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Book Review: Beautiful Naked & Dead

May 17, 2012

Beautiful Naked & Dead –


You know what, forget Moby Dick and A Tale of Two Cities because Beautiful, Naked & Dead by Josh Stallings has one of the best opening lines of a book I’ve ever read: “There is nothing quite like the cold taste of gun oil on a stainless steel barrel.” If that doesn’t pique your hard-boiled interest then this might not be your genre. If it does, then take the phone off the hook and cancel your plans because once you get past that opening sentence you’re not going to want to talk to anyone or go anywhere until you’ve finished reading.

Moses McGuire is a forty-three year old ex-marine and ex-con standing at a dead end. A child of the ‘battle zone’, he works as a bouncer at a strip club when he needs the money, which is pretty much all the time. Moses is damaged and teetering on the brink and he wakes up every morning wondering if that’s the day he has the nerve to check out. Yes, it’s bleak, dark and depressing but sometimes that’s life. At least it is in Stallings’ gritty and violent world. It isn’t until Mo gets a call from a close friend who works at the club that he finds a reason to get up in the morning. If you want more of a synopsis than that you’ll have to get it elsewhere because I don’t want to spoil any story developments for you.

One bit of advice – two actually; the first is to go out and get this book and the second is to not make my mistake and casually add it to your reading pile. I read books in the order I get them and when I got a copy of Beautiful, Naked & Dead, I just added it to the bottom of the pile where it waited its turn. Don’t make that same mistake. Get this one and start reading it immediately. And I’m talking like walking-to-your-car immediately. Even if you’re driving, read it. You can drive with one hand and hold the book with the other and read at red lights.

Beautiful, Naked & Dead is written with raw power and authenticity and Moses McGuire is one of the most compelling noir anti-heroes I’ve read in some time. If it’s true that authors get better the more they write, then we have a lot to look forward to from Josh Stallings.

Oh, and trust me on one thing, when I get the sequel, Out There Bad, it’ll go right to the top of my reading pile.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 2, 2014 9:01 pm

    It is so hard to go out of book purchase order, though you make a compelling argument here. I’ll have to broaden my reading preferences to include ‘raw power’ novels.


    • Michael B. Fishman permalink*
      August 12, 2014 4:54 am

      I’m interested to know your thoughts if you decide to read it. Yeah, the book purchase order is a special thing, sort of holy in a way (in a ‘novel’ way?), and shouldn’t be violated!

      Liked by 1 person

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