Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Review of Josh Stallings Beautiful, Naked & Dead
Beautiful, Naked & Dead
by Josh Stallings
Heist Publishing (March 2011)
In Josh Stallings debut crime novel, Beautiful, Naked & Dead, we meet Moses McGuire a depressed, hard drinking, aging ex-con, and ex-military guy, on the edge of suicide. When he gets an urgent phone call from the one woman in the world he considers his only true friend, Kelly, a waitress at Club Xtasy in East L.A., the “titty bar” where Moses works as a doorman, Mo puts all thoughts of doing himself in on the back burner. Kelly is in some kind of trouble and needs Mo’s help. But Mo, being as broken as he is, and trying hard to overcompensate by playing pseudo daddy-hero to the women at the strip club he sees as lost little girls in need of care-taking, bungles the one time that his heroism really matters. Instead of running straight to Kelly when he realizes she’s not at the club, he stalls, has a few drinks and a quickie lap dance while she’s being brutally tortured and murdered.
Mo manages to pull his damaged self together and decides to track down the scumbags responsible for killing her. He sells his motorcycle, buys an old Crown Victoria, and a goes on a road trip—a no holds barred, take no prisoners, kill em’ all, rampage. And it’s a hell of a fun ride all the way.
I must admit, in the beginning of the story, I wasn’t fond of Mo and his dark, brooding personality, with all his weaknesses, but slowly he began to grow on me. Somewhere toward the end of the book, I decided I loved him. Maybe it was the barbarian inside of him that, when push comes to shove, Mo is able to release and accomplish something good. Good? Well, depends on how you look at it. Mo is a completely well rounded character, and Stallings does a fantastic job of making him come alive. Josh Stallings hits you with both barrels in this gritty, bad-ass, crime-drama. This book is sick!
Check out Josh Stallings for more info: http://www.joshstallings.net/