Violent Delights: Deconstructing Violence in The Good Book

“In recent years I’ve carved out a reputation for producing uncompromising, no-holds-barred crime fiction. Gore-streaked, expletive-ridden noir stories that trample taboo subjects into the threadbare carpet and leave hardened readers wondering what the fuck they have just experienced. By comparison, my new wrestling-themed short story collection The Good Book: Fairy Tales For Hard Men – which was published by All Due Respect earlier this month – feels like my shot at the big time! This is the moment when the brutalised dark-match also-ran readjusts his spandex and gets thrust under the stadium lights for an improbable shot at an obscure title belt.”

ADR publisher Chris Rhatigan recently invited me to write a guest blog about the level of violence in The Good Book. Here are my thoughts.

Buy The Good Book!


The Good Book: Out Now

I place her hand under my ‘Knuckle Town’ muscle vest and she traces the scar that curves from my right nipple to my hip with a red, lacquered nail.

“Downtown Devastation. Barbed Wire Match with Walter ‘Waxwork’ Wallace. 32 minutes and 15 seconds. Victory by pinfall.”

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls… new book time: The Good Book: Fairy Tales For Hard Men.

After Repetition Kills You in 2018 it was a real pleasure to work with All Due Respect publisher Chris Rhatigan once again, alongside Eric and Lance at Down & Out Books!

Strangely enough, I first took a run at this book back in 2010, when an early version of ‘Other People’s Pussy’ went live at A Twist of Noir. (A quarter of my lifetime ago!)

When I revisited the aforementioned story I realised that one of the people who commented on the original story was none other than Chris Rhatigan. That little nugget makes this collection’s release through All Due Respect extra sweet. (Note: fellow D&O author Nigel Bird also said nice things about the story – another top guy.)

Anyway, Other People’s Pussy has been beefed up – along with the rest of the stories – and I think the The Good Book ranks alongside my best work.

If you like noir fiction, or 1980s wrestling – or both – then there’s a strong chance that you’ll enjoy this book.

Let me know what you think!


Sin Clinic : Out Now

“Fuck off, Rey. You’re about as welcome here as a rapist at a fucking roller disco.”

2019 may be drawing to a close, but it’s never too late for a new Paignton Noir Mystery. Welcome to the Sin Clinic! 

As always, the story is a standalone, but it slots seamlessly into the ongoing narrative. (That said, I would definitely recommend reading Spine Farm and Boneyard Dogs before tackling this one.)

I’ve explored scattered episodes in Joe Rey’s past in Boneyard Dogs and Repetition Kills You, but this time around I wanted to drag readers deeper into his childhood. It’s one of my favourite Paignton Noir stories so far – I hope other people agree!

Here’s the synopsis:

When disgraced right-wing politician Norman Farquar returns to Paignton – still pushing his queasy ‘populist’ agenda – he captures the town’s attention by staging a grisly stunt in Victoria Square. When it comes to light that Farquar has set up a warped rehabilitation centre for local sex offenders, local private investigator Joe Rey finds himself coerced into breaking into the facility and freeing one of the men. But should Rey and his oldest friend – crippled ex-soldier Carl Hardcastle – take the building by force, or should they let the inhabitants rot?

Buy Sin Clinic from Amazon UK.

Buy Sin Clinic from Amazon US.


The Naughty List @ Punk Noir Magazine

“It was a bitterly cold day when the bodies appeared. Not the coldest day of the year, but pretty fucking chilly. The half-cut eyewitness said they floated up from the bottom of Paignton Harbour like bubbles in cheap champagne.”

This year’s annual Paignton Noir Christmas story is now live at Punk Noir Magazine: The Naughty List!

This one features dismemberment, heists and old lags… it’s a comedy.

It also represents Joe Rey’s 7th consecutive Christmas crime appearance – an achievement I’m weirdly proud of.

You can find the links to all of the earlier Christmas crime stories (Paignton Noir and otherwise) here.

Merry Christmas – and thanks for reading!


The Good Book: Cover Reveal

“I used to be a main-eventer. People knew my name. Kids bought my poseable action figure. Now I’m a motherfucking curtain-jerker in a shit-heap town. My prospects are going down quicker than a truck-stop rent boy on Christmas Eve…”

I’m delighted to confirm that my new short story collection, The Good Book: Fairy Tales For Hard Men, will be out on 10th January 2020, via All Due Respect (an imprint of Down & Out Books).

Some of these stories appeared online a few years ago, but now the collection has been reworked, refreshed and retooled – and bulked up with some never-before-seen content.

I’m seriously proud of this book, and it has the perfect home at All Due Respect, a publisher which has put out so much high-quality lowlife literature in recent years.

I can’t wait for people to read it!

Here’s the synopsis:

Testament, Florida is the town where the American dream bottomed out. A town that was bled dry and kicked into the weeds by venal men with bad intentions. A town so insignificant that it no longer appears on any map.

