Thursday, July 28, 2011

Beautiful, Naked & Dead (Moses McGuire #1) by Josh Stallings

BEAUTIFUL, NAKED AND DEAD is hard-boiled crime novel. Moses McGuire a suicidal strip club bouncer is out to avenge the death of one of his girls. From his East L.A. home, through the legal brothels of Nevada and finally to a battle with the mob in the mountains above Palo Alto, it is a sex soaked, rage driven, road trip from hell.

"Josh Stallings is the kind of writer who shouldn't have to publish for himself, but here he is slugging it out the hard way. Just like one of the hardasses in his own books. The man knows what to do with paper and ink. Read the damn thing."
-Charlie Huston

"Someone once said of Raymond Chandler that he wrote 'as if pain hurt and life mattered.' That's true of Josh Stallings, too. Hop on, kick the starter, and let him lead you on a long, painful, but entertaining ride through Moses McGuire's world. One hint: wear your helmet and your leathers. It might get messy."
-Tad Williams

This was one of those books that could have easily been published in the traditional manner, making you wonder what some of the publishing houses out there are thinking. Thankfully, there the self-pub route is available, otherwise, we’d lose a lot of good books by the roadside.

The plot is fast and fun, a thriller of the best sort, with lots of twists and a pervasive sexual undertone that goes well with the gritty images of mob bosses and drug pushers. There is not a single boring moment. It is tightly written so there is no extraneous information. It was obviously carefully written and edited, making it a powerful story. A punch in the gut. It’s interesting to see the atmosphere in strip clubs, it’s not a usual setting for a book, and yet it is written with care, trying to avoid the clichés that come along with it.

The main character, Moses, a bouncer at a strip club who feels like he has to find out what happened to his friend, Kelly, is a surprisingly captivating person. He starts off a bit on the flat side, but as the plot moves along he starts acquiring layers that make him a believable character. We begin to sympathize with him in his struggles. Cass, the female protagonist, is a feisty one, with great dialogue and many, many coy moments. A good complement to Moses.

For anyone that likes a good thriller, this book is a good choice.

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