Murderers I Have Known @ Horror Sleaze Trash

“The first time I see Lucius Lamont he is wearing a nylon stalking mask and a pair of greasy jeans. There is a snail-trail of fresh semen down his right leg. At best, he looks like Tailgunner centrefold material on a particularly bad month. At worst, he looks like the kind of guy who advertises his services at the back of the magazine, and ends up handcuffing you to a radiator and stealing your wallet. Hell, what do I know? I only buy it for the fucking articles…”

Last month I had a brand new Paignton Noir story online at Horror Sleaze Trash: Murderers I Have Known.

A deranged sex killer is on the loose in Paignton. Sounds like a job for Joe Rey!

Pointless trivia: this story involves a couple of surviving supporting characters from my forthcoming book Repetition Kills You (All Due Respect), which itself features a couple of nasty little stories that featured on the original Horror Sleaze Trash site a few years ago.

Murderers I Have Known will be included in my next Paignton Noir short story collection, Sharp Knives & Loud Guns, which will hopefully be available in 2019.


Meat Bubbles: Brit Grit Alley Recommended Read

“It’s gritty, it’s visceral, it’s stomach churning – everything you want from crime fiction, British or otherwise.”

Last week Paul Heatley – author of the excellent novellas An Eye For An Eye (Near To The Knuckle) and Fatboy (All Due Respect) – wrote a great little feature on Meat Bubbles & Other Stories for his Brit Grit Alley column at Out of the Gutter Online. You can check it out here.

And here’s a vicious Meat Bubbles taster, also online at Out of the Gutter: Sloppy Operator.

Sons of Spade: Guest Feature

“He is a cut-price private investigator with a nasty side-line in muscle-for-hire work. As the series progresses his investigative skills are honed, and his client list improves, but he never really loses his willingness to get his hands dirty for personal gain and his unwavering commitment to revenge.”

I am excited to have a new guest feature over at Sons of Spade, the great fictional PI blog run by Dutch crime writer Jochem Vandersteen.  I discuss the top five private investigators who have influenced the character of Joe Rey. These may or may not be obvious to people who have read my work – see for yourself!

Meat Bubbles @ Unlawful Acts

“The hard-boiled edge of Mickey Spillane’s ‘I, the Jury’ and the drug-infused rantings of William S. Burroughs’s ‘Naked Lunch’ fused together in a whiskey-soaked opiate haze.”

David Nemeth, Unlawful Acts on Meat Bubbles & Other Stories

I felt downright queasy reading David Nemeth’s review of Meat Bubbles – and I was the one who wrote the damned book!

Unlawful Acts is a must-read crime blog, and David’s passion for independent crime fiction is infectious. I’m very happy that he crawled back into the Paignton Noir wasteland after going toe-to-toe with series opener Skull Meat last year.

I would like to tell you that I will never write another book as extreme as Meat Bubbles, but then I cast an eye over my works-in-progress and I’m not so sure!

My next book, Repetition Kills You (out in September from All Due Respect) dials down the darkness a notch. Hell, there’s even a love story in there… kind of. Suffocated beneath meaty slabs of suburban savagery!

Meat Bubbles and Other Stories: Out Now

“I like my explosives the same way I like my pornography – homemade and volatile…”

Out now on Kindle and in paperback, my first ever short story collection: Meat Bubbles & Other Stories (Near To The Knuckle)!

Earlier versions of these stories were published over the course of the last decade by the likes of Akashic Books, Crime Factory, Spelk Fiction, Sein und Werden, the Flash Fiction Offensive, Yellow Mama and Near To The Knuckle, among others. I’m very proud of this collection, and had a great time working with NTTK publisher Craig Douglas on the book.

Note: Meat Bubbles & Other Stories contains language, scenes and descriptions of Paignton that may be considered offensive!


Still licking his wounds after the brutal events of SKULL MEAT, Paignton private investigator Joe Rey is reluctant to take on another case that could have violent repercussions. However, a lucrative pay-day from a soon-to-retire cop tests his resolve, and Rey quickly finds himself on the trail of a deranged plastic surgeon with a queasy line in body modification procedures. Over the course of a long, bloody summer, Rey tangles with rogue ex-cops, suburban hitmen, neo-Nazi scumbags and even Paignton’s richest man – a notorious hoarder of unknown horrors. It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it…

Praise for Meat Bubbles:

Benedict J. Jones, author of Pennies For Charon and The Devil’s Brew (Crime Wave Press):

“Welcome to the nightmare factory – there’s dark and then there’s Tom Leins’ Paignton… By parts a mix of the brutality of Hubert Selby Jr and the pure noir-ish banter of Ray Banks with more than a dash of the good old ultra-violence. Thirteen brutal shorts and then the extended nightmare of Snuff Racket. You’d have to go a long way to beat the sheer violence, brutality, humour and brilliance of Meat Bubbles.”