During the 1980s, however, it was home to the Testament Wrestling Alliance, the chaotic wrestling promotion that made stars of Gringo Starr, ‘Voodoo’ Ray Blanchette and the Jazz Butcher. The man who made it happen was promoter Frank ‘Fingerfuck’ Flanagan, who ruled his territory with an iron fist. A tough man willing to make tough decisions, Flanagan’s personal road to hell is paved with dead wrestlers.

The Good Book: Fairy Tales For Hard Men is an interlinked 21-story collection which takes place between 1980 and 1999 Florida. These stories are grubby, hardboiled tales that explore the lives of desperate men – men who can’t leave their rivalries in the ring. In Testament, every action has a reaction and every feud ends in carnage. If someone else wins, you lose.

Here’s the artwork:


Repetition Kills You – Reviewed by Math Bird

“Leins’ unique vision of Paignton noir is uncompromising and laced with urban myth, yet his brief explorations of supernatural noir left a lasting impression on me. I’d love to see more of this; it was reminiscent of Laird Barron, and Leins undoubtedly has the talent to take it further, and I’d be excited to read the results.”

Math Bird, author of Welcome To HolyHell and Histories of the Dead

One of the most enjoyable books I’ve read so far this year was Welcome To HolyHell by Math Bird, so I was really pleased when Math told me that he had enjoyed my neo-noir literary jigsaw puzzle, Repetition Kills You. You can find out what he thought about the book here.

Repetition Kills You is definitely my most unusual book, and it hasn’t really found an audience yet, so it is especially gratifying when it clicks with someone.

Anyway, I hope this new review prompts a few more people to pick up a copy!

(Paignton Noir trivia: the crime scene that forms the backdrop to this image is the street that houses the delightful Black Lace Motel, which features in Meat Bubbles and Boneyard Dogs.)

Snake Charmer @ Punk Noir Magazine

“I don’t wear a suit very often, but whenever I do, I end up looking like a football hooligan making a fucking court appearance.”

Check out Punk Noir Magazine today for a brand new slab of Paignton Noir carnage: Snake Charmer.

This story sees Joe Rey tangle with a local biker gang – with typically brutal results!

Thanks, as always, to Punk Noir editor Paul D. Brazill for running the story.

Marsh Barton Fink @ Punk Noir Magazine

Silvio Foxx is a tall, uneasy looking man. He watches me cautiously from across the buckled concrete floor of his warehouse, an unlit high-tar cigarette dangling from his plump, girlish lips.

“Mr Rey?”

“That’s what my probation officer calls me…”

Last week I had a brand new piece of flash fiction online at Punk Noir Magazine, the webzine edited by Brit-grit power-player Paul D. Brazill. You can find Marsh Barton Fink here.

I have worked in Exeter for many years, but I’ve never felt compelled to write a story set there until recently. Paignton is a noir town. Plymouth is a noir city. Exeter? Exeter is a nice place! (Not that you will believe it after reading this story…)


Boneyard Dogs @ The Haunted Pen

“My little corner of Devon is a cultural vacuum, where creative endeavours are neither welcomed nor encouraged. Suffice to say, I don’t have too many readers in this neck of the woods, and I’m well and truly under everyone’s radar!”

Thanks to Dave Burnham at The Haunted Pen for giving me The Third Degree interview treatment today.

I analyse my influences and then spill the beans on some upcoming projects, including Sharp Knives & Loud Guns and The Good Book.

Last week Dave was good enough to review Boneyard Dogs, writing: “Boneyard Dogs is never going to be a cozy mystery to be made into a Hallmark movie. The story keeps the punches coming to the very end. And the ending will leave you shaking your head!” You can find the full review here.

As I write this blog post, the Kindle version of Boneyard Dogs is on special offer, priced at just 99p/99c, so grab a bargain while you can!


Dirty Bullion: Out Now

“When I emerge blinking into the queasy daylight, the first thing I see is Carver’s long arm, dangling out of the prowl car window, cigarette smouldering between his blistered knuckles.”

I’m delighted to announce that DIRTY BULLION – my collaboration with London crime writer Benedict J. Jones – is out today!

Out of prison and on the rampage, DIRTY BULLION finds Joe Rey harder and nastier than ever. His increasing notoriety means that he is a man in demand, and a seemingly innocuous case sees him thrust into a volatile world of neo-Nazi hate-mongers. After crossing paths with rival investigator, Charlie ‘Bars’ Constantinou – himself no stranger to violence – the two men agree to work together, in what could be Rey’s most sickening case to date…

Amazon UK link

Amazon US link

Official synopsis below:

A missing jeweller. A vanished girl. A stash of long-lost Nazi gold. And two very dangerous men. Things are going to get dirty.
In DIRTY BULLION Paignton private eye Joe Rey crosses paths with South London ex-con-turned-investigator Charlie ‘Bars’ Constantinou, as the two P.I.s look into very different cases.
Neither man plays well with others, but they are forced to push aside their mutual suspicions to work together on an increasingly disturbing case – an assignment which sees the duo outnumbered, outgunned and out of their depth.