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Beautiful, Naked & Dead (Moses McGuire #1)

3.83  ·  Rating Details  ·  510 Ratings  ·  86 Reviews
"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 Stallin ...more
Paperback, 275 pages
Published 2010 by Heist Publishing
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Shadow Roll by Ki LongfellowGood Dog, Bad Dog by Ki LongfellowThe Girl in the Next Room by Ki LongfellowAmerican Tabloid by James EllroyCaught Stealing by Charlie Huston
Best Noir of the 21st Century
8th out of 165 books — 288 voters
Caught Stealing by Charlie HustonL.A. Confidential by James EllroyGalveston by Nic PizzolattoAlready Dead by Charlie HustonSend More Idiots by Tony Perez-Giese
New School of Noir
18th out of 163 books — 175 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,748)
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Josh Stallings
Mar 21, 2011 Josh Stallings rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
I better like it, i wrote the damn thing.
Jun 10, 2011 Marvin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, favorites
There is nothing quite like the cold taste of gun oil on a stainless steel barrel to bring your life in focus.

From the first sentence of Beautiful, Naked, and Dead, you know that Moses McGuire is not your average smart-ass crime noir anti-hero. Mo just might blast himself out of existence by the next few pages. He's the kind of guy that places "Find a reason to live" as number one task on his daily "to-do" list. He's out of luck, up Shit Creek, has only one friend, and that friend will resemble
Patrick O'Neil
Jun 04, 2014 Patrick O'Neil rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Suicidal tough guy, dead stripper, lap dances, cute dog, drug use, heavy drinking, awkward sex scenes, and thugs of all persuasions – what more could you ask for? Josh Stallings' protagonist Moses McGuire put's the anti in antisocial. He's a thug with a heart of gold that wakes up contemplating sticking a gun in his mouth and offing himself every morning – well, the mornings that he's not kicking the shit out of someone. And then there's the fact that he talks to himself, like a lot, and oddly t ...more
Ian Ayris
May 24, 2012 Ian Ayris rated it it was amazing
Blimey. Where to start? I'd heard great things about Josh Stallings and his debut novel, BEAUTIFUL, NAKED & DEAD. Great things. And when I eventually got round to reading it, I realised why.

BEAUTIFUL, NAKED & DEAD is narrated by the protagonist - Moses McGuire - battle-scarred veteran of the Beirut streets of the late seventies, now a bouncer in an LA strip club, with a penchant for drugs, alcohol, and lap dances.

One you could take home to your mum, ladies.

Added to this, Moses has almo
Apr 26, 2011 Josh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, kindle, read_2011
Josh Stallings, much like Moses McGuire (the protagonist of Beautiful, Naked & Dead) kicks some serious ass in his debut novel about a slain strip club barmaid and her knight in rusty armour. Exploring the crime underworld of adult entertainment, BN&D takes the reader on a journey from East L.A to Sin City and all manner of clubs and brothels in between as Moses seeks a form of vengeance as natural to the ex marine as breathing. As mobsters and would be tough guys fall, blood flows equal ...more
Aug 31, 2015 Tfitoby rated it liked it
Shelves: black-as-night
Could easily sit within the modern pulp novels put out by Hard Case Crime, Beautiful, Naked & Dead is a by the numbers update on the golden age of the stories about outsiders with a death wish caught up on investigating the death of a friend/lover/family member with revenge in mind. Moses McGuire is Frank Miller's Marv with Kelly and Cass his Goldie and Wendy. The only difference between Miller's story and the central plot of Beautiful, Naked & Dead is that Moses is irresistible to every ...more
Jun 23, 2015 Ctgt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-noir
I tossed the nasty plastic gun to the big boy and watched them drive away, wondering what the hell was wrong with the youth of today. Hell, when I was their age, I never would have let some old fuck get the drop on me.

Stallings has been on my radar for a couple of years now and I'm finally getting around to reading this first Moses McGuire book. This is the type of story where there are no good guys, you have Moses
I was a ship without a rudder, and a questionable moral compass to guide me

I hated
May 17, 2012 Michael rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Dec 08, 2011 Johnny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the best books that I've read this year. No question. If there are any publishers out there reading this, you should put that coke back in the drawer and call Josh Stallings. Trust me, you want to be in the Josh Stallings business. This guy has crazy skills.

Lean, but with depth. Violent, yet human. BEAUTIFUL, NAKED & DEAD shines as a perfect example of what can still be done within genre work. While it embraces many of the conventions, it also finds its own way with humor and
Benoit Lelievre
Jul 09, 2011 Benoit Lelievre rated it it was amazing
I powered through this baby in seventy-two hours. While it's not perfect, Moses McGuire is the most charming and gritty character I've read in a LONG while. Josh Stallings brought his protagonist to life with a secret alchemy that he shares with the greatest writers. Quite unique and enjoyable, consider me a fan. I've been told that OUT THERE BAD out does this one on every aspect, so expect a review soon.
Jan 30, 2016 Bill rated it really liked it
This is the first book in the Moses McGuire series, Moses being the main character. He is a 43 year old bouncer at a strip club and is one of the shoot first, ask questions later types. In short, a real tough guy.

