Recommended Read: Young Americans by Josh Stallings

young-americansStripper Sam is on the run. She leaves behind Hicksville USA and heads back to her family in San Francisco but trouble is soon barking and biting at her heels.

Josh Stallings‘ 1970s set heist novel Young Americans is  bloody brilliant. A marvelous blend of crime fiction, coming of age story and offbeat family saga. Complete with a great soundtrack.

Stallings’ books are always great but this could well be his best yet.

Recommended Reads

all the wild childrenAll The Wild Children – Josh Stallings

The idea of `a noir memoir’ sounds like it could be a pretty grim affair but Josh Stallings‘ riveting All The Wild Children is far from that. Stallings is the author of two brilliantly paced hardboiled crime novels – Beautiful, Naked & Dead and Out There Bad – and he uses the same snare – drum tight storytelling approach as he documents the highs and lows of his truly fantastic life. Marvellous.

The Fix – Keith Nixon

Keith Nixon’s The Fix is the story of a painfully average man whose life spirals dangerously out of control when he is caught up in a cat-and-mouse game of double and treble cross. A cracking, fast-moving and very funny black comedy of errors.

Lotus Blue – AJ Savage.

A. J. Savage’s Lotus Blue is a hot and sweaty noir short story. Set in Thailand- ‘the losers’ paradise’ – Lotus Blue is a  heady, drug and booze fuelled delirium, laced with sex and violence. Intense.

Short, Sharp Interview: Josh Stallings

PDB: Can you pitch ALL THE WILD CHILDREN in 25 words or less?

Crime, glitter-rock, sex, drugs, parenting, guns, summer of love, 1970’s, 50 years, one mad life writ large.  Noir memoir.  Introduction by best mate Tad Williams.

PDB: Which music, books, films or television shows have floated your boat recently?

Music: As always The Clash, Pogues. Lately Admiral Fallow (Scottish band) has become my go to for a certain whimsical writing mood.

Books: Storm Giants by Pearce Hansen blew me away.  Abide With Me by Ian Ayris is a stunner, for all of us who grew up in rough, violent worlds.  Wrong Goodbye by Chris F Holm, is out of my genre, but man this cat can write.  Somebody’s Daughter: The Hidden Story of America’s Prostituted Children and the Battle to Save Them. By Julian Sher.   I’ve been reading a lot of devastating interviews with teen street walkers for the 3rd Moses McGuire book.

TV: OK shoot me now, Walking Dead, Justified and Downton Abbey (embarrassing but true).

PDB: Is it possible for a writer to be an objective reader?

Hell yes.  I know a book is great when it shuts down my writer brain and just takes me on a ride.  I am a voracious reader, but only for research, or pleasure.  Good prose makes me grin, bad makes me hurl the book across the room, a habit my Kindle is stopping, much to my wife’s relief.

PDB: Do you have any interest in writing for films, theatre or television?

all the wild childrenYes and no.  I have spent my professional life in the film industry.  Seen the good the bad and the petty.  I wrote a few films.  The experience was always painful in the end.  I don’t think that is intrinsic in film, just my personal experience.  I also recognize that there are good people are out there and it would be fun to work with them.  So if someone wants to make a Mosses McGuire novel into a movie, bring it on.

PDB: How much research goes into each book?

Tons and tons and tons.  All the Wild Children I spent fifty years researching.  Ok, it is a memoir so the research was basically living as wild, dangerous and funny a life as I could.  For the crime books I am dogged about first hand interviews, hanging with the players I write about. I don’t do as much research on tech, it’s all about being honest about and for the people of the streets I walk.

PDB: How useful or important are social media for you?

Huge, it is where I have met some of my best friends, smart writers and readers willing to share what they know freely.  It has opened doors, but more it has given me a community.  I’m ambiguous about it as a marketing tool.  I think books sell one reader at a time.  Write a book that strikes the right tone and your readers will evangelize for you.  If I want to sell more books then I need to constantly be raising my game.

PDB: What’s on the cards for 2013?

All The Wild Children is all consuming at the moment.  Years of hard work and bam it is in the world.  After that I’m balls deep into One More Body (McGuire #3).  I hope to have that out in the fall.  I have a stand alone cooking, it started with a short story in the Feeding Kate anthology.  That may be 2014’s book, unless I win the lotto and can write full time.

Find out more about Josh Stallings here.


’41 stories. One cause: PROTECT 100% of proceeds go to PROTECT and the National Association to Protect Children – the army fighting what Andrew Vachss calls “the only holy war worthy of the name,” the protection of children.

We’ve rallied a platoon of crime, western, thriller, fantasy, noir, horror and transgressive authors to support PROTECT’s important work: lobbying for legislation that protects children from physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.

