Tag Archives: Disco

Young Americans reviewed by Crimespree Magazine

JUN 9, 2016

I remember way back in 2002, reading a review of the film Narc, there was a line that described Jason Patric’s character I’ve always remembered. It said he looked like he crawled out from under a pile of Allman Brothers records. That always stuck with me. I remembered it while reading YOUNG AMERICANS by Josh Stallings because this book crawled out from under a pile of albums, but not necessarily the Allman Brothers. And Vinyl_groove_macrowhen I say albums, I mean fucking Vinyl records, that mono sound with the hisses and cracks. The sound of this book is not re-mastered for iTunes. You need big speakers.

YOUNG AMERICANS is set in Northern California 1976 and you can smell the weed and hear the music from the opening page. That’s something very important with this book: the music. 1976 was a musical crossroad specifically when punk, disco, and glam emerged or collided depending on your perspective. You hear the music in the proper context. It fits. Yes I am emphasizing this point because this book couldn’t exist without the sound. As I read, I need to stop to listen to songs I knew and look up ones I didn’t and it made the entire experience all the better.

joshstallingsWhen I read about this book and reached out for a copy, I didn’t have any idea what it was about. I didn’t care either. There was a new Josh Stallings book, enough said. I knew the title. That was is. So I get the book and it has a pink cover with a disco ball. No synopsis on the back either. Only pull quotes from writers I dig and words jumped out at me….. freaks/heist/drugs/sex/guns/glam/tough/original/sweet…… One thing I was certain of is in all of Stalling’s work there is a level of heart that is palpable. You care about the characters.

Sam is a stripper dancing for the farmers and freaks of Humboldt, County California. She comes from a family of old school thieves and knows the art of cracking a safe. She is young but with an old soul. Side note….. Sam is the most well written female character I’ve read in forever. She falls for the man she knows she shouldn’t fall for. And this sets the tale in motion.

So I just decided I’m not telling you anymore. My reason for this is I went into this book like I went into some of my all time favorite music albums before I knew they were going to be just that. I saw the cover and thought to myself I want to know what this is. So you just push play and fall in. Go where it takes you.

Take this trip. It’s lonely but heartfelt. It’s late night music on a fast highway.

Stallings has a powerful but subtle voice. He reminds me of the late great Eddie Little minus the nihilism. Yes there is a looming presence of menace. I couldn’t have got behind this book if that wasn’t clearly stated.

Dave Wahlman

Young Americans BLURBS (what other authors have to say.)


1976 New Year’s Eve, San Francisco. A Firebird transports a crew of glitter kids away from the city. Forget the trunk full of cash and illegal firearms. Forget the disco heist and sea of felonies left in their wake. They are five friends happily rolling down thunder road with no horizon in sight. They are YOUNG AMERICANS.

“Like the era it celebrates and critiques, Josh Stallings’ Young Americans is excessive, brash, morally complex, and full of wonderful freaks, wicked cars, and great music.  Get down on it.” – Charlie Huston

“A tremendous book — tough, funny, totally convincing, and even (in places) sweet. It’s good enough to make the book’s patron saint, David Bowie, proud. Josh Stallings is an original.” – Tim Hallinan

“Young Americans is a stone cold blast. Josh Stallings has created a heist novel that captures the glam/disco era of the 1970s and inhabited with dynamite characters. This book rocks.” – Johnny Shaw

“Drugs, guns, cars, and sex! This wild ride back to the 70’s careens along so fast that you brace yourself for the crash that’s bound to come—but like an Elmore Leonard master caper, nothing is what its seems, and the reader wins.” – Terry Shames

“A wild heist, some sweet and some not-so-sweet love, a lot of glam rock and a little disco, Josh Stallings’ Young Americans is superb and sexy. Gritty, and yet still lyrical, it’s a glimpse over our collective shoulder – and it feels real, feels like this flashy past is just barely behind us, for all the good that it means to move on, and for the all the pangs every generation feels for what’s lost that was so very cool.” -Jamie Mason

“Josh Stallings delivers a heist caper glitter bomb, a moonage daydream set in a dirty teen world of amyl hits and glam rock kicks, a blast from start to finish with a heart bigger than a ’73 Cadillac blinged out with shag carpet and leopardskin seats. My favorite book of the year.” – Thomas Pluck

“Anyone who’s read the Moses McGuire books or All the Wild Children knows Josh Stallings ain’t fucking around. His books knock you about the head and heart and leave bruises you remember fondly. What they may not yet know is just how much unbridled fun he’s capable of having. A star-spangled disco ball refracting sex, thugs and rock and roll, The Young Americans sparkles and flashes like a glitter-dipped nightstick catching the dawn’s early light before kissing you upside the head and sending you into a blissed-out sugar-nap you can take again and again. Hey, all you young dudes, take a walk on the wild side and find out if there’s life on Mars. Fuckin-A.” – Jedidiah Ayres



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