ALL THE WILD CHILDREN by Josh Stallings


Snubnose Press
March 7th 2013

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