ATWC Chris F Holm PDF Print E-mail

“Josh Stallings writes like a man possessed. He's a live wire, a raw nerve -- the rare writer capable of finding beauty in pain and pain in beauty. ALL THE WILD CHILDREN isn't read, it's experienced. And buckle up, buttercup, 'cause Stallings' life-story is one hell of a bumpy ride.” 

- Chris F. Holm (Author of “Dead Harvest” and “The Wong Goodbye.")

ATWC Crimespree PDF Print E-mail

March 7th 2013

Crimespree Magazine

I’m guessing most of you reading this have not heard of Josh Stallings and that’s a motherfucking shame. He is the creator of Moses McGuire who is the protagonist of 2 books you most likely have not read, Beautiful, Naked and Dead and Out There Bad. McGuire is a suicidal ex-con, former marine, strip club bouncer who is the descendant of Viking warriors. He gets involved with strippers, the Russian Mafia, human traffickers, and Israeli assassins to name a few. Oh yeah, now I got your attention. Now you want to go read Josh Stallings. Well you should. Charlie Huston recommends him. That was good enough for me.
Josh Stallings was born to Hippie Quaker parents who I don’t think were suited to be parents. They moved around a lot. His parents split up when Josh was 8. There was violence and drinking in the household. Josh had trouble learning. These were the days where kids who would now be known as dyslexic were thought of as slow and stupid. Later, Josh and his siblings were the quintessential wild children. Drinking and drugs, guns and sex. This was the 70s and the old rules did not apply. Rock and Roll, fast cars and more drugs, lots of fighting. At times it seemed that it was unlikely they would make it to adulthood. Or if they made it, it would require jail time. Josh came close many times but against all odds made it, he survived. Not all of his friends were that lucky. Some are still missing in action.
Later in his early 20s, Josh moves to L.A. to become an actor. One thing leads to another and he gets married and has a son named Dylan who is mentally disabled. He gets a job editing films and film trailers and starts to do well, or as well as can be with large amounts of cocaine and alcohol in the mix. Josh has a second son named Jared. Despite all of the above his children seem to keep him grounded or at least from drifting out too far to sea. In the early 90s while on a trip to Russia things go bad. Upon his return, he decides to get serious about his sobriety. Later as his son Jared becomes a heroin addict, Josh questions his life choices and begins to think back on the path that led him to where he is today.
You know, as I read it back, my synopsis does not do this book justice. This is a powerful book. Summarizing it was not easy. I want to show you some things but hold others back. I needed to decide what cards to show you. As I write this, I’m still reeling from the book. It’s a strong and moving story. It reminded me at times of the writings of Henry Rollins. You may laugh at that but that’s how I felt it. This is not a crime story. Yes there are crimes in it but it’s not noir. Some of you will be misled by the phrase “A Noir Memoir”. This is a story of hope, love, family, and loyalty. It’s a story about a man finding himself against great odds. It was not at all what I expected and I loved that.
Dave Wahlman

-Dave Wahlman

ATWC Elizabeth White PDF Print E-mail

Book Reviews by Elizabeth A. White

“I don’t believe some higher force is planning this life for me. If I did, I’d give up, lay down and die right now. Because it would be clear, that fuck in the sky hates my ass.” – Moses McGuire
When Moses McGuire expressed that sentiment in Out There Bad, the second in author Josh Stallings’s series featuring the hard-drinking suicidal strip club bouncer, I thought it was pretty cool. So much so, I started my review of the book by quoting it. That there was a little bit of Stallings in McGuire—ok, maybe more than a little—was never really in doubt, but I didn’t realize exactly how much of an outlook on life they shared until I read Stallings’s memoir, All the Wild Children.

You see, by all reasonable measure, Stallings shouldn’t be alive. Between the obstacles and circumstances life threw at him and some epically bad choices he made on top of them, Stallings has led the most charmed cursed life in history to still be walking the planet. And he could easily be forgiven for thinking, like McGuire, that fuck in the sky hates his ass.

Plunging headlong out a window into a patch of thorny shrubbery, having your stomach pumped (three times), and driving a truck head-on into a tree would make for an impressive resume of misadventure for anyone during their lifetime—Stallings accomplished it all before his fifth birthday. Yeah, you read that right. And he was just warming up. Welcome to Stallings’s world…this is the new normal.

