Young Americans by Josh Stallings (Heist Publishing)
I’m a huge fan of Josh Stallings so I was really looking forward to reading this book. YOUNG AMERICANS is Stallings’ first novel to not feature his bad-ass main character, Moses McGuire. Here, Sam takes the lead, a young woman who escaped her inherited life of crime and becomes a stripper in some out-of-the-way redneck town, but her past catches up when she owes a debt to her strip club boss, Breeze. A debt of twenty-grand. Sam moves back to her family home in San Francisco and, along with the help of her friends, she plots to rob the Taxi Dancer nightclub on New Year’s Eve. That’s New Year’s Eve 1976! Stallings takes us back to his flamboyant youth and into Bowie’s glitter scene Stallings so obviously relished.
You know from Stallings’ previous novels that the night club heist isn’t going to go well and the subsequent twists and turns will leave you glued to the page. Sam can look after herself but she’s not a hardboiled Moses McGuire. She is hard done to, and must go along with Breeze’s plan, to save her family, but she inadvertently makes her brother and his friend part of the plan. Armed with an arsenal of weapons and a ’67 sky blue Firebird, Sam and her gang of glitter kids roll down thunder road. Will they see out the storm?
YOUNG AMERICANS is a throwback to Stallings’ youth. We can all appreciate the nostalgia. I imagined being part of the sub-culture, revelling in the era. I loved this book. It’s a solid read, and, like any good crime novel, when the action begins, it never lets up. Lower the needle to the record, spark up the joint and buckle yourself in for a thrilling ride. (Jack Bantry)