Skull Meat – Out Now!

My Paignton Noir novelette SKULL MEAT is available for Kindle now, via Amazon. This story is intended as a teaser for my forthcoming collection MEAT BUBBLES (& OTHER STORIES), which should be out later this summer.

Here’s the pitch:

Hired by mobster Marie Andretti to ransack the office of morbidly obese local nightclub owner ‘Swollen’ Roland Smart, Paignton private investigator Joe Rey quickly finds himself plunged into a dangerous cat and mouse game – which leaves him fighting for his life. His quest for answers – and vengeance – sees him plunge headfirst into the queasy underbelly of the grubby little seaside town he calls home. Rey is a man with a dark past, and, it seems, very little future. Welcome to Paignton Noir.

Amazon UK link

Amazon US link

SKULL MEAT grew out of a few old, unfinished pieces I found lurking on my hard-drive. The prologue, ‘Paignton Rust’, was previously published as part of the Akashic Books’ ‘Mondays Are Murder’ series a few years ago, while other excerpts were featured by A Twist of Noir and Straight From The Fridge. It is too long to publish as a short story, and too short to be a novella, so an e-book seemed like a good idea.

If anyone reading this would like a free copy (mobi or PDF) in exchange for a review, drop me a line through the contact form.

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Beauty and Ruin @ The Flash Fiction Offensive

“The midday sun burns like a bullet wound. It feels hotter on my bare shoulders than the arena lights on fight night. There is no breeze, and the stink from the petrochemical plant lingers in the air like an afterthought.”

Last month my story Beauty & Ruin was published by top US crime site The Flash Fiction Offensive

After Hellbelly and Gusher, this was the third wrestling noir story to appear at The F.F.O.

Big thanks to editors Hector Duarte Jr. and Rob Pierce for running the story.

All I Want For Christmas Are Your Two Front Teeth @ Spelk Fiction

“The barman at the Cock & Whistle is the least jolly-looking motherfucker I’ve ever seen wearing a Santa hat. I pay for my pint and back away, slowly — he is nursing a baseball bat wrapped in tinsel. I don’t know if he is trying to scare off the carol singers, or the wiry Glaswegian who sells shower gel, bacon and socks out of a Slazenger hold-all.”

Last month saw my festive flash piece All I Want For Christmas Are Your Two Front Teeth go live at excellent UK site Spelk Fiction.

If you dig it, I had a Christmas story up at Spelk in 2015 too: Christmas Is Going To The Dogs.

two-front-teeth-tom-leins

Knuckle Sandwich @ Near To The Knuckle

“The first punch breaks my nose. The second splits my lip.
I’ve only won six of the fourteen bareknuckle fights I’ve participated in. I’m fairly sure that tonight won’t be number seven…”

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British crime fiction site Near To The Knuckle recently held a flash fiction competition to celebrate its fourth birthday. Here is my entry: Knuckle Sandwich.

Knuckle Sandwich - Tom Leins

Guatemala Kill Pit @ Akashic Books

“On weekends, off duty cops prowled the barrios in unmarked cars, shooting men like rats. Afterward, they would hack off the hands and throw the bodies in ditches.”

And now for something entirely different…

I very happy to report that Akashic Books – one of my favourite publishers – has included my story Guatemala Kill Pit in their long-running ‘Mondays Are Murder’ series.

guatemala security

I spent four months traveling across Central America (Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica) in 2005-2006, and I’m currently working on a series of stories set in the region. Guatemala Kill Pit is the first one to see the light of day.

Sticking to Central America, my story The Belizean Body Dump will appear in Akashic’s Caribbean-focused ‘Duppy Thursday’ series in January 2016.

In the meantime, feel free to check out my Akashic debut Paignton Rust, which first appeared back in December 2013.