All the Wild Children is the most brutally honest thing I’ve ever read. Few people are willing to lay themselves as bare as Stallings does in his memoir, and even fewer still are able to do so in a way that comes across as disarmingly genuine as Stallings does. He presents his mind blowing life story as neither boast nor pity party, and freely admits that the events and adventures he recounts are “at best the recollections of a man with a weak memory but a strong sense of what it felt like.”

And through a series of chapters that each encapsulates a snapshot moment from his life and struggles, Stallings makes the reader feel every bit of it along with him as he relives the broken home-drug-alcohol-sex-violence-crime fueled events that shaped him into the man he’s become. Through it all there’s a recurring theme of family, both the one you come issued with and the one you choose for yourself. In Stallings’s case, the family well he draws from is deep, filled with a seemingly limitless supply of both demons and fortitude.

The demons follow him into marriage, his career and fatherhood, where he continues to battle addiction while carving out a successful role in the film/editing industry…though not without a tragicomic meltdown or two along the way. He and his wife are also faced with raising two sons who both have demons of their own, one in the form of mental illness, the other with an addiction problem of his own. That fortitude follows Stallings as well, however, and the humor, love, and determination he and his wife tackle those challenges with is humbling in its magnitude.

I am 50. I am eighteen years sober. The shame has left me. I may always be the dummy at some level, but I don’t have to be a liar a cheat or a thief.

Josh Stallings did not set out to impress or inspire when he wrote All the Wild Children, but he does both. In spades. Welcome to Stallings’s world…this is the new normal.

13 bests of 2011 PDF Print E-mail

Moses McGuire Landed on 13 best of lists for 2011

Five You Can't Miss: Fiona JohnsonGuns of Palo Alto by Josh Stallings 


Julia Madeleine Lucky 13 - Best of 2012

McDroll's Hot List 2011

MY FRIENDS CALL ME KATE... Favorite Reads of 2011

Elizabeth A. White  Top 10 Reads of 2011

Loitering With Intent: Top five books of 2011

Guilty Conscience Thomas Pluck's Top 5 Books of 2011

Guilty Conscience Fiona 'McDroll' Johnson's Top 5 Books of 2011

Five You Can't Miss: Paul D. Brazill - Freedom Day by Josh Stallings

In Pluck's Top 10, OUT THERE BAD.

Guilty Conscience - AJ Hayes' Top 5 books of 2011

Dead End Follies Awards - BEST SERIES

Ian Ryris - Beautiful Naked & Dead PDF Print E-mail

Friday, 18 May 2012

"Stallings has this way of writing, this brutally stunning way with words that rips a character right open in front of you - shows you it all - blood dripping, heart beating, the darkness aflame... If the days of our lives moved along on wheels of justice, Moses McGuire would be the leader of the free world, and Josh Stallings would be its poet laureate.  BEAUTIFUL, NAKED & DEAD is brutal and it is magnificent."

-Ian Ayris

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Charlie Huston PDF Print E-mail

"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

Elizabeth A. White - Beautiful, Naked & Dead PDF Print E-mail

Friday, 15 April 2011

"Author Josh Stallings is masterfully understated in his handling of the seamy underworld that is sex for sale in America… Gangster or stripper, cop or ex-con, the characters in Stallings’ world are neither heroes nor victims, deserving neither admiration nor pity. They are simply people struggling, with varying degrees of success, to make their way through the world to the best of their respective abilities…."

-Elizabeth A. White

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Spinetingler - Beautiful Naked & Dead PDF Print E-mail

Tuesday, 04 October 2011

"But what rises Beautiful, Naked & Dead above the fray is the strength of the narrative voice. McGuire’s voice, as written by Stallings, is infectious, tough, vulnerable and likable. It pulls the reader along until the end like the greatest bar story ever told.."

-Brian Lindenmuth - Spintingler Mag


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The Thrilling Detective PDF Print E-mail

"Comparisons to Chandler, for once, are apt. There's a secret world of crushed idealism just beneath the surface and a jagged, rough-edged poetry here that Ray would have understood. Sure, Marlowe wouldn't have been caught dead riding herd at a jiggle joint like East L.A.'s"

-The Thrilling Detective

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