When Hard Case Crime was operating at it’s peak, with the money flowing and the releases coming steady once a month, Beautiful, Naked & Dead is the kind of original that would have appeared in its line-up.
This is a classically told hard-boiled story with guns, drugs, action, sexy women, violence and fast cars. Charlie Huston provides a blurb and fans of his work will dig Stallings and his character Moses McGuire.
The main plot point that kicks off the story at large is transparent in that we have a good idea where the girls death is going to take us. Plus we’ve seen similar plots in other stories like The Hard Goodbye by Frank Miller. 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.
If you like hard-boiled crime fiction then this one is for you. Recommended.