Sharp Knives and Loud Guns: Out Now

“For hammer-to-face smashing, nothing could be better than Sharp Knives & Loud Guns. Viciously brutal and wickedly funny, to my mind this is the best Tom Leins book yet.” —Rob Pierce, author of the Uncle Dust trilogy

“Imagine Jim Thompson and Edward Lee had a baby and that baby did a bunch of steroids and meth. That’s what Tom Leins’ powerful pulp is like. Nobody, and I mean nobody, writes like Leins. He is the master of his own genre.” —Andy Rausch, author of American Trash and Bloody Sheets

New book time! Sharp Knives & Loud Guns is out today, via All Due Respect and Down & Out Books!

The purchase links can be found here.

Synopsis …Sharp Knives & Loud Guns is the brand-new collection of Paignton Noir Case Files from cult crime writer Tom Leins, featuring the novelettes Slug BaitSmut Loop and Sweating Blood.

Traumatised and brutalised after a grisly encounter with a warped sex killer, Slug Bait finds cut-price private investigator Joe Rey licking his wounds at a decrepit caravan park on the cliff path high above Paignton. Violence has a way of finding Rey, however, and an altercation involving local amusement arcade tycoon Raymond Coody sees him dragged back into town—where his name is now on all of the wrong people’s lips. Rey’s reckless disregard for his own safety quickly wins Coody’s trust, but his new associate harbours some dark secrets, and things are about to get very bloody, very quickly.

Joe Rey has been hired by so many queasy middle-aged men in his time, an assignment from Frank ‘The Wank’ Farris barely registers. In Smut Loop Rey is forced to get reacquainted with Cherry, a middle-aged sex worker who has more unsavoury connections than he does. When she proposes an elaborate blackmail scheme, Rey is suckered in, but the job quickly spirals out of control—and they are forced to perform an unhinged job for an extremely powerful man. Rey is out of luck, and out of his depth. With friends like this, who needs enemies?

After a series of violent misadventures, Joe Rey has blood on his hands and murder on his mind. Now working as a security guard at Paignton Cliffs Caravan Park, Rey finds himself dogged by unhinged cop Carver, who is desperate to know where the bodies are buried. When a sinister figure from Rey’s past re-emerges, determined to force him to participate in a sick new game, Rey is forced to confront his past—if he still wants to have a future. As the temperature rises, so does the body-count, and Rey finds himself Sweating Blood. Will he see it through to the bitter end, or has his luck finally run out?

Sharp Knives and Loud Guns: Book Trailer

Sharp Knives & Loud Guns is the brand-new collection of Paignton Noir Case Files from cult crime writer Tom Leins, featuring the novelettes Slug BaitSmut Loop and Sweating Blood.

I’ve cobbled together a quick trailer to give readers a flavour of my new book, Sharp Knives & Loud Guns, which will be published on Friday 3rd December.

Check it out!

Buy via Down & Out Books.

Swine Tags on Staunch Shortlist

It’s a breathlessly hot Spring day and my t-shirt is glued to my back with stale sweat. It’s not even noon, but the daylight filtering through the office blinds appears grey and gritty.

“I like what you’ve done with the place, son.”

I shrug. I’ve sellotaped a few newspaper clippings to the wall behind my desk. My cases. The few that piqued the interest of the local press, at least. They are as yellowed as Larry Laszlo’s fingertips.

He taps another Rothmans out of his pack with an overlong fingernail, and sparks it up without asking permission.

“People tell me that you know your way around this town.”

A statement, not a question.

I nod. I was born here. I’ve lived here all my life. And I will almost certainly die here.

(Introduction from ‘Swine Tags’)

I’m delighted to reveal that my short story ‘Swine Tags’ has made it onto the shortlist for the Staunch Books 2021 Short Story Competition! Staunch was established in 2018 to celebrate thrillers in which no women are beaten, stalked, sexually exploited, raped or murdered.

When I first read about the Staunch Book Prize a couple of years ago, it definitely gave me pause for thought, and made me question some of the luridly predictable genre tropes that had featured in my earlier works. I’d like to think that my storytelling his evolved in recent years, and I’m definitely keen to explore storylines that are more expansive in scope. Stories that steer clear of inflicting gratuitous violence on female characters – just because that is what appears to be popular. I know the subject has proven divisive among crime writers in previous years, but a competition that encourages authors to think outside the box is always worth celebrating.

As an added bonus, I got namechecked in industry newsletter The Bookseller!

The winner will be announced on 25th November, so wish me luck!

Anyway, I’m really pleased with my story, and will hopefully include it in a future collection. Watch this space!

Sharp Knives and Loud Guns: Cover Reveal

“The sky above the Dirty Lemon is the colour of diseased lungs. Fat clouds swirl above the pub, and the bronchial sky erupts as I push through the double doors – bullets of rain thudding into the wheelchair ramp behind me. Remy Cornish is sat adjacent to the cigarette machine, perched awkwardly on his mid-range mobility scooter. He chose the meeting place – the only pub in Paignton with a wheelchair ramp – but it was no hardship on my part. I was coming here anyway.”

I’m delighted to reveal the front cover artwork for my new book, Sharp Knives & Loud Guns!

The book will be released by All Due Respect (an imprint of Down & Out Books) in December, and includes three interlinked Joe Rey novelettes.

I will share more details in due course. In the meantime, here is the synopsis for each story:

SLUG BAIT 

Traumatised and brutalised after a grisly encounter with a warped sex killer, SLUG BAIT finds cut-price private investigator Joe Rey licking his wounds at a decrepit caravan park on the cliff path high above Paignton. Violence has a way of finding Rey, however, and an altercation involving local amusement arcade tycoon Raymond Coody sees him dragged back into town – where his name is now on all of the wrong people’s lips. Rey’s reckless disregard for his own safety quickly wins Coody’s trust, but his new associate harbours some dark secrets, and things are about to get very bloody, very quickly.

