Recalibration @ Pulp Modern Flash

“When news of ‘The Surge’ leaked out, the government put imprisoned sex offenders to work in the Extermination Division. The chemicals they used on the rats hadn’t been properly tested, and they were reluctant to risk decimating the military with a hazardous, untried substance. Fourteen elderly rapists died within the first fortnight due to chemical exposure. They were burned in shallow pits, along with the rats.”

… and now for something entirely different!

My new dystopian short story Recalibration is featured online at Alec Cizak’s new Pulp Modern Flash venture this week.

I wrote the first draft of this story four years ago as a companion piece to my story Rat Farm (a dystopian flash-forward Joe Rey tale set in 2031).

It felt weirdly appropriate to retrieve it, kick it into shape and let it loose during the ongoing pandemic.

I can assure you: the references to empty food-banks, scarce breathing apparatus and contemptuous government officials were all in the first draft…

Enjoy!

Slop Shop: Out Now

“The man wipes the condensation off the cracked mirror with the threadbare sleeve of his sanitarium-issue sweatshirt. It’s a bitterly cold day and he tries to massage some feeling into his hideous, rubbery face. A face that only a motherfucker could love. A visage that was clumsily stapled back together after it was disfigured with a meat axe in an abandoned factory three years ago. The staples got infected in an effluence-splattered holding cell and now form a rusted diagonal seam that bisects his warped face. He was never a good-looking man beforehand – his slack jaw and bottle-thick National Health Service glasses only serving to highlight his otherness. Now he looks fucking repulsive.”

From the Slop Shop prologue, ‘Hometown Scars’

New e-book time! First: a confession. I never intended to write Slop Shop. It definitely wasn’t on my hit-list of planned projects. I was flicking through Repetition Kills You to make a few continuity notes ahead of a separate project, and a few RKY supporting characters snagged in my consciousness. A lot of people die in that book, but these ones didn’t, and it got me wondering what they would be up to – three years on.

As for Rey, this book finds him in muscle-for-hire mode, no longer doing investigative work. An opportunity to find a meat tycoon’s daughter changes all that, and his demons come out to play. I love writing the PI stories and I love writing what I call the ‘rampage’ stories. This story combines both elements, but definitely feels more like a rampage story.

In terms of style and content (and the disjointed writing process), it resembles Skull Meat more than any other story of mine. See what you think!

Synopsis:

A wrongfully discharged mental patient with an axe to grind.

An elderly mob matriarch with a scorched earth revenge policy.

An ageing meat tycoon with a trophy wife and a missing daughter.

And a disgraced private investigator with blood on his hands.

Everyone’s a victimiser and everyone’s a victim. Dead meat is the best they can aspire to. Welcome to the SLOP SHOP.

SLOP SHOP is the nerve-shredding new thriller from the author of SKULL MEAT, SNUFF RACKET, SPINE FARM, SIN CLINIC and SLUG BAIT.

Buy on Amazon UK

Buy on Amazon US

Ten Pints of Blood: Trailer

To give people a taste of what to expect from my new book, Ten Pints of Blood, I’ve cobbled together a trailer!

You can watch it via YouTube:

Here’s me raising a glass to celebrate the book’s arrival!

And a ‘shelfie’, with my books filed alphabetically between Lansdale and Leonard!

Ten Pints of Blood: Out Now

“I’m not a skilled investigator. Far from it. My methods are questionable and my morals are murkier than gutter water, but I somehow manage to scrape a living. If ten years of mostly bitter experience has taught me anything, it is that finding the living is far easier than finding the dead. No blood-streaked shovels, no cobwebbed cadavers, and only the occasional bad dream.”

New book time!

Ten Pints of Blood is out today from Close To The Bone, in paperback and e-book formats. It was a pleasure working on another book with Craig at CTTB, after Meat Bubbles & Other Stories and Boneyard Dogs. I think Ten Pints – a new set of Paignton Noir Case Files – might be my favourite one yet.

Amazon UK link

Amazon US link

Blurbs:

“Leins’ spare, striking prose confronts the horror beneath the skin of England with savage, astringent grace. These haunting tales deal compellingly with the open wounds of our world. Leins’ bloody and bruised characters drive into your skull and stay there.”

Gareth Spark, author of Marwick’s Reckoning and The Dark Earth of Albion

 “These stories kicked my ass. They are beautifully violent. Told in simple prose that is equally elegant and nasty, filled with blood and broken bones. Joe Rey is the exact kind of person I’d love to follow into the darkness that is Paignton. Tom Leins is a bad man.”

Daniel Vlasaty, author of Stay Ugly and Only Bones

 Ten Pints of Blood — a twisted novelette and nine seriously fucked up short stories — chronicles the further misadventures of unscrupulous private eye Joe Rey as he delves deep into a cesspit of sex pests, dirty coppers, serial killers and neo-Nazi toe-rags. For Rey, never likely to pass up an opportunity to inflict violence on anyone dumb enough to get in his way, it’s all in a grubby day’s work — an excuse to dust off his beloved brass knuckles and bust a few heads as he metes out his own warped brand of justice. Leins is on irresistible form here. His pared down prose will make you snort and cringe and look away, and the violence is so visceral you can almost taste the blood.”

Gary Duncan, author of You’re Not Supposed to Cry

Demonology @ Shotgun Honey

He used to be a good-looking man – until a rent boy with a Stanley knife carved him open from ear to moustache. He fingers the pink scar and shrugs. “Even plastic surgery has its limitations.”

Today I made my 6th (?) appearance at the excellent US crime site Shotgun Honey, with a new piece entitled Demonology.

I haven’t written much short fiction in recent years, so it is satisfying when a new story comes together!