In this book, one of the girls at the club who is a waitress, not a stripper, is his only real friend. So when she gets raped and murdered, he is hellbent on revenge. This is what you could call a real hard-boiled crime novel. And as such, there is a LOT of violence and some fairly grap
Tim Niland
Jan 02, 2012 Tim Niland rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012-reads
Moses Mcguire is at the end of his rope. An ex-marine scarred by a peacekeeping tour of Lebanon and a convict scarred by a prison sentence, he wakes up each day with a gun in his hand, wondering if he can muster up the courage to end the pain once and for all. Moses works as a bouncer at a seedy Los Angeles strip club, mind-numbing work where he is only kept sane by talking to Kelly, the shy waitress who is too bashful to take off her clothes and dance for the lonely, haunted men who patronize t ...more
Jul 13, 2011 Julie rated it it was amazing
In Moses McGuire, Josh Stallings has given us a new hero. Battle-scarred, cynical and suicidal, frequently drunk and a regular dry-humper of strippers, he might not sound like the sort of person you’d see coming to the rescue, but don’t be fooled: Moses is one of the most loyal, decent and moral people you’ll meet (certainly between the pages of this novel).

In Beautiful, Naked and Dead, Moses is an avenging angel, albeit one with a pocket full of drugs and bullets. It’s a long, hard journey he t
A bouncer, stripper, hooker, some mob guys, feds and of course, a whole LOT of guns. Moses MacGuire didn't know what was coming the day Kelly called for help, but he went to her rescue anyways. In walks Cass with a whole different story of what's going down and the ball rolls downhill faster from there. This is a fast paced, keep you on the edge of your seat, great story.

Off the beaten track for what I normally read, I was quite surprised. I'm definitely reading the next story.
Karen Fowler
May 09, 2011 Karen Fowler rated it it was amazing
First, let me say that I was more-than impressed with the caliber of writing in this novel. Stallings has a first-rate way with the written word, so much so that I found myself wanting to highlight passages while reading - a rare occurrence with me and one that speaks volumes towards the exacting prose.

I'll skip the synopsis, because that's what blurbs are for.

Told from the perspective of the novel's main character, Moses, the language is clean, cutting and often insightful. It's been a while
Pearce Hansen
Feb 09, 2012 Pearce Hansen rated it it was amazing
Chandler wouldn't recognize Stallings' L.A., but Raymond would definitely FEEL modern LA from Josh's descriptions. Chandler looms large over every mystery writer -- where would we be if he hadn't invented the mode wherein a tough, lonely private man opens up his innermost feelings to us the voyeuristic reader, as he never would to anyone in real life? But the very best of Chandler's descendants make the style and the poesy their own, unique -- and so it is with Josh Stallings' debut effort, Beau ...more
Jul 28, 2011 Valentina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 t
Darren Sant
Feb 03, 2013 Darren Sant rated it it was amazing
Moses McGuire is depressed. He's so depressed that he's considering ending it all. However, his delivery of hot lead to his grey matter is rudely interrupted by a call for help from a friend. Moses jumps on his trusty Norton and heads over to the strip joint where he works to rendezvous with his damsel in distress.

Beautiful, Naked and Dead is the literary equivalent of a Tarantino movie. You have all the ingredients needed: Mobsters, wise cracking characters, fast cars, girls and guns. However,
Oct 30, 2011 Dave rated it really liked it
It can be hard writing book reviews some times even if it is for a book you loved. Ultimately it's worth it though. I get the satisfaction of having produced something and every once in awhile I get something out of it, like being turned onto the works of a new writer. That's what happened several months back when Josh Stallings approached me about his debut novel, "Beautiful, Naked & Dead." Stallings believed that because I was a fan of Charlie Huston's work I would like his work as well. I ...more
Jerry Grahs
May 03, 2013 Jerry Grahs rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hard-boiled-noir
Meet marine corp vet, ex-con, suicidal strip club bouncer Moses McGuire. If you read one unknown author this month or year for that matter, make it Josh Stallings. The dude can flat out write and has created a noir character worthy of some of the classics characters in the genre. Stallings' slow rolls the plot in favor of developing McGuire's character and really allows you to get into his mind in a way that you rarely see today in the noir genre.

I won't give you plot details, you can find thos
May 11, 2011 Katie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thriller, mystery
“We were all children of the battle zone. Growing up in violence you learned to duck and weave, you learned how to read the signs and become whoever you needed to be to keep from getting wacked.”