Powerful stories from George Pelecanos, Andrew Vachss, Joe R. Lansdale, Charles de Lint, Ken Bruen, Chet Williamson, James Reasoner, Charlie Stella, Michael A. Black, Wayne Dundee, Roxane Gay, Ray Banks, Tony Black, Les Edgerton and 16 more, with 100% of proceeds going to PROTECT.

PROTECTORS includes a foreword by rock critic Dave Marsh, and fiction by Patti Abbott, Ian Ayris, Ray Banks, Nigel Bird, Michael A. Black, Tony Black, R. Thomas Brown, Ken Bruen, Bill Cameron, Jen Conley, Charles de Lint, Wayne D. Dundee, Chad Eagleton, Les Edgerton, Andrew Fader, Matthew C. Funk, Roxane Gay, Edward A. Grainger, Glenn G. Gray, Jane Hammons, Amber Keller, Joe R. Lansdale, Frank Larnerd, Gary Lovisi, Mike Miner, Zak Mucha, Dan O’Shea, George Pelecanos, Thomas Pluck, Richard Prosch, Keith Rawson, James Reasoner, Todd Robinson, Johnny Shaw, Gerald So, Josh Stallings, Charlie Stella, Andrew Vachss, Steve Weddle, Dave White, and Chet Williamson.

Among PROTECT’s victories are the Protect Our Children Act of 2008, which mandated that the Justice Department change course and design a new national nerve center for law enforcement to wage a war on child exploitation, the Hero to Hero program, which employs disabled veterans in the battle against child abuse, and Alicia’s Law.

Join the fight, with 41 stories by top writers. Be a Protector!

41 stories. One cause: PROTECT

Trade Paperback: Createspace. Soon from online retailers and bookstores.

E-Book: Amazon Kindle Amazon Kindle UK Smashwords Barnes & Noble Kobo Bookstore Smashwords (all formats, and read the book in your web browser) Apple iPad (coming soon). Direct Purchase.’

More information HERE !

Guest Blog: Fiona Johnson – Out There Bad by Josh Stallings


The agonising wait from Beautiful, Naked and Dead wasn’t too long…… I suppose, and there was the short story in between that filled in a little of Moses’, the protagonist in both books,  back story, but actually to be handed such a volatile second novel where one wrong move will lead this ticking time-bomb to explode into a million razor sharp shards of violent energy in your hands, is more than I could ever have hoped for from the brilliant Josh Stallings.

The second book is always tricky, especially after Moses McGuire, the red haired Viking loved by women and feared by men, strode onto the downtown stripper scene of L.A with such force in Beautiful, Naked and Dead.; a bouncer with a heart big enough to take away the pain of those lost women; those strong women who die a little more each day just to survive into the next but who has no care for his own life, believing that redemption is impossible.

Forget that then. Out There Bad goes way beyond anything that Stallings has written before. Let’s talk violence if that’s what you’re after. You’ll love the slasher assassin; moving in the shadows, tossing tarot cards on the bodies of victims, untouchable and invisible. Blood runs freely across many a page in spurts, rivulets and spray and you’d better watch out as you read or you might just get splattered as you stand there on the sidelines watching with gruesome awe the skilled knife work and deadly accuracy of the kill.

Then there are the guns. Moses loves his guns. I’m no expert but I think that you’d find it pretty difficult to name a gun that Moses doesn’t use somewhere in this tale of retribution, mercy and love and it’s just as well that Moses seems to be well stocked with firearms because this time he seems to be taking on the whole of Armenia with a few Mossad agents thrown in for good measure.

Moses, our hero, falls in love with Anya, a Russian stripper. She is the perfect woman that he has always dreamt of, the one he sees himself strolling off into the sunset with whilst throwing sticks into the surf for his beloved dog, Angel; his life as an avenging spirit finally over.

Well, like that’s going to happen! Moses, deep under her spell, promises to find her younger sister who has been lured to the Land of Dreams from her village in Russia with the hope of swimming pools and beautiful clothes. Instead, Nika finds herself trapped as a sex slave at the age of thirteen.

Most of the action takes place in Mexico where corruption at all levels is rife, allowing Moses to rampage as only he can, taking many blows and surviving degradation along the way.

This is not a tale for the feint-hearted. There are some scenes of the most heartbreaking depravity as Stallings describes the life that the young girls in captivity are made to endure and he doesn’t hold back as Moses is forced to face an evil that he will never recover from in his life; that will be there everyday as he looks into the mirror and sees his soul.

You will not be able to put Out There Bad down from the moment you pick it up and when you are finished you will start at the beginning again. Now I need to go away and put together the soundtrack to this book; it’s Clash time…crank up the guitars. Ahhhhhhhhh!