(I enjoyed writing this one a lot, so maybe I’ll revisit some of the characters that Joe Rey encounters at a later date?)

My new book, Ten Pints of Blood – which is out later this month (26 June) – includes an alternative version of a previous Shotgun Honey story, Splatterproof Is Not A Challenge. If that one hits the spot, then I’m sure you will enjoy the rest of the book!

The Exquisite Corpse Volume 2: Double Tap

“Joyce was still on lockdown when Ronald offered to have her father’s cadaver tossed in a pit and burned with the corpses of the bikers and the mercenaries. She had no qualms about this particular scenario, but April insisted that her grandfather deserved a proper burial, so Joyce relented.”

Last month I had the pleasure of overseeing the second instalment of the multi-author Exquisite Corpse project. I wrote the first chapter, and then the story passed on to a further 23 authors, each of whom added his or her unique fingerprint to the proceedings.

Writing can be a solitary, selfish pursuit, so it was a lot of fun to collaborate in this way, and everyone delivered the goods. Despite kicking things off myself, it’s safe to say that the story veered off into some crazy directions I never saw coming!

All things being well, a third volume will emerge later this summer.

In the meantime, here are the Volume 2 links for your reading pleasure!

Part 1: Paradise Parlour

Part 2: Security Measures

Part 3: Richer Than God

Part 4: What The Bones Said

Part 5: Nothing But Darkness

Part 6: The Art of Violence

Part 7: The Taste of Blood

Part 8: The Mistress of Death

 

Ten Pints of Blood: Cover Reveal

“A smarter man than me once said that good investigative work is about asking the right questions. I find that the quality of my work generally depends on how fucking hard I hit people.”

New book announcement!

My next short story collection, Ten Pints of Blood, will be published this summer, via Close To The Bone!

This book contains the Paignton Noir novelette Spine Farm and nine other stories – a mixture of flash fiction, obscure anthology stories and exclusive content.

Politics, perversion and pain in Paignton… I think it’s my most brutal book to date.

Artwork designed by Craig Douglas @ Close To The Bone.

Synopsis:

When Paignton private investigator Joe Rey finds himself enlisted by hapless local cops Benson and Hedges to help apprehend a vicious sex criminal known as the Ladyscraper, he ends up unearthing a grisly surprise in the midst of a derelict tract of farmland. What Rey discovers shocks the whole town to its core, and he sets out to unravel a decades-old mystery involving a cabal of powerful men who want their queasy secrets to remain dead and buried.

He may be psychologically damaged by the things he has seen and done, but Rey finds himself a man in demand, and his case-load piles up – setting him on a violent collision course with dealers, delinquents, degenerates and the damned.

Is Rey finally in hell, or is he just teetering on the brink?

The Exquisite Corpse: Volume 1

“We’ll always have Kampala.”

Volume 1 of The Exquisite Corpse, an ongoing, collaborative Lockdown Noir project created and developed by Steve Weddle and Nick Kolakowski is now live! 25 authors – one hell of a story!

Each author each took a cue from the chapter before and ran with it. I was thrilled to be involved and the results were fantastic!

You can now download the entire story – for free – in your format of choice:

In PDF format

In MOBI format

In EPUB format

The project was a blast to be involved with from start to finish – so much so that I will serve as the guest editor for Volume 2.

The second instalment picks up Joyce’s story – and takes it in a whole new direction!

I’m hoping to secure the talents of a mixture of returning writers and fresh blood. If you think you have what it takes, please get in touch!

Join The Exquisite Corpse – Volume 2!

 

Boneyard Dogs Review @ HorrorBuzz

“Think Sin City under a fine layer of sludge and you’ll be on the right track.”

It was a pleasant surprise to discover this new review of Boneyard Dogs online at HorrorBuzz earlier.

While my books should definitely be filed under crime fiction, I do try to blur the lines between noir and horror wherever possible. As such, it’s especially gratifying when a horror fan finds themselves sucked into one of my books by the combination of narration, pacing and imagery. You can read the full review here.

It’s a great, thoughtful write-up that raises some interesting points about the way the book plays out. Agree? Disagree? Pick up a copy and judge for yourself!

Buy Boneyard Dogs here!

49,000 Ways To Die @ All Due Respect

“The meaty motherfucker with the leprous complexion is taking his Doberman for a shit on the grass when I hit him. 
I’m wearing brass knuckles, so I rupture his ear and rip out his hooped earring in the process. He’s wearing tracksuit bottoms and dress shoes, like an alcoholic on laundry day. He probes the ruined ear warily with calloused fingertips. To his credit he doesn’t whine, just looks up curiously, trying to work out who the fuck I am.”

Legendary indie crime publisher All Due Respect recently resurrected the original online ‘zine that ran between 2010 and 2013, with a view to running a story a month during 2020 and creating an end-of-year anthology. It’s a real pleasure to be involved with the new venture, and my story – 49,000 Ways To Die – is now live!

Big thanks to ADR head honcho Chris Rhatigan and co-editor David Nemeth (of Unlawful Acts fame) for running the story.

This story – a private eye story dipped in hell – is something of a ‘flash-forward’, which jumps beyond the current Paignton Noir books. Regular readers may recognise a few familiar faces from the likes of Skull Meat and Repetition Kills You, but you will have to wait a while to find out exactly why Rey is a broken man at the outset of this piece!

(You’ll also have to wait to find out why Rey finds himself doing clean-up work on an adult film set at the beginning of Repetition Kills You! Suffice to say, there are some absolutely brutal books sloshing down the pipeline.)

And if you haven’t read Repetition Kills You yet, it’s on special offer this month, priced just 99p/99c.

Amazon UK link

Amazon US link