Stallings’ Moses McGuire is a great anti-hero - he’s a damaged, ex-services, ex –con strip club bouncer, packing a punch. He’s the exact kind of guy you shouldn’t like but you just can’t help yourself, he’s smart and noble and he’s smack bang in the middle of a murder investigation of his one and only fr
Michael Leffel
Jun 17, 2013 Michael Leffel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hard-boiled
A true hard boiled crime novel, Moses (the protagonist) could be called down on his luck, if he had any where to fall. He only has his personal honor and not a lot else.

Moses begins as a very unlikable character but quickly grows on you like jock itch, 1/2 way thru you really like him and root for him. When you ain't got nothing you ain't got nothing to loose, but when one of his friend gets murdered its to much for Moses and the adventure begins. But what will he do as he get things that are w
Richard Godwin
Oct 24, 2011 Richard Godwin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hard as nails narrative that never lets up. Josh Stallings has created an ambiguous anti hero in Moses, who, though tough as they come, has a more developed character than your average tough guy. The novel resonates with despair and low life. Excellent read.
Mar 20, 2011 Lisarose rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Noir, crime, hard boild detective
I'll I admit it: I'm the author's sister- Warning my review is probably biased- That said I'm so proud of the kid; it's a great read and a hell of a dark ride. Beautiful Naked and Dead is classic hard-boiled detective fiction in the tradition of Ramon Chandler and Water Mosely. Moses McGuire, the protagonist, is the archetypal wounded knight- The poor sucker has a fierce moral code- so wants to do right- but is blinded by rage, wounds, and alcoholism. The first lines of the novel are: "There is ...more
Joe Young
Jun 05, 2011 Joe Young rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I almost decided to stop reading this book early on in the first chapter. I found the negative suicidal attitude of the principle character too depressing to force myself to visualize the environment as his slanted view perceived it. Now, I'm glad I persevered! As the story rolled on, the self destructive nature of Mo (Moses) balanced the grimy climate of the strip clubs, porno sites and Nevada legal prostitution houses where Mo sought answers to explain the brutal torture death of the one girl ...more
Joey Mestrow
Apr 04, 2013 Joey Mestrow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Let us put on manly readiness". - Macbeth

Mobsters and strippers and hookers and shootouts....oh my!

Tony Scott wishes he was still alive to direct this into a feature. It was definitely in the vein of his 1991 film "The Last Boy Scout", in the sense that while the story is well layered to serve its purpose, the masculinity of this story is very over the top. In fact, there is not one female character in this novel that is not a stripper or a hooker. Is it sexist? Hell yes. Sexist, with redeemabl
Julia Madeleine
May 24, 2011 Julia Madeleine rated it it was amazing
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 a ...more
Elizabeth A.
Apr 18, 2011 Elizabeth A. rated it it was amazing
Forty-three year old Moses McGuire wakes up every day with a decision to make: go to his job as a bouncer at a strip club, or kill himself? The job at the strip club is relatively new, he got that shortly after being released from prison, but the thoughts of suicide aren’t. In fact, as Moses recalls it he was six years old the first time the thought seriously crossed his mind.

Somehow he made it another thirty-seven years down a rugged road without topping himself, but not without hitting a few m
Gareth Price
May 26, 2011 Gareth Price rated it really liked it
A ball-crunching tale of what happens when a man with nothing to live for sets out to avenge the murder of a close friend. Moses McGuire is neither a PI, police-man, lawyer or anywhere near legal so goes about the job in any way he can, often with messy, violent consequences. You will end up rooting for Moses even if some of his actions are a bit extreme - if you've read this type of book before you know what to expect yet Josh Stallings manages to keep it all fresh & the pace never stops. Y ...more
Sabrina Ogden
May 28, 2011 Sabrina Ogden rated it it was amazing
Prior to reading Beautiful, Naked & Dead by Josh Stallings, I hadn't dreamt about a book I was reading since my Oscar Martello reading days right before Christmas. I was starting to think I'd lost my, uh... touch, for lack of a better word. I mean, it's not like I can will a character into a dream. In fact, my one and only dream about Oscar Martello didn't even have Oscar Martello in it. Moses McGuire on the other hand...


Having never been in a club that featured GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS! I w
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Josh Stallings is author of three critically acclaimed Moses McGuire crime books, Anthony Award nominated memoir All The Wild Children, and Fefty Award nominated, Young Americans.

He has been in no particular order, a film editor, taxi driver, criminal, father, husband, club bouncer, a trailer editor, a screen writer, a bad actor and a good friend.

He lives in the city of his birth, Los Angeles wit
More about Josh Stallings...

Other Books in the Series

Moses McGuire (3 books)
  • Out There Bad
  • One More Body

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“There is nothing quite like the cold taste of gun oil on a stainless steel barrel to bring your life into focus. ” 7 likes
“Pulling out onto the highway I noticed a stone pillar commemorating the Donner Party. They were a true testament to the American spirit, push forward at all costs and eat the dead when necessary. Wasn’t that the American dream in a nutshell.” 4 likes
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