Paul Heatley, author of Fatboy (All Due Respect) and An Eye For An Eye (Near To The Knuckle):

“Tom Leins’ Paignton is close to Hell on earth. His battle-scarred PI Joe Rey is navigating every circle of it here – hookers, pimps, pornographers, killers, crooked cops, and every other grotesque you could care (or not) to imagine make up the colourful characters in this grim collection of noir from one of the premier writers of gut-wrenching dark fiction currently at work. One day people will talk about the fiction of Tom Leins the same way they talk about Derek Raymond’s – get on board now and when that day comes you’ll be able to brag you were round at the start.”

Matt Phillips, author of Bad Luck City (Near To The Knuckle) and Accidental Outlaws (All Due Respect):

“If you had to kill someone with a book, you’d use this one. Cracked skulls. Bruised knuckles. Wounds in the shape of unnameable body parts. Characters as broken and misshapen as the populace of a violent noir hellscape. Tom Leins writes like a man skinned by jackals and doused in lighter fluid. Meat Bubbles & Other Stories is a new paradigm in noir—Paignton noir, an aesthetic built on images that’d make a seasoned leg-breaker squeal like a school girl.”

Small Town Horrors: splicing genres in Meat Bubbles and Other Stories

“In recent years my pure, undiluted approach to crime fiction has started to blur at the edges: the story titles have got more visceral, the antagonists more ghoulish, the imagery more horrific and the sense of foreboding more pronounced.”

The Meat Bubbles promotional bandwagon rolls on…!

Many thanks to David Spell for letting me contribute a guest post to his site, The Scary Reviews. You can find the full feature here.

Criminal Records: Meat Bubbles

“Drum & bass is about as an unlikely influence on crime fiction as you can get, but it most definitely influenced the title story of my new collection. I first encountered ‘Meat Bubbles’ by Dirty Harry on a second-hand D&B compilation, and knew I had to repurpose that wonderfully grisly title for my own malevolent purposes. After all, how queasy must a black-market surgical procedure be for it to cause meat bubbles?!”

For the 100th post over at my Dirty Books blog I’ve put together a brand new feature, which I hope will become a regular fixture: Criminal Records. This first one discusses some of the musical influences behind my new book, Meat Bubbles & Other Stories.


Repetition Kills You: Cover Reveal

I’m excited to reveal the cover for my forthcoming Paignton Noir book Repetition Kills You, which will be published by All Due Respect (an imprint of Down & Out Books) in September 2018. The striking design is courtesy of Ben Shanks, who has done a great job!

Here’s a little bit about the book…

Repetition Kills You is an experimental noir. A novel-in-stories. A literary jigsaw puzzle.

The book comprises 26 short stories, presented in alphabetical order, from ‘Actress on a Mattress’ to ‘Zero Sum’.  The key stylistic influence on this collection is ‘The Beach Murders’ (1966) by J.G. Ballard, which was collected in Low Flying Aircraft and Other Stories(1976). Like the letters of the alphabet, Ballard’s fragments can be arranged in any order. So can my stories.

Combined in certain ways, they tell a larger, more complex story. The narrative timeline is warped, like a blood-soaked Möbius Strip. It goes round in circles – like a deranged animal chasing its own tail.

The content is brutal and provocative: small-town pornography, gun-running, mutilation and violent, blood-streaked stories of revenge. The cast list includes sex offenders, serial killers, bare-knuckle fighters, carnies and corrupt cops. And a private eye with a dark past – and very little future.

Welcome to Paignton Noir.

Meat Bubbles: promotional trailer

Check out this fantastic Meat Bubbles promotional trailer, courtesy of Near To The Knuckle head-honcho Craig Douglas:

Also online this week: Murder, Mayhem & More said of Meat Bubbles: ‘Brutal violence, black humour, explicit everything – that’s just first page of this collection of 14 interlinked stories that surf the extreme, X-rated edge of pulp fiction… Who knew that a quiet English seaside town could have such a sleazy side to it?’

Casting Call: Meat Bubbles and Other Stories

The one month countdown until the release of MEAT BUBBLES & OTHER STORIES (Near To The Knuckle) starts here…

My first promotional feature is a ‘Casting Call’ over at new crime site Toe Six Press.

I got to select a pair of actors to fill key roles in my new book, namely anti-hero PI protagonist Joe Rey and deranged ex-cop Wet-Look (returning for more carnage after his eye-catching stint in SKULL MEAT).

Check it out here.

Thanks to Sandra Ruttan for running the feature!