Fiona Johnson’s  smashing blog is I Meant To Read That

Recommended Read:Beautiful, Naked & Dead by Josh Stallings

 Moses McGuire has been through the mill. He’s an ageing, strip-club bouncer with a death wish and a code of honour that gets him into life threatening  trouble. He’s self-destructive. He’s a biker. He’s ex –army. And he’s hard as bloody nails!
In Beautiful, Naked & Dead, Josh Stallings’ exceptionally well -written, high –octane , debut novel,Moses’ only friend  is murdered by mobsters and, drenched with guilt and soaked in thoughts of revenge, Moses sets off  on a violent, boozy road trip to track  down the killers.
From Los Angeles to Las Vegas, from the mean streets to the mountains, from bars to bordellos,  this is a vivid, exciting, funny and touching  piece of hardboiled noir.

Moses McGuire, like a cross between Sisyphus and The Man With No Name, is a compelling hero for our nihilistic times.
Highly recommended.
And Josh Stallings’ funky website is here.

Guest Blog: FREEDOM DAY by Josh Stallings

When Paul asked me to write a piece for “You Would Say That, Wouldn’t You?” I had visions of a grand professorial text on the impact of noir on modern man.   Then I remember who I was and did what I do. 

FREEDOM DAY by Josh Stallings

    What is it about strippers?  Tatted, pierced, lovely.  Bone raw, emotion skin deep and ready to laugh or rage or cry at the snap of a finger.  For thirty bucks they will dance on your lap, and as long as the cash keeps coming they will stay at your side.  What’s not to love about strippers?
1983, I had been in Beirut long enough to see an entire barracks go up in flames.  I had heard the screams, smelled the flesh burning.  And then I was out of the marines.  My drinking and night terrors led to my early freedom.   That day I went from the base to a TJ strip joint.  Didn’t leave until all my back wages were gone.  Naked women took my cash and saved my mind.
2001, different bus station, different town.  Same need. 
    LIVE NUDE GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS – neon, ruby, old school.
    “Jack, beer back.”  It was early afternoon.  I was the only person at the bar.  
    “Man you are one big mother fucker aren’t you.”  The bartender was a squat, balding camel jockey.  “No, really, you are huge, how tall?  Six four, five?”
    “I don’t know.”  The Jack slammed home, warm and smooth.
    “Everyone, everyone knows how tall they are”
    “Another Jack.”
    “I’m not saying you are freak tall, but a tall mother fucker none the less.”
    I dropped the second shot and felt my guts relax.  Beer in hand I turned away from the bar and looked at the stage.  A big titted blonde girl was dancing to Guns of Brixton.  It felt good to hear the Clash, doubted the baby spinning around the pole was even born when the song came out.  Old, thirty and change and I was old.  At the lip of the stage three suits huddled, laughing too hard, tossing dollars on the stage, one at a time, playing it out. 
    I smelled rose water, felt skin on my skin.  She had moved in beside me at the bar.  Flame licks of red hair framed her face.  She was eighteen, maybe.  Her face still had the remains of baby fat.  Her body was full grown.  A tattoo of a winged día de los muertos skull dipped down into her cleavage.  Her skin was pale, dusted with almost imperceivable freckles. 
    “How long you been out?”  Her eyes locked in on mine.  Zero fear.
    “Of the joint Sailor, come on your eyes are eating me up like I was a steak and you hadn’t had a meal in years.”
    “Sixteen hours.”  I thought I’d be ashamed to admit it.  I wasn’t.
    “Welcome home,” her hand traced a gentle line over a scar on my cheek, “Now buy a girl a drink.”
    I bought her a watered brandy for twelve bucks.  I knew she would get a kickback on every drink she got a sucker like me to buy, didn’t care.  The businessmen whooped signaling the removal of the blonde’s g-string.  I hadn’t seen real live pussy in six years.  I didn’t turn to look.  I kept my eyes on the redhead.
    “I won’t mind if you want to peek.”  Shit this baby girl was reading my mind.
    “I’m fine with the view I’ve got.”  That made her smile, a small but real one.
    “I have a feeling you’re going to be real trouble… what?”
    “No shit, like the bible?”
    “Just like that.”
    “Call me Chastity.”
    “That’s not your name.”
    “Close enough.  You know what time it is?”
    “Why you got a date?”
    “Actually yes.  Ben, bald, short, sweaty, once a month he comes in at two sharp.  He gives me fifty bucks and I kick him in the nuts as hard as I can.”
    “You are shitting me.”
    “Fact.  First time I held back, he whined about my lack of conviction.  So I let him have it.  Dude doubles over, throws up and after he catches his breath he looks up at me, his face is pure sick bliss.”
    “This happened, no bullshit?”
    “Stick around, maybe he’ll get off if I let you watch.  Ok funny part?  You work this job ten minutes and you have enough anger at men that if he had asked me to pay him, I might have done it.  You want a lap dance?”
