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Publisher's Summary

The inspiration for The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, the second season of FX's Emmy-winning FX series

Two months before Gianni Versace was murdered on the steps of his Miami Beach mansion by Andrew Cunanan, award-winning journalist Maureen Orth was investigating a major story on the serial killer for Vanity Fair. Culled from interviews with more than 400 people and insights from thousands of pages of police reports, Orth tells the complete story of Cunanan, his unwitting victims, and the moneyed, hedonistic world in which they lived...and died.

In fascinating detail, she reveals how Cunanan met his superstar victim, why police and the FBI repeatedly failed to catch Cunanan, and why other victims' families stonewalled the investigation, as well as the controversial findings of the Versace autopsy report. Here is a gripping odyssey that races across America - from California's wealthy gay underworld to modest Midwestern homes of families mourning the loss of their sons to South Beach and its unapologetic decadence. Vulgar Favors is at once a masterwork of investigative journalism and a riveting account of a sociopath, his crimes, and the mysteries he left along the way.

©2010 Maureen Orth (P)2017 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"[An] exhaustive deconstruction of Andrew Cunanan's five murders.... The breadth and thoroughness of Orth's research are often staggering." ( The New York Times)
"A fascinatingly detailed account." ( USA Today)
"An exceptionally good account of suspected serial killer Andrew Cunanan's spree in 1997.... Orth tells this twisted story with grace and courage." ( Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

What listeners say about Vulgar Favors

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

ONE OF THE BEST TRUE CRIME BOOKS IN MY LIBRARY!

Journalist, Maureen Ann Orth wrote this great true crime story. She also happens to be the wife of the late and great reporter Tim Russert from CBS News. I'm sure everyone remembers the serial killer Andrew Cunanan who besides killing his ex homosexual lovers also murdered Gianni Versace, the famous designer. Ms. Orth traces the tragic life of Andrew and what led up to his horrible killing spree. I could not stop listening to this story, even though I followed it through live news outlets throughout the world twenty years ago. NOTHING IS DATED HERE!

If you are a true crime buff, add VULGAR FAVORS to your Audible Library. Do not let the original publishing date bother you. Sometimes I don't purchase a book for this reason. Keep in mind a great story will always be great. This book is timeless and ranks with THE STRANGER BESIDE ME and HELTER SKELTER, two of the best true crime books ever written. This is the third best true crime story I have ever listened to.

THIS IS A MUST READ!

23 people found this helpful

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One of the greats, with a couple of caveats

"Vulgar Favors" is among the best true-crime books I've ever read/listened to. I recall "the mysterious gay killer" wreaking havoc across the U.S., including where I lived, although his presence in SE New England turned out to be just a false sighting.
The author Maureen Orth takes readers along with her as she crosses the United States, contemporaneously reporting the deaths of Andrew Cunanan's first four victims. No one knew if, when, or where Cunanan was to strike next, but after she heard the news that Versace had been murdered, she was sent by "Vanity Fair" magazine to report Versace's -- and later Cunanan's -- death.
Although I did very much enjoy this book, the text is outdated in its mostly condescending tone regarding gay men. Orth describes gay men as shallow, vain, sex-hungry, drug-using, superficial, body-conscious, lesser-than individuals, who are either rich or money-grubbing. Some of this comes from the places where she did her interviews: Hillcrest (San Diego), Boysland (Chicago), South Beach, and San Francisco present a very narrow view of "a gay" (Orth's term, which is really bad phrasing; gay men never say, "Hi! I'm a gay!"). I would hope that if she were to revise the text one day, she would reconsider her judgmental categorization of gay men.
Also, Orth refers to Cunanan's case as the most bungled criminal investigation in U.S. history. That is not true. Here's just one example: the investigation into the Charles Manson family's killing spree was so disjointed that in hindsight it's amazing the defendants were found guilty, nevermind (originally) sentenced to death.
But -- despite these flaws -- I still recommend "Vulgar Favors" as engrossing and time well spent.

8 people found this helpful

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Intriguing Material, Problematic Presentation

After watching (and loving) American Crime: The Assassination of Gianni Versace I was hungry to learn more about the people and the circumstance involved. Vulgar Favors definitely delivers with a lot of details/background info- a wealth of information. But I could only make it half way through, with about 7 hours left, before Orth's problematic narrative came to be too much. Orth's descriptions and characterizations of queer folks is at best, a product of the time in which the story was investigated and published (2000). At worst, Orth's characterization of the gay community is problematic, clumsy, and full of the writer's own judgment. I couldn't listen to the exaggerated caricatures, the over the top stereotypes, or language choices (e.g. "the gays" instead of the gay community/gay people).

3 people found this helpful

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"Of its time" argument is a cop-out

Seeing presumably intelligent, decent people torture logic to make this writer acceptable is just sad. The "product of its time" nonsense in so many reviews seems to indicate that hardly anyone who has read this was actually around in its time. This wasn't written in the Puritan colonies. Not even during the Eisenhower '50s. If I'd spoken to or felt about my gay male friends like this DURING THE ACTUAL 90s, I would have lost those friends. And rightly so. I find it hard to believe that Vanity Fair ever countenanced this homophobic harpy's "reporting" (yes, even ~at the time~). I'm very much a die-hard "the book was better" type. This is a glaring exception. How Ryan Murphy managed to make this turd into a truly moving, deeply human story for tv has got to be sheer sorcery. I've never said this before in my life, but here goes:

Watch the miniseries instead.

1 person found this helpful

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A dark and complex expose into the interwoven channels of vice

A brilliant piece that challenges the paradigmatic ideas of good and evil as well as fortune and loss.

1 person found this helpful

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I don't believe in 5 stars.

Good book and it shows Miami Police's Dept. incompetence. Exactly what we as locals experience daily.

1 person found this helpful

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Pretty interesting but...

it was also kind of homophobic in a bunch of parts, but just to the level that was typical in the 90s.

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  • 08-13-21

Interesting but not enough

I realize this book was written in 1999. Therefore, I give some slack to the writers at often times misguided and offensive portrayal of the LGBTQi community. Not all gay men flock to beach towns and do crystal meth with aspirations of being a porn stars. The over exaggeration of these stereotypes still exists today. Again, the book was written 21 years ago, but as a gay man who came out around 1997 I hate to think this is what others viewed me as.

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Great Book

I watched the American Crime Story series this book was based on and I really found the story captivating. The narration was smooth and I really liked this book. I flew through it! great for any true crime junkie!

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Interesting

While very detailed, the murder of Versace and the aftermath was given a bit short shrift in comparison to the details of his other murders and his clubbing lifestyle.