Snuff Racket: Paul D. Brazill Recommended Read

This week Brit-grit luminary Paul D. Brazill gave my recent novelette Snuff Racket a once-over. Here’s what he had to say:

“Hapless Paignton PI Joe Rey is hot on the trail of a rare and much sought after ’70s Giallo video film when he is quickly dragged down into a whirlpool of violence and sleaze. Tom Leins’ Snuff Racket is even better than his debut Skull Meat. There’s blood, guts, cracking one-liners and a hell of a lot of dark humour here.”

Check out Paul’s review here!


Interview @ Roughneck Dispatch

“The story which kicked it all off was one called, appropriately enough, ‘Paignton Noir,’ which was published by a Canadian literary magazine called Front & Centre back in 2007. That pretty much set the template for suburban intrigue, bloody violence and off-kilter investigations. Although, now I put my mind to it, I actually published a story called ‘Sleepyhead’ back in about 2004, which was a weird arthouse revenge story that took place on Winner Street, and took in local video shops and chain pubs, so I’ve been peddling this shtick for a while!”

This week, California crime writer Matt Phillips – author of Redbone, Bad Luck City, Three Kinds of Fool and Accidental Outlaws – gave me the Q&A treatment over at his Roughneck Dispatch blog.

We discussed the murky origins of Paignton Noir, the crime fiction protagonists that have influenced Joe Rey and my three main rules for writing. Check it out here.

Interview @ Messy Business

“Some of my favourite antagonists are the ones in J.G. Ballard novels – charismatic psychopaths who are fully committed to their lunatic visions. Men such as Dr. Robert Vaughn (Crash), Anthony Royal (High-Rise) and Bobby Crawford (Cocaine Nights). His everyman narrators are always drawn into the queasy orbits of these fascinating nut-jobs, and that is something I’m attempting with a couple of works-in-progress right now. Deranged antagonists are fascinating to write, but I do think that you need a stable footing before going off at the deep-end.”

Another day, another feature!

Many thanks to Jason Beech – author of the forthcoming City of Forts – for giving me the Q&A treatment over at his Messy Business blog. He has even cooked up a cracking Paignton Noir-esque introduction to make me feel right at home. Check it out!

The Anatomy of a Story: Snuff Racket

Today I have a nasty little SNUFF RACKET feature over at Jotters United!

It includes an excerpt from the book’s Italian prologue, a little bit of background information on the project and an extract from the story itself.

Cheers to editor Nick C. Gerrard for running the piece!




In my second feature of the day, Marietta Miles invited me to join Gabino Iglesias, Steph Post, J.J. Hensley and Michael Pool over at Do Some Damage to discuss our writing wishes. It’s a great feature – check it out!

Coming Soon: Meat Bubbles and Other Stories

I am excited to announce that my new book MEAT BUBBLES & OTHER STORIES will be published by Near To The Knuckle on 2nd June 2018! NTTK has published some excellent books in recent years, so I will be in good company! Check out the fantastic artwork courtesy of NTTK head honcho Craig Douglas – you can definitely judge this book by its cover!


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.”

Oozy Rat In A Sanitary Zoo @ Spelk Fiction

The toilet attendant looks unconscious. He is slumped on a barstool, the sunken shoulders of his black jacket layered in big asbestos-like chunks of dandruff.

I kick his foot, and his eyes flicker open. He gestures lazily towards the tray of toxic-looking aftershaves next to the basins.

“No splash/no gash …”

I shake my head.

“No Lynx Java/no how’s your father …”

“Just soap, pal.”

He squirts bright pink lather on my bloody hands, but the hot water does little to remove the coppery stink.

Last month saw a new piece of flash fiction go live at Spelk: OOZY RAT IN A SANITARY ZOO.

Big thanks to editor Cal Marcius for running the story – my 11th hosted by the reliably excellent Spelk!

Snuff Racket @ Unlawful Acts

My new e-book SNUFF RACKET was given the Unlawful Acts treatment by top US crime reviewer David Nemeth last week.

He said: “There’s noir and then there’s Paignton Noir. If you have never heard of this type of noir before that’s okay Tom Leins invented it. Leins takes a tourist town on the southwest coast of England and turns it into a cross between Boston’s Combat Zone and San Francisco’s Tenderloin where killers, pornographers, pedophiles, gamblers, and drug addicts are the everyday people in the streets and bars.”

Check out the full review hereand make sure you take a look around David’s site. He has tipped me off about some great books over the last year.

Snuff Racket: Out Now!

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m pleased to announce the publication of a new e-book: SNUFF RACKET.

Here’s the synopsis:

A missing video. A dismembered girl. A deranged ex-con. And a disgraced private investigator. It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it…
Still recuperating from his previous case, Paignton private eye Joe Rey is hired by a mysterious stranger to track down one of the few remaining copies of a notorious 1970s Giallo movie – only to find himself embroiled in an increasingly vicious running battle with a demented ex-convict.




Paignton Noir: Location As Character

“Leins’s Paignton is like an open, festering wound on the underbelly of a failed society.”

(Chris Rhatigan, All Due Respect publisher, writing at Criminal Element)

This week I was extremely flattered that my novelette Skull Meat was included in an eclectic list of crime books with a strong sense of place over at Criminal Element. The list was put together by Chris Rhatigan – the publisher behind top independent crime imprint All Due Respect.

He said of Skull Meat: “The atmosphere is as dark and deliciously depressing as they come – the vomit-slick floors of pubs, the scummy offices of criminals, a decrepit local hospital. The characters reflect the place as well, almost to the point of blending with it so the reader can’t tell them apart.”

For people who aren’t familiar with my home town, Paignton is a much-loved holiday destination within the UK. I think that seaside towns in this country have a Jekyll and Hyde quality depending on the season, and all manner of unknown horrors lurk below the surface. I’m a big fan of location-as-character in fiction, and although I’m pretty well-travelled, I don’t think I could sustain a book (let alone a series) set anywhere other than Paignton.

The characters and scenarios have been given an apocalyptic edge, and some of the location names have been changed (to avoid legal action…), but the landscape and geography have been preserved. Ultimately, this is my interpretation of Paignton, as filtered through the prism of my obsession with US crime fiction.

Every time I think my stories have drifted too far from reality, I pick up a copy of the Herald Express, and scour the crime reportage, and realise that I’ve only scratched the surface of what actually goes on in this town. (And then I file away the details for future use!)

I sometimes wonder: could a private investigator really flourish in a town like Paignton? Well, they bulldozed Paignton police station to make way for a property development that never happened, and now they have to send out-of-town cops down in people carriers to raid local crack-houses. So, yeah!

Anyway, brand new Paignton Noir coming very soon – watch this space!

Buy Skull Meat:

Amazon UK link

Amazon US link

XXXmas Boogaloo @ Near To The Knuckle

“Christmas Eve… in the drunk tank. I’m on a concrete bed, sleeping off a heavy session. It started with a quiet pint in the Cock & Whistle and ended with a knife-fight in the Dirty Lemon. The other guy had a fucking meat cleaver, so I must have been drunk to try and fight him…”

One last Christmas present at the bottom of Santa’s sack: XXXmas Boogaloo, a festive slab of Paignton Noir, over at Near To The Knuckle. Thanks to Oliver and Craig for giving the story a home!

This one is my 11th story online at Near To The Knuckle, and my 3rd Christmas story at the same venue, following on from Christmas Eve Can Kill You and Blue Christmas.