitative than useful or beneficial. I made an exception here because after watching the season of American Crime Story that follows these events it seemed that a lot was left out. The television show was very good, but had virtually nothing about the investigation and I was curious about how Cunanan managed to avoid capture for so long. I also wondered how much of the show was accurate and how much was mad
...more
Jules Goud
I found this book disappointing. I originally picked up this book because it was the material for the second season of "American Crime Story". However, I had 3 major problems with this book.

Problem #1: The Title.
I realize about halfway through that this title is not on the original book and I can see why. The title to me is very misleading, because it makes you think that you are getting a book on the assassination of Gianni Versace. However, this is not what the book is about. The book is about
...more
Caidyn (he/him/his)
This review can also be found on my blog!

3.5/5

CW: murder and drug use


You see that sticker on the book? About the FX series? Yeah, that’s the only reason I read this book. I loved that season of American Crime Story. If you haven’t watched it, I highly recommend it. [Edit: There used to be a sentence about Darren Criss playing Cunanan and I didn't know that he was half-Filipino like Cunanan, so thanks for the comment and pointing out my error!]

It’s damned exhaustive. It’s over 500 pages. And, it’
...more
Sarah Lang
Jul 16, 2008 rated it did not like it
Many pages about a psychotic narcissist can be wearying, and Maureen Orth does a lot of pearl clutching about some fairly benign gay sex stuff.

Only OK.
ALLEN
Jul 18, 2018 rated it liked it
You know those police shows like LAW AND ORDER or C.S.I. where early on, one of the investigators says of the deceased: "Since he was a cop (gay man, immigrant, rich European), I wonder who remembers him down at the Seventeenth Precinct (local bar scene, barrio, Gold Coast) . . . I've got a contact there; let me check it out." Well, this is exactly what did NOT happen in VULGAR FAVORS, an engrossing if at times overwrought true-crime story about what happens when one of Europe's most celebrated ...more
Dorie
Feb 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: true-crime
Very detailed and in depth look at the sick monster named Andrew Cunanan. It is well written and researched and really shines on the emotionless and drug fueled murders by this spineless creep.
Michael Armijo
Nov 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
A Story of a Guy who could NEVER get enough...

I remembered reading several articles about Andrew Cunanan when he was WANTED by the FBI. I was so interested in the story that I was happy to stumble on this book to get all of the facts by such a devoted writer (who wrote the inside scoop article for Vanity Fair). It's a very revealing story and it is TRUE which made it all the more eyebrow raising. I never knew that Gianni Versace was HIV+ and that he & his boyfriend utilized the services of male
...more
Jesse
Jan 31, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s well researched but the homophobia is a tad distracting. Also jumps around quite a bit which is distracting considering the timeline is important.
Wendell
Apr 04, 2018 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nerita
Feb 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is AMAZING! The author explains, in great detail, how and why Andrew Cunanan did what he did and what were the consequences of his acts. Although, some parts were dragging for too long but overall its a great book for people who loves true crime stories and are interested in that type of stuff. Anyway, if you know who Gianni Versace was - go and read it. Right now.
Laurie Hoppe
Mar 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bio-memoir
Andrew Cunanan's story is compelling in that he's not a Charles Manson. He's not a loner -- I don't think he could stand being alone. He's bright and had an easy time making (if not keeping) friends. He had natural gifts: intellect, looks, imagination, and a photographic memory. And yet, his life went spectacularly off the rails and he destroyed five very nice men on the way down.

This book is very sympathetic and respectful of Jeff Trail, David Madson, Lee Miglin, William Reese and Gianni Versac
...more
Justine Lewkowicz
Mar 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
As a journalist, I read this book in awe of the depth and the detail in every paragraph, from the first page to the last. The amount of research it would have required is mind-boggling.

As a reader, I was drawn in by the way Maureen Orth made a long list of dates and facts flow like a scripted crime show.

