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.) On the other hand, Melendez' murder was particularly brutal (a drano injection), and Michael's callous reaction was to go on a shopping spree with Angel's money.
The book sheds light on a fairly secretive world and shocks the reader. However, it is also, bizarrely, entertaining. For example, when James' is trying to come to terms with Angel's death he finds himself approaching dogs and saying "Hello, little doggie! Aren't you the sweetest thing? I bet you wouldn't ever inject anyone with drano, would you?"
Admittedly, I've been fascinated with this scene since the days of Project X magazine and films such as Paris is Burning, but even for the uninitiated, I suspect they'll find that this book is such a good read that it won't take them any longer to get through than would seeing the movie.