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…


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!

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

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!


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…)


The Only Bones That Show @ Boned

“My face slams into the royal blue wall tiles at Parkside public toilets. The tiling has been polished to a deep gleam. Someone around here really takes pride in their work. I slide down the wall and taste metallic trough-piss. At least one of my teeth comes loose and floats lazily towards the rusted drain, which is clogged with pubic hair, bloody phlegm and even a condom wrapper.”

I have brand new piece of Paignton Noir flash fiction online this week at Boned: A Collection of Skeletal Writings.

As editor Nate Ragolia explains: “Whether protagonist, antagonist, setting, or MacGuffin, each work in Boned corresponds — somehow — to the architecture of living things.”

Check out my brutal Boned story: The Only Bones That Show

Splatterproof Is Not A Challenge @ Shotgun Honey

“Do you know how many times you need to bounce a man’s skull off a breezeblock wall before you split the epidermis, shatter the brain-pan and draw blood?”

This week I have some brand new flash fiction online at Shotgun Honey: Splatterproof Is Not A Challenge.

Joe Rey gets a new assignment and 700 words of carnage ensues!

Splatterproof … is my sixth Shotgun Honey story. A previous Paignton Noir story, Ventilator Blues, was one of the jigsaw puzzle pieces in Repetition Kills You, while Bloater will be included in The Good Book later this year.

Strangely enough, a couple of my older Shotgun Honey stories are actually being reworked into longer pieces for a pair of future books. One of them has provided the jump-off point for what is shaping up to be my most riotous book to date!

A Vulgar Display of Power @ Punk Noir Magazine

“I peel the bloody dressing off my nose and drop it into the sink. Jesus. My face looks like something out of a fucking horror-show. I’ve been sticking my nose into other people’s business for longer than I can remember. Usually for money, sometimes out of sheer perversity. My latest injury – caused by deranged Albanian with a box-cutter – feels horribly apt.”

My first story of 2019 went online today: A Vulgar Display of Power. Thanks to Paul D. Brazill at Punk Noir Magazine for running it!

This one follows on from the events depicted in Repetition Kills You, and sees Joe Rey get reacquainted with his on-off lover Cherry – and a new bunch of unsavoury characters!

She also appeared in Venus In Fake Furs last year, and I’m keen to explore their warped relationship further in a future book, as she is a woman who can definitely get Rey in all kinds of trouble!


Jingle Bells, Shotgun Shells @ Punk Noir Magazine

“It’s Christmas Eve and I’m standing in the middle of a stash house in Hookhills, bleeding from one ear and trying to work out which one of the hired hands I should shoot first: the skinny guy in the soiled Sexy Santa minidress or the fat fuck in the scuffed-looking ballistics vest.”

Thanks to Paul D. Brazill for running this year’s Paignton Noir Christmas story, JINGLE BELLS, SHOTGUN SHELLS, at Punk Noir Magazine.

This is a heart-warming festive romp involving firearms, fuckwits, Fentanyl and food banks. You can read it here.

And if you want some added Christmas cheer, why not check out my previous Christmas stories here?