    “No, here.”  I dropped a twenty on the bar between us.  “Been a long time since I talked to a girl.”
    She folded the bill into her bra.  “You got class Moses.”  
    “No you do, stand me another drink?”
    I turn to the bar to order.
    The front door flew open, shafting the room with bright afternoon light.  What had been romantically seedy was revealed as tawdry and cheap.  The business boys, the big titted blonde, the bartender, hell the whole room stared at the door.  A man haloed and back-lit to oblivion stepped into the shadows.  Two things about him became clear, he was wearing a ski mask and he had a cut down shotgun in his hand.
    “Nobody fucking move.  Nobody fucking dies.”  
    We froze.  Shadows reclaimed the room.      
    “Fucking try me punks and pussies, see if I don’t take heads off.”   He swept the room with the gun barrel. He had on a leather trench coat.  It was summer, in LA.  He may have looked fly but you bet your ass he was sweating under that ski mask. 
    “A’rite you know the drill.  Money and jewelry on the mother fucking table.”
    I felt the redhead let out a long held breath.  Fear took over and her youth showed.  I took her hand and squeezed it once, then stepped away from the bar.
    “Son, chill, let’s see if we can all walk out of here alive.”
    “I ain’t your son, bitch.”  He swung the shotgun up.  A twitch and he’d blow my face off.  “Tired of living?  Go on be that hero, see what happens.”
    “Death is easy son.  It’s living that’s a bitch.  Pull.  Don’t pull.  Either way you are fucked.”  I stared into his eyes, unafraid.  “Hold that thought.”  
    In my periphery I saw the bartender reaching under the bar.    
    The bartender gripped something and started to raise his hand.
    I spun and dove towards the bar.  I was sliding across the beer wet surface when the gun cleared.  I batted at it with a powerful backhand.  The revolver skittered across the room.
    The boy in a trench coat moved in pointing at the bartender.  “So you’re the hero huh?”
    “Why?”  the bartender looked at me with distain.
    I put a finger on the barrel of the shotgun and gently pushed it up until it was aimed at the ceiling.  “Nobody dies today.”
    “Who the fuck do you think…”  He tried to pull the barrel down.  I grabbed the barrel and kicked hard, heard his knee crack, his grip loosened.  I swung the shotgun like a bat.  The stalk caught him on his left cheek.  A fine spray of blood followed him to the ground.  He lay there, moaning and considering his options.  I leaned down and pulled off his ski mask.  Sixteen and scared.  I racked the shells until the shotgun clicked empty. 
    “Put the phone down.”  I said, not even looking at the bartender.
    “I’m calling the police.”
    “Fuck you are.”  I heard the receiver go down into the cradle.  I leaned down and helped the kid to stand.  He tried to burn holes in my soul with his eyes.  He failed miserably.  With my hand on the scruff of his jacket, I motivated him out of the club.
    The street was glaring, harsh.  Dust blew up as an El Camino blasted by.  I released the kid.  He almost fell when he put weight on his knee.  
    “I’m gonna’ cap your ass old man.”
    “Maybe, but not today.  This is my freedom day.  No one dies on my freedom day.”  I walked back into the club.  I knew his eyes were on my back.  Didn’t care.
    Back at the bar the business boys bought rounds for all.  The big titted blonde offered a free X rated lap dance.  I smiled, told her to rain check me. 
    “You want a job?”  The bartender, turned out to be Manny, the owner of the joint.
    “I don’t dance.”
    “Good.  I need a bouncer.” 
    Chastity sat down next to me at the bar.  She handed me a card.  It was her driver’s license.  Her name was Piper Lynn Wade.  She was just eighteen.  I passed it back to her without comment.
    The door swung open.  A short bald man in a cheap business suit walked in.
    “The ball kickee?” I asked
    “Yup, that’s him.”  She stood, then turned back to me.  “You have a place to stay tonight?  Get that look off your face, I’m not offering a fuck just a couch.”
    And there it was, less than seventeen hours out of the joint and I had a job, a place to stay the possibility of a girlfriend, and I got to watch a guy pay to get kicked in the balls.  God I love LA.

Bio:Josh Stallings is your average ex-criminal, ex-taxi driver, ex-club bouncer, film making, script writing, movie advertising editing, punk. Google him and you may find out he has won many awards for his work as a trailer editor. He wrote and edited the feature film “The Ice Runner,” a Russian/American co-production. “Kinda Cute for a White-Boy” an independent feature he directed and co-wrote with novelist Tad Williams, won best picture at the Savanah International Film Festival. He also wrote “Ground Zero Texas,” a best selling Sony video game with Edward Neumeier (writer of RoboCop). He lives in Los Angeles with his wife Erika, his bullmastiff Nelson, Lucy the lab pit mix and Riddle the cat. BEAUTIFUL, NAKED & DEAD is his first novel