Saturday 23 July 2011


If you saw Lawrence Block’s comments over at Do Some Damage yesterday, you’ll understand me when I say that Moses McGuire is a man with ‘inclusions’. Lots of inclusions.

Moses is the bouncer at a pole-dancing club. He’s big, strong, professional, the butt of the dancers’ jokes and maybe takes his job a little too seriously at times.

When we meet him in ‘Out There Bad’, he’s having a bad day at the office. The girls are laying bets on who can persuade him to sleep with him and it’s all quiet on the Western Front.

It’s different out on the parking lot. Seeing one of the girls in the car of a rich boy and performing acts that go beyond a shiggle round a pole, Moses steps in. The rich kid has more money than sense. Talks back to Moses. Moses gets rid of some of his pent up anger by beating him into the dust. It costs him his job and starts things ticking over in his mind about the activities of the Russian girls.

When he meets another Russian, Anya, and falls off his wobbly wagon, things become interesting.

It sets in motion a series of events that mean any readers will need to fasten their seat belts and prepare for a lot of bumpy terrain.

The Russian girls are holed up in some hostel from hell and Moses decides to free Anya from them.

Believe it or not, the Russians don’t like it. Worse, they’re powerful gangsters who it would normally take an army to shake down.

Our man may be an ex-soldier, but he’s not one to trust many others. He teams up with his one man force, enlists the help of a journalist and sets off to free Anya’s sister from a life on the game.

It will help, later on, that his newest Ally is to be one of the biggest killers of Russians since Stalin. Mikayla reminded me a little of Lisbeth Salander (Millenium trilogy), although instead of a taser gun, this lady has a razor with which she slashes necks with ease. With her one breast and scarred face and a gripe against the pimps who’ve stolen so many of her nation’s beautiful women, she’s on a mission of revenge. She also carries round a pack of Tarot cards, but there’s only ever one future for the men she encounters.

From early on, this book explodes into action. Stallings moves us on at a cracking pace and I’m pretty sure this one has got the lot. Sex, sleaze, car-chases, hand-to-hand, drugs, an arsenal of weapons, gangsters, assassins and booze.

It’s quite something that during all of this fiery action the characters and their motivations can be so well-understood, which is where I thing the author’s skill can be clearly seen. I cared a great deal for all these guys, which made it so much more addictive as a ride because there was never any way all of them were going to get out of there alive.

Don’t read this if you like sedate stories, hate violence or want to get yourself an early night.

If none of the above, read when you can.


  1. Josh is a master at writing some seriously nasty butt-kicking action. Loved the first Moses book. And this one's on my to-read list. Great review Nigel :)

  2. Mo McGuire is one of the best series characters to come along in a long while. Truly dual natured. Violent, drunken, pill popping and lookin' for love in all the wrong places yeah, he's that guy. But running along side this wreck of a man there's an idealist, a loyal friend and righter of wrongs. I'm in for the long haul with josh and Mo. Keep writin' him man and I'll keep readin'.

  3. Josh Stallings has a winning number in Moses McGuire. I haven't read Out There Bad yet, but Beautiful, Naked & Dead was amazing. Hopefully he can write ten or twenty Moses novels.

  4. Thanks Nigel, damn well written review. Thanks you all for stopping by. Ben we'll have to see in Mosses can survive that many novels, I am a bastard to the poor thug.

  5. Nigel, just reminded me how much I love Moses so think I'll just read it again!