The life of Andrew Cunanan seems especially relevant in Toronto today, where police are investigating their own high profile case of an alleged serial killer connected to the city's gay communi
...more
Erin Tuzuner
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
The show mined this overwrought, bloated shitshow with much better results.
Leslie
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kelsie Donaldson
Nov 15, 2018 rated it liked it
I wanted to read this book after watching the FX series, and it was interesting to compare the two. Orth provides a lot of interesting detail, especially since she was reporting as the story unfolded back in '97.
My first issue with the book is that it could have used a better editor. The organization felt off at times, and she would give information about characters or situations after their storylines seemed to have ended and she'd already moved on. Additionally, I think you could probably cut
...more
Angel White
Sep 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very well written account of Andrew Cunanan and the murder of Gianni Versace and multiple others. What a crazy, strange world he lived and grew up in (mostly inside his own head). I was in my early 20s when this was going on and never even heard of it. I would definitely recommend this for anyone who is interested in true crime.
Leigh
In July 1997 I had just turned 16 and was enjoying time off from school enjoying the freedom that most kids do when they don't have many adult responsibilities. I was a nerdy kid aware of current events but I don't remember being gripped by the story of a serial killer making his way across the country. I only remember the murder of Gianni Versace from the pictures of the blood stained steps of his Miami home and because he was friends with Princess Diana who sadly would also been taken too soon ...more
Stu Campbell
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent book which has served as the basis for the quite good FX show The Assassination of Gianni Versace.
It's an in depth look at the crimes of Andrew Cunanan. You get his mindset, his issues, his blooming problems. It humanize his victims.....and brings them to life. It deals with the mishandled investigation and the law enforcement communities problems in dealing with the gay community,
An most important of all, it brings context to the show
A great and worth it read......
Deb
Jan 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An insight into the life of Andrew Cunanan

From the title of this book, one might expect it to be mostly about the famous fashion designer, Gianni Versace. Think again. This book delves into the life (and eventual death) of the man who shot Versace in cold blood. It takes the reader from Andrew's early days growing up in a subsection of California, attending the prominent private Episcopal school, Bishops School, in exclusive La Jolla, and moving on to trying to live the fabulous gay life he beli
...more
Angela
Nov 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was gripped and mesmerized from the very beginning. Maureen Orth paints a picture of Andrew Cunanan that will shock you until the last page of the book!

It was important that I read this as the upcoming season of "American Crime Story" will feature the Versace assassination. Knowing that the 10 episode season will be based on this book makes me even more excited to see it played out on the small screen.

Dive into this book and be prepared to find yourself inundated with details you never knew y
...more
Aphton
Jan 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 1
An unsettling account of Andrew Cunanan's life.
Bianka
Feb 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtqia
Definitely not a light read, but if you are interested in crime stories, especially ones including famous persons, this is a book for you.
I found the research that Maureen Orth made remarkable. She interviewed so many friends, family members, acquantainces and policemen, that she definitely needed a person to organize her notes (as she stated in the Acknowledgement section).
The biggest flaw of the book is its homophobic rhetoric, but given the fact that it was written in the late 90s (although I
...more
Heather
Apr 11, 2018 rated it did not like it
Ick. Whatever your sexual preference, I don’t want to learn about and explore this level of detail of prostitution, the drug-world, hyper-sexualized city club world, the degrading counter-culture and the focus on the external beauty/fashion/wealth/brands/status persuasive in “pop culture”. I only made it through a couple chapters. DNF

Perhaps I am too old and conservative-but I don’t want to know that people choose this lifestyle. I much rather read about how we can stop child trafficking and how
...more
Theresa
Feb 05, 2018 rated it did not like it
It read like the Enquirer on steroids. She spent too much time being enthralled by gay porn and S/M. I found it boring and offensive in places. I admit that I read about two thirds of it but didn't finish it.
Kristyn
May 21, 2019 rated it did not like it
When I pressed "I'm finished!" it's because I'm so done with this book. I read up to 395 pages (71%). I've had my fill of Miss Orth's writing. Not that it was bad, but I question her research because it felt somewhat biased...like Andrew Cunanan's sexuality was a crime and not so much the murders.

I understand that this was published in 1999, so it's going to be homophobic. Most of this book was people who had spoken to Andrew, and it only proved how much of a compulsive liar he was. It also gav
...more
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Maureen Ann Orth is an American journalist who largely covers stories pertaining to pop culture. Before beginning her career in journalism, she served in the Peace Corps in Medellín, Colombia, from 1964 to 1966. In 1983 she married the political journalist Tim Russert, whom she met at the 1976 Democratic National Convention. Russert died on June 13, 2008. They have a son, Luke, (b. 1985.)

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