Mike Sager’s bestselling debut collection brings pop culture’s seamy underbelly into sharp focus. It brings together nineteen of Sager’s greatest true crime stories, including "The Devil and John Holmes," which inspired the classic movies Boogie Nights, with Mark Wahlberg and Wonderland with Val Kilmer. “The Martyrdom of Veronica Guerin” became a Disney film starring Cate Blanchett.
Says E! Online: “You know those engrossing books that keep you up all night? Don’t pick this one up if you have somewhere to be the next morning.”
In “Janet’s World,” Washington Post Pulitzer fabulist Janet Cooke gives her only complete interviews; in the “Final Days of Gary Condit” the disgraced Republican congressman and his wife speak out publicly for the only time about the events surrounding the death of young intern Chandra Levy. “Damn, They Gonna Lynch Us,” the story of the beating by LAPD police of black motorist Rodney Glenn King, is the only complete journalistic investigation of a case that forever changed the racial history of America. “The Teachings of Don Carlos” is an in-depth examination of the controversial life and death of the shaman and writer Carlos Castaneda.
Plus: The drug-fueled escapades of “the King of Funk” Rick James. The shocking AIDS death of the seminal rap figure Eazy E. The mass suicide of the Heaven’s Gate Cult. Actor Rob Lowe's scandalous sex romp with an underage hairdresser at the Atlanta Democratic Convention of 1980. A raid on a government research facility in the company of members of the Animal Liberation Front. The career and suicide death of the beautiful porn star Savannah.
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.