Beautiful, Naked & Dead - Josh Stallings
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 the title of this book before the first chapter is over.

Charlie Huston fans and Joe Lansdale aficionados should be rejoicing for Josh Stallings fits right into that category of dark, rough crime fiction with a sharp witted edge. BN&D is one hell of a debut novel and should open a lot of eyes to just how powerful this genre can be. Stallings' protagonist is unique because he is as reluctant as they come not just to his misadventure but to life in general. The death of his friend gives him his reason to live but everything is tenuous in this story and the reader is never quite sure who will end up on top. The author's powerful prose keeps things hopping and I especially love his real-life description of a Los Angeles that is hidden from the sight of most eyes. For pure visceral beauty and excitement, this shoots up to my number one pick for best novel of 2011.