SMUT LOOP 

Joe Rey has been hired by so many queasy middle-aged men in his time, an assignment from Frank ‘The Wank’ Farris barely registers. In SMUT LOOP Rey is forced to get reacquainted with Cherry, a middle-aged sex worker who has more unsavoury connections than he does. When she proposes an elaborate blackmail scheme, Rey is suckered in, but the job quickly spirals out of control – and they are forced to perform an unhinged job for an extremely powerful man. Rey is out of luck, and out of his depth. With friends like this, who needs enemies?

SWEATING BLOOD

After a series of violent misadventures, Joe Rey has blood on his hands and murder on his mind. Now working as a security guard at Paignton Cliffs Caravan Park, Rey finds himself dogged by unhinged cop Carver, who is desperate to know where the bodies are buried. When a sinister figure from Rey’s past re-emerges, determined to force him to participate in a sick new game, Rey is forced to confront his past – if he still wants to have a future. As the temperature rises, so does the body-count, and Rey finds himself SWEATING BLOOD. Will he see it through to the bitter end, or has his luck finally run out?

Savage Minds and Raging Bulls: Out Now

“Some people have a sociopathic disregard for fear. Not me. When I get scared, I feel it all the way down to my fucking ball-bag.”

These two crime fiction anthologies edited by John Bowie are out now via Bristol Noir. The second volume (Savage Minds & Raging Bulls) includes my story ‘The Proper Disposal of Body Parts‘.

You can buy the anthology here!

The Safe House @ All Due Respect

“The elderly woman’s face explodes in a ruptured mess of cartilage and bone as my lumpen forehead makes contact with the bridge of her nose. That’s going to leave a fucking mark.”

Today I have a brand new short story online at All Due Respect: The Safe House.

I think it’s one of my best Paignton Noir stories to date, but I’m biased!

Thanks to ADR publisher Chris Rhatigan for running the story.

If you missed my 2020 ADR story, 49,000 Ways To Die, here’s the link.

Skeleton Crew: Out Now

“I scratch my balls and survey the prison car park, wondering which one of my dwindling pool of acquaintances is going to pick me up this time. There are men – and women – on both sides of the law who would like nothing more than to bundle me into a Transit van and bludgeon me with blunt objects before burying me in a shallow grave. I look over my shoulder. Governor Diggs is curtain-twitching in his office like a suburban voyeur. For all I know, he has his hands down his fucking pants as well. He’s definitely the kind of guy who could get physically aroused by the prospect of masked men inflicting extreme violence on me.”

Who’s ready for a new Paignton Noir e-book? Good, because Skeleton Crew is out today!

Amazon UK link

Amazon US link

As with all of the other e-books, Skeleton Crew is a self-contained story, although it is worth reading Dirty Bullion first if you want to find out why Rey is in prison in the first place!

There are also appearances from characters we’ve met in Snuff Racket, Sin Clinic and Slug Bait, so regular readers are in for a treat!

Here’s the synopsis:

Fresh from his second stint in HMP Channings Wood, disgraced private investigator Joe Rey returns home to find out that his crumbling rooming house, the Black Regent, has been quietly acquired by Devon & Cornwall Constabulary and converted into a clandestine safe house to shelter witnesses to some of the Westcountry’s most horrific crimes.
While he gathers his belongings – and enjoys one final drink in the TV lounge with decrepit elderly cops Benson and Hedges – a masked mob descend upon the building, in search of the sole occupant: a terrified woman, who is now ensconced in Rey’s former room.
Fight or flight? What do you think?
Welcome back to Paignton, Joe. There’s no place like home…

Dead-End Jobs: Out Now

I’m happy to confirm that Dead-End Jobs: A Hitman Anthology is out now, via All Due Respect (an imprint of Down & Out Books)!

UK Link

US Link

Huge thanks to editor Andy Rausch for inviting me to take part in the project. It is a real thrill to be featured alongside crime fiction legends Joe R. Lansdale and Max Allan Collins. I remember buying a second-hand copy of Lansdale’s first Hap & Leonard book, Savage Season, in the (now defunct) Old Celtic Bookshop on Hyde Road 15 years ago, and I quickly became a massive fan of his writing.

I’m really looking forward to reading their stories, alongside those by my fellow contributors Paul Heatley, Matt Phillips, Daniel Vlasaty, Paul D. Brazill, Rob Pierce, Tom Pitts, Nikki Dolson and many more!

Here’s a brief taster of my story, ‘The Body Count’. It’s a standalone piece set in Florida. Eagle-eyed readers may spot a couple of blink-and-you’ll-miss-them references to the world featured in The Good Book: Fairy Tales For Hard Men. There will be a fully-fledged return to Testament one day in the future. Until then, this story should help to scratch the itch!

(Note: the actual story is far nastier and weirder than this line suggests!)

Dead-End Jobs: Cover Reveal

I’m excited to reveal that my short story ‘The Body Count’ will be appearing in Dead-End Jobs: A Hitman Anthology, alongside stories by Joe R. Lansdale and Max Allan Collins!

Editor Andy Rausch has assembled a cracking line-up, and I’m really excited to read the other stories.

The book will be published by All Due Respect (an imprint of Down & Out Books) on 11 June.

I’ll have more details in due course, but in the meantime, how’s this for a blurb?

“An incredible collection of powerful and haunting stories that exist in that shadowy realm between tragedy, nihilism and noir.”
–S.A. Cosby author of BLACKTOP WASTELAND